Digicel v Cable & Wireless Communications

15 Apr 2010

Slaughter and May successfully represented Cable & Wireless Communications in proceedings in the High Court regarding substantial claims brought against it by its Caribbean competitor Digicel.

The claims - said by Digicel to be worth "several hundreds of millions of pounds" when it commenced proceedings in 2007 - related to the liberalisation of the telecoms markets in seven Caribbean countries during the period 2002-2006. Digicel alleged that Cable & Wireless Communications and its operating subsidiaries had acted unlawfully in breach of duties under the local telecoms statutes by deliberately obstructing interconnection of their telecoms networks in order to delay Digicel’s launch in those markets.

The proceedings were brought in England because of an allegation by Digicel that Cable & Wireless Communications in London had conspired with its local operating subsidiaries, despite the fact that the interconnection occurred in the Caribbean under local laws.

Following a trial spanning a seven month period last year in the High Court - involving evidence from 43 witnesses from over 10 different countries - Mr Justice Morgan has today, in a judgment of over 500 pages, dismissed all Digicel’s claims, save for a finding of a minor breach of contract against Cable & Wireless Communications’ Turks & Caicos operating subsidiary which caused no delay to Digicel and thus no loss.

Jonathan Cotton said: "Cable & Wireless Communications and we are delighted at the outcome. The case involved complex legal and factual issues across a large number of countries going back to 2002. The judgment addresses important legal questions on the private actionability of statutory obligations as well as the law of conspiracy. It also provides helpful guidance for the telecoms industry on important commercial and regulatory issues which only rarely come before the courts."

Lord Grabiner QC, Edmund Nourse and Conall Patton from One Essex Court appeared as Counsel on behalf of Cable & Wireless.


Dispute Resolution: Sarah Lee (partner), Jonathan Cotton (partner), Darren Roiser (associate), Robert Brittain (associate), Camilla Harrison (associate)

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