Supreme Court overturns High Court abuse of dominance ruling in the market for credit union representation

Outcome of the Court Action

In 2007, the Supreme Court overturned an earlier High Court judgment that the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) had abused its dominant position in the market for Savings Protection for Members’ Deposits in Credit Unions (SPS).

Outline of case

In the High Court proceedings, the Competition Authority (the Authority) alleged that the ILCU was dominant in the market for SPS and had abused this dominance by tying its SPS to the purchase of its credit union representation services. The Authority viewed this loss of access to the SPS as a breach of competition law, as it would deny non-ILCU credit unions access to an important facility for protecting individual members’ savings.

In the opinion of the Authority this action restricted competition in the market for credit union representation. In October 2004, the High Court found in favour of the Authority.

The ILCU appealed the judgment to the Supreme Court where the High Court’s decision was overturned. This case was the first time that the Supreme Court had been called on to adjudicate on a substantive issue in Irish competition law.

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