Hong Kong court confirms bar on standalone private actions in competition cases

In Loyal Profit v Travel Industry Council, the Hong Kong Court of First Instance rejected a claim that it had jurisdiction to determine whether a trade association violated the Competition Ordinance.

The court reasoned that determination of a breach of the Competition Ordinance was reserved for the Competition Tribunal. In the absence of a right of standalone private action under Hong Kong competition law, arguments for breach of the competition rules brought by the plaintiff could not be made in the Court of First Instance. The court also refused to transfer the case to the Competition Tribunal, without providing a test or an indication of the necessary threshold for such a transfer.

This case confirms it is not possible to bypass the statutory bar on standalone private actions by combining competition arguments with other arguments in a legal action.

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