23.Two instruments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Enterprise Act 2002 (Specification of Additional Section 58 Consideration) Order 2020 (SI 2020/627) and the Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development and Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/632), are drawn to the special attention of the House in this report (see pages 1 to 8 above).
24.The Coronavirus Act 2020 made provisions for the use of video and audio technology in courts (including the High Court) and some tribunals; however, these do not apply to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). As a result, remote CAT hearings using video link arrangements are effectively operating on a closed basis, with access only available by invitation to the parties and other persons who have notified an interest in attending. This is contrary to CAT’s Rules of Procedure which require hearings to be in public. These hearings therefore run the risk of challenge because they have not been conducted according to the Rules. This Order removes that risk by granting the CAT a temporary power to broadcast its proceedings (which will take place through its website). The Order applies to England and Wales and will expire on 25 March 2022, the same day as the Coronavirus Act 2020 expires.
25.This instrument extends temporarily a number of filing deadlines which must be met by companies, eligible Scottish partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, unregistered companies, overseas companies, Societas Europaeas and European Economic Interest Groupings. According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the aim is to give these businesses “breathing space to enable them to focus on the health of their workforce and their business” during the pandemic. The deadlines affected by this instrument include, for example, the accounts filing deadline which will be extended by three months to 12 months for private companies and to nine months for public companies, and the 14-day deadline for submitting notices of relevant events after they occur, such as the change of director, which will be extended to 42 days. While the instrument relates to deadlines that fall between 27 June 2020, the date the instrument comes into force, and 5 April 2021, the deadlines themselves may be extended beyond 5 April 2021.
11 Competition Appeal Tribunal Rules 2015 ().