1.1 Ofcom’s powers under the Communications Act 2003 (“the 2003 Act”) relating to the recovery of costs and expenses arising from regulatory disputes were amended by the Electronic Communications and Wireless Telegraphy Regulations 2011 (“the Regulations”).Ofcom has revised powers under section 190(6) of the 2003 Act to recover the costs and expenses that it incurs itself in dealing with the dispute. It also has revised powers to require a party to a dispute to make payments to another party to the dispute in respect of costs and expenses which that other party has incurred.
1.2On 7 June 2011, following consultation, we issued revised guidelines for the handling of disputes (“Dispute Resolution Guidelines”) in which we said that we would provide separate guidance regarding costs and expenses.
1.3 On 29 October 2012, we published a consultation (the “Consultation”) setting out Ofcom’s proposed approach to:
recovering its own costs and expenses incurred when making a determination for resolving a dispute pursuant to sections 185-191 of the 2003 Act; and
requiring payment of another party’s costs and expenses incurred in connection with a dispute.
1.4 Stakeholders were invited to comment by 10 December 2012.
1.5 In this statement, we set out our response to the stakeholder comments received following the Consultation and we explain the changes we have made to the final guidance (the “Guidelines”) in light of stakeholder comments. We are today publishing the Guidelines as a separate document.
1.6 The Guidelines published today take effect from the date of this statement and apply in respect of disputes that fall within section 185(1), (1A) and (2) of the 2003 Act.
1.7 The Guidelines will be kept under review and may be amended, as appropriate, in light of further experience and to reflect further changes in our duties, powers and procedures.