Battle of the gowns: Ede & Ravenscroft sees off competition claim

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Legal attire specialist did not abuse dominant market position, tribunal finds

Ede & Ravenscroft store on Chancery Lane – credit: Google Maps

The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has found that London’s oldest tailor and robe maker, Ede & Ravenscroft, did not abuse its dominant position when supplying graduation gowns to universities across the UK.

Ede & Ravenscroft (E&R), which also makes barristers gowns and shirts, amongst other legal garb, operates a business-to-business model for the provision of graduation robes, contracting directly with client universities. For the 2018-19 academic year, E&R supplied academic dress for use at 80.5% of universities in the UK.

Represented by Brick Court’s Fergus Randolph QC and One Essex Court’s Derek Spitz, start-up competitor Churchill Gowns mounted a challenge against E&R under sections 2 and 18 of the Competition Act 1998.

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Churchill Gowns operates a business-to-consumer model where it allows students to engage its services directly without going through the university. It alleged that, E&R’s agreements with universities granting “official supplier” status had the effect of conferring de jure or de facto exclusivity preventing Churchill Gowns from accessing the market.

The CAT held that, although E&R did hold a dominant position, the B2B academic clothing provider had not abused its dominant position and that its agreements with universities were not anti-competitive for the purposes of the Chapter I prohibition.

E&R was represented by One Essex Court’s Conall Patton QC and Monckton Chambers’ Michael Armitage.

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Legal Lurker

The Tyranny continues!



It’s daylight robe-ery!

(I’ll get my coat)





Drynites wearer

It’s not fair that a business that has been going for hundreds of years is doing better than mine! Waaaa!!!!

Rather than marketing myself, trying to be better than the competition and trying to get contracts with universities, I’m going to throw my dummy out of the pram, make myself sick, poo my pants on purpose and disembowel my teddy until you put me on an equal footing!!!




Just saying….

I happen to know some DryNites wearing people who are very bright and mature.

Having a condition like nocturnal enuresis has no bearing on either intelligence or maturity.

To use



This feels more like a PR stunt than anything else.



I knew this was going to be a William Holmes article. I just knew it…



More fool them for entering a market with such an established and dominant supplier and expecting to compete. It’s a bit like your local burger van whining about McDonalds – their product may be nicer and more convenient, but it’s never going to be able to compete on the same footing.



Indeed, not as long as there are deals done with the Universities to grant exclusivity.



Boo hoo!

Poo poo!

Noo noo!

Goo goo!



What a strange decision. Universities have wrongfully been telling students they cannot graduate in any gowns except those from E&R. But apparently E&R, the beneficiaries of this abuse, were not involved in it. Pull the other one…



But that would be abusive market behaviour on the buyers’ side of the market in question not the sellers’ side which would mean they picked the wrong defendants.


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