On Tower UK Limited v. AP Wireless II (UK) Limited [2022] UKSC 18.


The Supreme Court has handed down judgment in a landmark case concerning the interpretation and application of the new communications code and its transitional provisions (introduced by the Digital Economy Act 2017). At a February 2022 hearing lasting 3 days, the Supreme Court had to consider the workings of the legislation and in particular, the jurisdiction of the Upper Tribunal to impose agreements on landowners for the continuing provision and upgrading of communications infrastructure throughout the UK (such as, for example, the rolling out of 5G technology). This was the first time that the Supreme Court had been afforded the opportunity to consider the highly contentious legislation, and an equally contentious decision of the Court of Appeal in Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited v. Compton Beauchamp [2019] EWCA 1755.

Justin Kitson acted for On Tower UK Limited. At first instance ([2020] UKUT 0195 (LC)], he argued that the Court of Appeal’s reasoning in Compton Beauchamp was wrong. The trial judge agreed but was bound to follow the higher court’s decision. Justin applied successfully for a leapfrog certificate to appeal directly to the Supreme Court, which agreed that the Court of Appeal had erred and has allowed On Tower’s appeal.

The full judgment can be found here.

Details of a seminar on this important decision for both landowners and communications operators will follow.