A Brexit-related High Court battle is on the distant horizon for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
P&O Ferries sued the Department for Transport after ministers in March agreed a £33 million payment to Eurotunnel as part of a settlement in another case.
Bosses say the settlement constitutes “unlawful interference” in a competitive market.
Transport ministers dispute P&O’s claim.
A judge on Monday said a trial would start at the High Court in London on November 16 2020.
Mr Justice Fraser set a date while analysing a number of legal issues at a preliminary hearing in London.
The trial is expected to last more than two weeks.
Eurotunnel had taken legal action after then Transport Secretary Chris Grayling awarded more than £100 million in contracts to three ferry companies as part of plans for a no-deal Brexit.
The contracts, which were subsequently cancelled, attracted widespread criticism in the wake of reports that one company, Seaborne Freight, had been awarded a £13.8 million contract to run services between Ramsgate, Kent, and Ostend, Belgium, despite having no ships.
Bosses at Eurotunnel had complained about the procurement process for those contracts.
Do your bit for independent journalism
Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.
We need you to help out, if you can.
When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.
You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.
In return you get:
- Advert free reading experience
- Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
- 20% discount from our shop