Competition in London Bar
'First-choice on big-ticket competition law matters', Brick Court Chambers is 'a go-to set with many of the leading names in competition litigation'. Members were on both sides of the BritNed v ABB Court of Appeal round of the power cables saga, an appeal from the first cartel damages trial to reach judgment in the UK: Robert O'Donoghue QC and Hugo Leith for BritNed, and Mark Hoskins QC, Sarah Ford QC, Jennifer MacLeod and Jon Lawrence for the power cables companies. Before the Supreme Court, Marie Demetriou QC was against Hoskins QC in Merricks v Mastercard, concerning the certification of a collective claim on behalf of effectively anyone who made a purchase from a UK retailer accepting Mastercard before 2008. Members were also on both sides of merger control case Lebedev Holdings v Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, concerning a proposed Saudi investment, through a Caymanian structure, in the London Evening Standard and Independent newspapers; David Scannell QC (a 2020 silk appointment) and Emily MacKenzie represented the government, and Ford QC represented Lebedev Holdings. 2019 silk appointment Margaret Gray QC is active in matters with Northern Ireland crossover, and among the set's juniors Sarah Abram represents Stagecoach in a proposed standalone collective claim concerning fares for train journeys straddling the London fare zone boundary. In addition to Scannell taking silk, chambers has also celebrated the elevation of Colin West to silk and Kelyn Bacon QC being appointed to the High Court bench in 2020.
'The leading set for competition damages actions on both the claimant and defendant sides', according to some, with 'good bench strength across all levels', Monckton Chambers is frequently in the position of having members instructed on both sides of elite follow-on damages claims and more esoteric competition law matters. State aid highlights include a matter, which settled, concerning former Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling's decision to award a ferry contract to Seaborne Freight, which had no ferries. Daniel Beard QC, Valentina Sloane, Ligia Osepciu and Jack Williams acted for Eurotunnel, with Philip Moser QC for the Secretary of State; Michael Bowsher QC and Brendan McGurk represented P&O Ferries in a subsequent challenge to the settlement. Members were also on both sides of a Competition Appeal Tribunal case between Royal Mail and Whistl concerning alleged abuse of a dominant position bulk mail delivery with Jon Turner QC, Alan Bates and Daisy Mackersie for Whistl, and Beard QC and Osepciu for Royal Mail. Among the set's juniors, Bates leads Williams in representing business including Adnams and Poundland (as end-users of lorries rather than hauliers) in a damages claim following the trucks investigation. In recent news, Rob Williams QC took silk and the future of chambers looks bright with rising stars David Gregory, Stefan Kuppen and Mackersie.
'Without doubt one of the top competition sets', Blackstone Chambers has members involved in a range of key matters in cartel investigations, merger control and state aid. Brian Kennelly QC and Paul Luckhurst represent UBS in defending a proposed collective proceedings against several banks concerning an alleged foreign exchange cartel. Continuing the payments theme, Kennelly QC, Dinah Rose QC and Jason Pobjoy also represented Visa in the Sainsbury's v Visa and Mastercard case heard by the Supreme Court in January 2020. Thomas de la Mare QC advised BMW in a damages claim concerning the RoRo shipping investigation, and Kieron Beal QC is representing ITV in a challenge to the European Commission's decision that the group financing exemption for controlled foreign companies in the UK's corporation tax system constitutes state aid. James Segan QC was elevated to silk in March 2020.
'A go-to set for challenger competition work', members of Matrix Chambers handle more bespoke matters away from the large multi-party cartel enforcement cases, with Christopher Brown having advised the British Olympic Association on issues surrounding athletes' own sponsorship around Olympic games. The set is represented in the large investigations as well, with Rhodri Thompson QC representing the UK Trucks Claim entity in the lorry cartel litigation.