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The competition litigation team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP continues to be involved in some of the most headline-grabbing cases in the market. Jon Lawrence and Mark Sansom recently represented MasterCard before the Competition Appeal Tribunal, in what was the largest damages claim ever brought in the UK. Lawrence is also coordinating the European defence for Volvo/Renault in relation to claims arising from the Commission’s trucks cartel decision. Rod Carlton and Alastair Chapman are active partners in the antitrust, competition and trade department.

Hausfeld has ‘great depth of experience in competition litigation’ and is widely regarded in the market as one of, if not the, premier claimant firm. It fields in London specialist litigators with exposure to a variety of key jurisdictions and has also continued to grow its international network, further strengthening its ability to bring claims across the entirety of the European continent. Led by ‘excellent strategistAnthony Maton, the department is coordinating potential litigation and settlement discussion in the UK and Netherlands for a group of European corporates and transport associations resulting from the European Commission (EC)’s investigation into the trucking manufacturer cartel. Its impressive portfolio of automotive clients has also provided opportunities for claims in the ball bearing cartel and car glass cartel litigation, in which Laurent Geelhand and the highly recommended Anna Morfey find themselves involved. Andrew Bullion is representing, with Maton, over 500 corporate entities seeking compensation under the long-running air cargo cartel litigation while Nicola Boyle has been acting as co-counsel for numerous entities in the interchange fee litigation. Recognised as one to watch, senior associate Lesley Hannah ‘undoubtedly has a bright future’ and has gained experience through work in financial services competition claims and litigation involving Google’s dominant market position. Scott Campbell joined from Stewarts Law LLP in May 2017.

As ‘one of the established players in competition litigation’, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has extensive experience of regulatory appeals and defending private enforcement claims in the EU, UK and other national courts. The London group comprises practitioners from the firm’s disputes department and competition, regulation and trade unit, and regularly teams up with partners in the firm’s Brussels and Düsseldorf offices to bring claims in increasingly popular jurisdictions for competition litigation, such as Germany and the Netherlands. In one of the department’s most significant matters of 2016, practice head Stephen Wisking and the ‘technically astute’ Kim Dietzel are defending private damages claims brought against Pilkington in English and German courts regarding the EC’s car glass cartel decision. The ‘knowledgeable’ department head is also acting for Sky and TalkTalk in relation to BT’s appeals regarding Ofcom’s 2013 decision that BT had overcharged purchasers of Ethernet services. Further, Dietzel is acting for defendants and potential defendants in multiple ongoing, high-profile cartel cases involving power cable, ball bearing and trucks cartels. Additional clients include Schunk, the which the team continues to defend in relation to the carbon and graphite cartel, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Tessenderlo Chemi.

Hogan Lovells International LLP is ‘very strong’ in the competition space and acts for defendants in early regulatory investigations through to follow-on claims in what are consistently considered among the most high-profile competition litigation cases in the market. Department head Nicholas Heaton is ‘head and shoulders above almost all of his peers at other firms’ and continues to act for Air Canada in relation to national appellate litigation concerning the highly publicised air cargo cartel litigation; the firm is also acting for Korean Air in High Court claims regarding the cargo cartel, making it one of the few firms to advise two major air carriers in this headline litigation. Heaton was instructed alongside the ‘strategic and responsiveChristopher Hutton in the successful defence of a glass manufacturer involved in the iiyama litigation, which ultimately concerned the territorial scope of EU competition law and the right of a Japanese manufacturer to sue. Paul Chaplin, a highly recommended counsel, leads a team that is acting for British American Tobacco in relation to damages claims, counter claims, criminal actions and constitutional claims concerning actions brought by two Georgian tobacco companies, which represent the first ever competition damages cases to be heard before the Georgian courts. The department also continues to be involved in a litany of financial services competition cases.

In one way or another, Slaughter and May is involved in nearly every one of the most well-known contentious competition cases in the market and is, by the measure of some, ‘the premier firm providing EU and UK competition litigation’. Department head Richard Swallow is ‘significantly experienced in this area’ and acted for Koninklijke Philips in a €1bn damages claims brought in the English High Court by iiyama, which has gone to the Court of Appeal. Indeed, the team has acted in defence of a number of very high-profile cartel claims, an example of which is the air cargo cartel case, in which Swallow has also continued to represent British Airways; the case is currently on appeal to the European Court of Justice. Additionally, Isabel Taylor and Deborah Finkler are advising American Express Services Europe on the UK judicial review proceedings seeking to clarify the EU’s Interchange Fees Regulation. The team also manages to make use of a global network of best friend relationships, and is acting alongside Gleiss Lutz in an investigation into Booking.com’s most favoured nation clause. In 2016, Damian Taylor and Richard Jeens were made partners, while Elizabeth Barrett retired.

The competition litigation team at Allen & Overy LLP draws on the sector specialisms of the wider-firm and also makes good use of its global network, making the department an attractive team for corporates facing competition investigations and subsequent litigation. Antonio Bavasso is the firm’s global co-head of antitrust and in addition to leading 21st Century Fox’s bid for Sky, he advised the client in relation to the EC’s investigation into territorial restrictions and licensing arrangements between the company and European pay-TV broadcasters. Jonathan Hitchin is an active litigator in the group and is instructed by a number of household name clients in multiple high-value proceedings in the UK and abroad. Indeed, Hitchin and Alasdair Balfour are acting for Visa Europe Member Representative (a trust company representing 441 European banks) in connection with the competition proceedings brought against Visa by various UK retailers. Additional clients include Hitachi, Deutsche Bank and Premaitha. Dominic Long was promoted to partner in 2017. Philip Mansfield and Mark Friend are also recommended.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP provides ‘an excellent blend of legal and commercial strategy over the full range of competition work for an array of top clients’. It is instructed by both claimants and defendants, though it has achieved prominence as claimant counsel of late; a position that was strengthened this year with the hire of Ed Coulson from Hausfeld. Indeed, Coulson and Andrew Hockley have taken a lead role in the trucks cartel litigation, acting for Royal Mail in connection with a damages claim against DAF, which is the first of these cartel claims to be brought in England. Again on the claimant’s side, Joby Davies is representing National Grid in its £143m damages claim arising from the well-known power cables cartel; the firm is also acting for Scottish Power, another major claimant in this piece of litigation. In the defence space, the team advised Tesco in the second ever fast-track damages claim at the competition appeal tribunal (CAT). Chris Bryant, James Marshall and senior associate Rachel Ziegler are recommended.

Clifford Chance is ‘a stand-out player’ representing both claimants and defendants in the UK and EU court systems. It regularly acts for FTSE100 and Fortune 500 listed companies and also maintains an active position in competition thought leadership. Department head Elizabeth Morony, who is ‘one of the most seasoned litigators in the UK’, has extensive experience of competition matters in the financial services sector; in 2016, she worked alongside the firm’s regulatory department to advise BNP Paribas on the first wholesale market study by the FCA into investment and corporate banking. ‘A born litigator’, Luke Tolaini is representing Pfizer in a CAT appeal of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’s imposition of a £84.2m fine for abuse of its dominant position with regard to the sale of anti-epilepsy drugs in the UK. Matthew Scully is another key contact in the practice group and has recent experience acting for clients in the pharmaceuticals, technology and financial services sectors.

Linklaters LLP’s competition litigation group is ‘one of the strongest among London firms’, according to a client, and has experience in acting for claimants and defendants in follow-on damages claims, also handling regulatory investigations and litigation. With the retirement of Michael Sanders in April 2017, the department is now headed by Tom Cassels, ‘a tenacious, commercial and knowledgeable practitioner, and one of the most engaging personalities to work alongside’. Cassels is acting for Air France-KLM in the re-pleading of a case before the High Court regarding damages claims following the EC’s air cargo investigation; the claimants were forced to re-plead on a narrower scope after a number of successes for the defendants. The team is also representing Visa Europe in a slew of damages claims issued against the client by retailers, which allege breach of competition law concerning the implementation of multilateral interchange fees for Visa card payments in Europe. On the claimant side, counsel Elizabeth Jordan is on a team acting for Kelkoo, which is bringing claims against Google alleging abuse of a dominant position regarding online searches and search advertising. Other notable clients include LG Electronics, which the team is representing in relation to the CRT cartel litigation, and The Goldman Sachs Group, concerning its role in the power cables cartel.

Ashurst has built a reputation in the UK and throughout the EU as a defence firm that regularly acts in high-profile follow-on cases and regulatory appeals. Euan Burrows leads the contentious competition offering and is acting for Pirelli in follow-on damages claims brought by National Grid and Scottish Power arising from the EC’s decision in the power cables cartel. Global competition chair Nigel Parr acted for Intel in its appeal to the ECJ of the General Court’s decision to uphold the EC’s position that Intel had abused its dominant market position in the supply of computer microchips. Similarly, Duncan Liddell has been instructed by Virgin Media in a number of matters, including its role as an interested third party in the Commission’s investigation into Hutchinson 3G UK’s proposed acquisition of Telefonica UK. Mark Clarke joined White & Case LLP in 2016.

Bristows LLP runs ‘a first-rate competition practice in the areas of IP and pharmaceuticals’ and has thus been able to arguably ‘hoover up all the best competition cases in those sectors’. Indeed, ‘instinctive litigatorPat Treacy successfully defended Google in High Court proceedings regarding the client’s dominant position in the area of online mapping. Additionally, Treacy and Sophie Lawrance acted for Google in the high-profile claims regarding the client’s practice of online shopping and price comparison services. The team also represented Samsung Electronics in a dispute with Unwired Planet and Ericsson alleging abuse of dominance and the novel issue of patent privateering. In the pharmaceutical space, the department acted for Napp Pharmaceuticals in High Court and judicial review proceedings against the NHS Commercial Medicines Unit in relation to the procurement of an anti-inflammatory medicine. Additional clients include Les Laboratoires Servier, IPCom and Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe.

With a growing reputation acting for claimants and defendants, DLA Piper has continued to invest in its competition litigation department, which saw the hire of Richard Jenkinson from Dentons in 2017. Indeed, since joining the firm in 2015, department head Sam Szlezinger has been active in claimant litigation and regulatory investigations, and is advising KRS Releasing on an investigation by the Maltese competition authority. Sarah Smith was promoted to partner in 2016 and has been instructed by clients such as Lupin and Merck in the pay-for-delay litigation, which concerns related IP and competition issues affecting the pharmaceutical industry globally. Alexandra Kamerling is another key contact in the practice group and acted for a number of companies in claims against XL; this was one of the first damages private enforcement matters to be brought before the CAT.

With an ‘excellent reputation for thorough preparation and sound tactical judgement’, Mishcon de Reya LLP is ‘rapidly establishing itself as a go-to firm for competition damages cases’. Indeed, the firm has put quite a bit of investment into its competition litigation team and has enjoyed recent successes as a result. Of note, Rob Murray and the ‘enormously enthusiastic and committedSarah Houghton successfully represented Sainsbury’s in CAT proceedings against MasterCard, recovering £67m in damages for the client. The team is also acting for Microsoft Corporation in High Court damages claims arising from a global battery cartel; this is the first time Microsoft has brought such a claim outside of the US. Andrij Jurkiw leads the department and represents Argos in damages claims arising from the LCD cartel decision. Genevieve Quierin joined the team from Humphries Kerstetter LLP in 2017. John Lewis and Saint-Gobain are also among the department’s key clients.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s competition litigation team shows ‘good business acumen’ and provides its clients ‘commercial and strategic advice’, on both the claimant and defendant side. Made-up of partners in the firm’s competition and regulatory team and disputes resolution department, Peter Scott’s leadership has made the group ‘very easy to work with’ and therefore highly sought after in the competition litigation space. In one recent highlight, he defended The Law Society in the first-ever claim allocated to the fast-track procedure by the CAT; this concerned The Law Society’s accreditation scheme for conveyancing firms, which was allegedly an abuse the client’s dominant position. On the defendant-side, a team including the highly recommended Mark Simpson is acting for Vodafone in a follow-on claim arising out of the EC's decision regarding the smart chip suppliers cartel. Indeed, the department is acting in multiple high-profile cartel cases and continues to be involved in various financial services competition claims involving Euribor and Forex rigging. Additional clients include HSBC, Delta Air Lines and Schneider Electric.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s competition group ‘manages to combine public procurement and competition expertise, and so is particularly valuable where those areas overlap’. Though the dedicated competition litigation practice is relatively new, ‘the group has chosen well by puttingBen Lassersonat the helm’ of the contentious team. He is involved in multiple follow-on claims arising out of headline cartel decisions and has also acted for listed companies and local authorities in high-value procurement challenges. In ‘a major development for the department’, Alan Davis re-joined the from Jones Day in 2017 and heads the larger competition and EU practice. He is acting for FP McCann Limited in the CMA's only remaining criminal cartel investigation under the "old" cartel offence. Guy Lougher acted for Groupe Eurotunnel in a dispute with the CMA, which reached the Supreme Court in 2016.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP is quickly building a reputation as a successful team, with instructions from claimants and defendants in a number of very high-profile damages claims. As an example of the team’s enviable defence work, Boris Bronfentrinker is instructed by Daimler to prepare for a collective claim announced by the UK’s Road Haulage Association in connection with the Commission’s trucks cartel decision. Conversely, on the claimant-side, Bronfentrinker and Kate Vernon are acting on behalf of all UK consumers (about 46 million individuals) in a collective damages claim against MasterCard for the imposition of unlawful interchange fees, the costs of which, the team argues, were passed onto consumers, resulting in losses of £14bn. The team is acting in a number of other cartel-related follow-on claims and long-running financial services matters.

Stewarts Law LLP’s competition litigators ‘deliver with the passion, creativity and integrity, which inspires the confidence of clients and counsel’. The firm is staking its ground as a claimant-side specialist and has been active in a number of complex cases. Department head Jonathan Sinclair is acting for a litany of household name retailers in claims against MasterCard and Visa in the ongoing interchange fee litigation. Similarly, the ‘sensible and commercialKate Pollock is advising Vattenfall in High Court proceedings arising out of the power cables cartel. The team is also acting for iiyama (UK) in damages claims regarding the LCD cartel. Ian Gatt QC joined the firm from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and Kenny Henderson joined from Covington & Burling LLP while Scott Campbell left for Hausfeld in 2017.

Travers Smith LLP is ‘among the very strong mid-sized firms operating’ in the competition litigation space. The team has enjoyed immense success as of late, and has picked up work in several of the most high-profile cases in the UK and abroad. Department head Nigel Seay and Caroline Edwards successfully defended Schott at first instance in a damages claim brought by iiyama concerning cartel activity in the CRT industry. Similarly, the team is advising Renesas in the defence of follow-on claims brought by Vodafone in relation to the EC’s smart card chip cartel decision. Indeed, the group is also defending clients in follow-on claims in relation to a number of other well-known cartel cases and has also gained experience of significant competition regulatory investigations. Stephen Whitfield was promoted to partner in 2016 and the department has also brought on several new associates.

Baker McKenzie’s competition litigation team has been involved in a number of high-value defence claims, regularly acting alongside the non-contentious group to also provide advice on wider regulatory and commercial concerns. Recently made partner Francesca Richmond leads the competition disputes group. In addition to acting in foreign exchange and interest rate litigation, she is defending Eurofoam in multiple claims arising out of the PU Foam settlement decision in 2014. Similarly, Richmond is acting for clients with involvement in various automotive cartel matters. Keith Jones focuses on competition matters in the energy and healthcare sectors and Nicola Northway is another contact in the department.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP regularly acts for defendants in follow-on claims and regulatory appeals, and has found itself involved in many of the most prominent competition cases, both in the UK and the EU market. Among the group’s many defence mandates, Jonathan Kelly is defending LG Display in follow-on claims brought by iiyama in relation to the LCD cartel litigation, and is also defending NSK in follow-on claims arising out of the EC’s automotive bearings decision. Sunil Gadhia successfully represented Sony in a damages claim brought by Microsoft Mobile in relation to rechargeable batteries. Nicholas Levy and Romano Subiotto QC work between the firm’s London and Brussels offices, and Maurits Dolmans is another contact in the practice group. David Little was promoted to counsel in 2017.

With a very strong overall EU and competition practice, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP has been involved in some standout contentious matters. Practice head Frances Murphy acted for Sainsbury’s in High Court claims against Visa concerning the competitiveness of its interchange fees. On the defence side, Murphy has advised The London Metal Exchange in relation to claims that it manipulated the prices for aluminium. Kevin Robinson is another contact in the practice group and has advised various whistle-blowers in CMA investigations.

RPCpunches well above its weight’ in the area of competition litigation and has experience in commercial antitrust disputes, regulatory challenges and private actions, acting for claimants and defendants. Solicitor advocate Lambros Kilaniotis, who is ‘a good tactician with encyclopaedic knowledge of the law’, is acting for claimants in a litany of follow-on claims regarding a competition decision in the financial services sector. Catherine Percy is representing NHS bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland in a damages action against Servier, following the EC’s finding of anti-competitive practices by the drug manufacturer. Chris Ross was promoted to partner in 2017 while Stephen Smith left the firm for Bristows LLP. The department’s notable clients include Sports Direct International, LINPAC and Pizza Express.

Headed by Tony Woodgate, the competition team at Simmons & Simmons acts in High Court competition damages claims and appeals, and has particular expertise in the pharmaceuticals and healthcare, financial services, energy and tech sectors. Woodgate has recently defended a major UK bank in proceedings related to its alleged abuse of a dominant market position regarding the termination of banking services. Additionally, the team is acting for Sharp in a High Court claim for damages in relation to the EC’s LCD cartel decision.

The team at Squire Patton Boggs handles judicial review proceedings and regulatory investigations, and is instructed by claimants and defendants in private enforcement matters. In one of the group’s most prominent cases, department head Martin Rees has been involved in judicial review proceedings relating to the EC’s airfreight cartel decision and has also been involved in the well-known power cables cartel. In a highlight, he defended Tecumseh in damages claims arising out of the refrigeration compressors cartel. Diarmuid Ryan represented Poundworld in front of the CMA regarding the client’s proposed merger with Poundland/99p.

Taylor Wessing LLP acts for defendants and claimants at various levels of court and has particular expertise in the healthcare, life sciences and tech sectors. ‘Responsive and communicative’, the team is led by Robert Vidal and is able to ‘work seamlessly across its various departments with a shared focus to achieve its client’s goals’. The practice head is acting for Ranbaxy Laboratories in relation to its appeal to the ECJ regarding the General Court’s decision to strike out its appeal of the EC’s decision regarding anti-competitive settlement practices concerning an antidepressant. The team is also involved in some of the well-known follow-on damages claims in the financial services sector. Louisa Penny, Richard Craig and Paul Glass are key contacts in the practice group.

The competition department at White & Case LLP has an active contentious arm, which specialises in defending follow-on damages claims and is also involved in a number of high-profile regulatory investigations. James Killick is advising Pfizer in CMA proceedings regarding the alleged abuse of a dominant market position. In the civil-defence space, Charles Balmain is representing NTN in the CAT in connection with follow-on claims arising out of the EC’s automotive bearings cartel decision. Balmain is also defending Nexans in High Court follow-on claims regarding the power cables cartel. Marc Israel joined the team from Macfarlanes LLP in 2017. Sysmex UK and GB Eye are other clients.

Winston & Strawn London LLP fields a diverse practice comprising specialists in trade and sanctions, competition regulations and procurement issues. Led by Peter Crowther, the team is acting for global corporates in multiple regulatory investigations and regulatory appeals. Indeed, Crowther is representing a manufacturer in a General Court appeal of a cartel decision by the EC, and is also advising the client in relation to potential follow-on claims that may be brought against it. The team also provides European regulatory compliance and sanctions advice to clients such as Sberbank and Motorola Solutions. Associate Jade-Alexandra Fearns is also recommended.

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