Hausfeld & Co LLP is 'the leading claimant firm for competition litigation', according to clients, with it having been at the forefront of innovation in the market for many years. It has acted for claimants in follow-on damages actions relating to all of the major cartel cases over the last decade. Scott Campbell leads the practice, which litigates in the CAT and High Court, as well as appellate courts up to the Supreme Court. In addition, the team is also experienced in work spanning several other European jurisdictions. Managing partner Anthony Maton, is described by one client as 'the single most influential lawyer in UK and European claimant antitrust litigation'; he has a long history of bringing ground-breaking claims, most recently in relation to the Trucks cartel. Other key practitioners include Nicola Boyle, who led on the Interchange fees litigation, and consumer rights expert Anna Morfey. Lesley Hannah is also recommended.
Competition litigation in London
Other key lawyers:
Anthony Maton; Nicola Boyle; Anna Morfey; Lesley Hannah; Tom Bolster; Wessen Jazrawi
‘Hausfeld are the leading claimant side competition practice in the UK. They are at the top of their game, involved in some of the biggest and most influential cases in the UK in this area. Their stand out team have depth of knowledge and experience which, as a now large practice, sets them apart from others with an equivalent size/footprint.‘
‘Lesley Hannah: Experienced, calm, knowledgeable, strategic, innovative. Lesley has a determined yet approachable manner. As a client you know from the outset she is on your side and is going to fight your corner.‘
‘Hausfeld has a preeminent reputation in competition litigation from the claimant side. There are few (if any) firms representing claimants which can compare with the strength and depth of Hausfeld’s offering in terms of experience and expertise.‘
‘Hausfeld is an exceptional claimant firm that is a specialist in building competition, consumer and data claims – whether follow-on or standalone – including collective actions. Number of high calibre partners and experienced associates.’
‘Without a doubt, the leading claimant firm for competition litigation. They blazed the trail which others now follow.’
‘Anthony Maton heads the London firm. He is the single most influential lawyer in UK and European claimant antitrust litigation. He now has a number of very talented partners in the firm.’
Infederation Ltd (Foundem)
Trucks cartel group litigants
Spanish dairy farmers
Volvo Cars (RoRo)
The Consumers’ Association
- Advising numerous claimants in follow-on damages claims in relation to the trucks cartel.
- Advising Trains Collective on the first standalone opt-out collective claim on behalf of millions of rail passengers filed in the Competition Appeal Tribunal against the operators of the South Western and Southeastern rail franchises.
- Advising claimants on follow-on damages claim in the Competition Appeal Tribunal based on the FX cartel decision.
Slaughter and May 'quite simply have one of the finest competition litigation teams in the City'. The firm is able to offer a deep bench of specialist practitioners, with a strength in competition litigation that stretches across all seniority levels. In addition to handling standalone claims, the group is regularly instructed to defend large corporates in damages cases following on from the most high profile liability decisions at EU and UK level. Damian Taylor and Holly Ware advise MAN SE on claims in the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the High Court following the European Commission’s truck cartel investigation. 'Great elder statesman' Richard Swallow, who leads the group, is currently advising on damages claims arising from the roll-on/roll-off cartel alongside Camilla Sanger. Senior counsel Elizabeth Jordan is a 'future superstar'.
Other key lawyers:
Camilla Sanger; Holly Ware; Claire Jeffs; Jonathan Clark; Elizabeth Jordan; Damian Taylor; Ewan Brown; Peter Wickham; Tim Blanchard; Nick Ames
‘Slaughter and May quite simply have one of the finest competition litigation teams in the City. They offer the ultimate Rolls Royce service to clients, with almost unrivalled ability to run the largest cases with a superb quality of service.’
‘Richard Swallow is now the great elder statesman of the group. Others to watch include the brilliant young Damian Taylor and the fantastic Holly Ware. Also of tremendous ability in this area include Ewan Brown, Camilla Sanger and Tim Blanchard. Any one of them would be a terrific pick to run a competition law dispute. Senior counsel Liz Jordan is a future superstar.‘
‘The team is an obvious choice for the most high profile competition cases in this jurisdiction. They focus on acting for defendants and are involved in all the blockbuster cases, including the Trucks litigation and the FX claims. The quality of partners and associates is exceptional across the board.‘
‘Damian Taylor heads up the team and is a massive talent. He’s razor sharp but also pragmatic and an excellent team leader. One of the most impressive partners I have worked with. Nick Ames has just moved to the firm from Freshfields and is one to watch for the future.’
‘I very much like Peter Wickam, who was promoted to partner recently. He is an outstanding lawyer, who is combining strategic overview with knowledge of the details. This allows him to think out-of-the-box and find creative solutions.’
‘Meticulous, intellectually rigorous, hard working and utterly dedicated.‘
JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.
First MTR South Western Trains
Infineon Technologies AG
Deutsche Bank, A.G.
Koninklijke Philips NV
Louis Dreyfus Company B.V.
IAG (British Airways)
- Defending truck manufacturer MAN SE in multibillion Euro competition litigation.
- Acting for JPMorgan Case Bank N.A. in investigations in relation to alleged misconduct in the G10 spot FX market and defending subsequent civil claims.
- Acting for VW in a claim to recover damages arising from the Roll-on/Roll-off shipping cartel.
The 'very strong, very committed team' at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is one of a limited number in the market to advise both claimants and defendants. It has a strong track record in follow-on damages action relating to the most high profile cartel investigations, as well as offering specialist expertise in regulated sectors such as energy. Edward Coulson, who jointly leads the competition team with Andrew Hockley, is lauded by clients and peers for his 'superb attention to detail, as well as a keen eye on the big picture'. The group also saw a number promotions in 2021; Andrew Leitch, who is now a senior associate, is defending Morgan Stanley in its FX follow-on damages dispute.
Andrew Hockley; Edward Coulson
Other key lawyers:
Andrew Leitch; Ben Blacklock
‘They have a decent and well-resourced team, which has a mixture of competition lawyers and litigators.’
‘Exceptionally hard working. Approachable and very easy to work with. Very capable and always provide sound and intelligent advice. Technically astute.‘
‘This is a very strong, very committed team.’
‘Andy Hockley (partner) provides the stardust and acts as rainmaker. Ed Coulson (partner) provides the committed hard work, with superb attention to detail as well as a keen eye on the big picture. Associates Ben Blacklock and Andrew Leitch are exceptional.‘
‘Outstandingly good – better than many larger city firms. Bright, dedicated, pragmatic and tactically sophisticated.‘
‘Andy Hockley leads the London antitrust team. Superb with clients, great judgment and has led a first-rate team. Ed Coulson is a partner in charge of major antitrust litigation. Highly experienced, tough, but knows when to be pragmatic. A first-rate litigator. Many outstanding and committed associates too.’
‘Ed Coulson is very experienced in competition follow-on damages claims. He is always on top of the case, exercises sound judgement and is excellent at leading his team. Andrew Leitch is tenacious and dedicated. He works hard, vigorously fights for his client’s interests and has a great sense of humour.‘
‘The team are hard working, dedicated and extremely experienced. They are very knowledgeable about competition law and have good tactical judgment. They are a pleasure to work with and have great interpersonal skills.‘
Royal Mail Plc
Heathrow Airport Limited
Department of Health
- Acted for National Grid and Scottish Power in claims for damages due to overcharges paid for the purchase of High Voltage Power Cables.
- Advising Morgan Stanley on defending a stand-alone damages action in relation to its alleged participation in a foreign exchange cartel.
- Advising clients various clients in high court claims against DAF, Volvo/Renault, Daimler/Mercedes, Iveco and Scania for their participation in the EC truck cartel
Clifford Chance LLP has a well-established reputation in high-profile competition disputes, particularly in relation to follow-on damages actions and matters connected with the financial services sector. The team is able to draw on complementary expertise in areas such as as public law, criminal law, injunctions, regulatory investigations and technology. It has been increasingly active in recent years advising on abuse of dominance cases. Practice head Elizabeth Morony has been representing Epic Games in a claim before the Competition Appeal Tribunal against Google in relation to the app distribution market. Senior associate Ben Jasper is 'a partner in all but name', according to a client.
Other key lawyers:
Samantha Ward; Luke Tolaini; Ben Jasper
‘The antitrust practice draws from CC’s great strengths in many commercial spheres and, as a UK practice, also from the strength of CC’s EU and European network, notably in tech matters in Brussels.’
‘Elizabeth Morony – highly experienced and seasoned practitioner leading the practice and very present on the international scene, notably through the IBA. Luke Tolaini, whose practice straddles antitrust and fraud in a highly original way.’
‘Clifford Chance have one of the top-tier competition litigation practices in London. They have a very unusual combination of a Tier 1 competition law practice coupled with a Tier 1 competition litigation practice. This, coupled with a first-class corporate practice, gives them an amazing client roster. They are particularly strong in competition litigation involving pharma, telecoms, and banking.’
‘Luke Tolaini is the stand-out name here. I would also mention Ben Jasper, who is a partner in all but name.’
‘Top competition litigators with strength across the team.‘
Pfizer Inc. and Pfizer Limited
Xellia and Alpharma LLC
- Defending EE in a claim brought on behalf of the administrators of Phones 4 U for breaches of competition law and for breach of contract.
- Acting for Epic Games in claims before the Competition Appeal Tribunal against Alphabet/Google, and Apple.
- Representing Pfizer in relation to the CMA’s re-investigation in phenytoin.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's highly respected contentious competition practice, which operates on a cross-practice basis, focuses on advising defendants on complex issues. In addition to advising on follow-on damages claims in relation to major cartels, the group is experienced in advising global companies on standalone abuse of dominance disputes; in 2021, Stephen Wisking assisted Google with defending claims brought by Kelkoo and Connexity. He co-heads the practice with Kim Dietzel, who appears as an advocate on behalf of clients in the CAT and has featured in a number of precedent-setting cases. Aside from the partners in the team, of counsels Andrew North and Suzy Campbell are also recommended.
Stephen Wisking; Kim Dietzel
Other key lawyers:
Andrew North; Suzy Campbell
‘Stephen Wisking probably sets the industry standard for competence and knowledge of the competition and regulatory aspects of telecoms and related matters. Andrew North is a highly able and personable litigator, who can maintains an excellent rapport with clients.’
‘This team is the “Rolls Royce” of competition litigation teams. Combine first- rate minds/competition experts with experienced litigators.’
‘Kim Dietzel – very impressive and detailed knowledge of all key aspects of complex legal and factual issues in complex cross border litigation. Great ability to understand, explain and influence key strategic decisions.’
‘Herbert Smith have one of the top practices in the City for competition litigation, with excellent strength in depth from partners to associates.’
‘Kim Dietzel is one of standout names for competition litigation in the market. She is a very strong technical lawyer and excellent at strategy.’
‘The quality of work product is consistently strong. They are proactive and smart, and I feel that I am in good hands.’
‘Stephen Wisking – very clever, calm and assured. Superb judgment. Delight to work with. Kim Dietzel – smart and knowledgeable.’
Virgin Atlantic Airways
Nord Stream 2
- Advising CNHI, Iveco and Stellantis on follow-on damages claims stemming from the European Commission’s settlement decision in Trucks.
- Representing MUFG in relation to litigation arising from the EU Commission’s Decision in Case AT.40135 (Forex – Essex Express) including follow-on and standalone actions.
- Advising Google on claims brought by Kelkoo and Connexity for abuse of dominance.
Hogan Lovells International LLP is regularly involved in the largest disputes in the UK competition market, where it advises multinational companies in claims relating to abuses of dominance and cartels, particularly in relation to the financial services, telecoms, energy, manufacturing and technology sectors. Specialist competition litigator Nicholas Heaton has developed expertise in representing defendants in the largest cartel damages claims in the UK; he has featured in ground-breaking cases at the CAT and High Court for over 12 years. In one matter, Heaton assisted Korean Air and Air Canada with defending claims relating to the air cargo cartel. Other key team members include Christopher Hutton, who recently took over the leadership of the London competition team.
Other key lawyers:
‘Strength in all aspects of competition work, including strong litigation capability led by Nick Heaton.’
- Representing Vodafone in relation to claims by the administrators of Phones 4U.
- Advising Korean Air and Air Canada on multijurisdictional cartel damages claims arising from the world wide Air Cargo cartel.
- Defending Safran, in a cartel damages claim arising from the EU wide Power Cable cartel.
Linklaters LLP is regularly instructed to represent defendants in follow-on actions related to the most significant cartel decisions seen in the market, including those relating to FX and interchange fees. In addition to follow-on claims, the practice handles complex standalone cases; practice head Tom Cassels is currently advising Visa on a claim alleging that certain of Visa’s rules relating to ATM transactions are contrary to Article 101 TFEU. Newly-promoted partner Sarina Williams is assisting Cassels with the Visa case, while Harriet Ellis advises on investigations in the pharmaceutical and financial service sectors.
Other key lawyers:
Harriet Ellis; Sarina Williams; James Hennah
‘The Linklaters competition litigation team are a class act. They are consistently excellent and have a breadth and depth of highly capable lawyers, who get the job done. They are a pleasure to work with and provide clear and cogent advice.’
‘Tom Cassels is excellent. He is clever, calm and clear and deftly manages difficult situations with clients. He puts together and leads excellent teams, working effectively with junior partners and managing associates.’
‘Very strong competition law practice, involved in many of the key cases currently before the English courts. Tom Cassels and newly elected partner Sarina Williams standout practitioners. Highly recommended for the big ticket competition litigation.’
‘Tom Cassels – standout practitioner – excellent judgment, and brilliant with clients. An absolute delight to work with. Sarina Williams – newly elected partner who is going to be a real asset to the competition law team. Brilliant practitioner.‘
‘Amongst the strongest litigators in the City, particularly in relation to large scale competition damages litigation. Great experience of handling claims with an international element.‘
‘The brilliant and charming Tom Cassells runs his cases with a deceptively light touch, he is a brilliant litigator with sound judgment and great to work with. The brightest and latest partner is the amazing Sarina Williams – watch this space.’
‘Tom Cassels leads a fantastic team with great strength in depth and smart, insightful lawyers at all levels. They work seamlessly to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks across many workstreams and the quality of both advice and execution is always top notch.’
‘Tom Cassels is one of the most commercially minded advisors I have worked with, giving smart, creative and nuanced advice which is easily understood by all stakeholders (legally trained or not). He is unfailingly calm, regardless of the temperature in the room – someone to rely on for the most difficult of decisions. James Hennah is a rising star, delivering great counsel and excellent client service on par with many partners across the city.‘
Sucocitrico Cutrale LTDA
BGL Group Limited/Comparethemarket.com
Association of Football Agents
- Advising Visa on its defence against large numbers of retailer damages actions relating to interchange fees.
- Representing Sucocitrico Cutrale in respect of an alleged purchasing cartel concerning the orange market.
- Advises Société Générale in its defence of a large group claim in the English Commercial Court.
Contentious work is the primary focus of Mishcon de Reya LLP‘s competition practice. The department demonstrates a ‘detailed and practical knowledge of the competition litigation process’, with it representing claimants in some of the market’s largest and most high-profile cases. In a recent highlight, Rob Murray led a team which represented Sainsbury’s in the Supreme Court in its case against Mastercard regarding the recovery of interchange fees, which set important precedents in relation to the pass-on defence. Practice head Sarah Houghton handles abuse of dominance claims, and is also managing follow-on claims relating to the Trucks cartel. Zachery O’Brien is another key individual. Partner Ben Lasserson joined the team in early 2021.
Other key lawyers:
Rob Murray; Audrey Dwyer; Zachery O’Brien; Ben Lasserson
‘Detailed and practical knowledge of the competition litigation process, and the interplay between competition law and the ex ante regulatory regime. Leaves no stone unturned. Completely result-focused.’
Rob Murray (Partner) – brings a vast wealth of experience from multiple sectors and jurisdictions, is constantly two steps ahead of the other side, and brings this together to provide excellent strategic advice.’
‘Mishcon antitrust litigation team are well resourced and experienced. Good complementary skills of main partners. Have very good associates.’
‘Top-tier on the claimant side. More than a match for most defendant teams.’
‘Rob Murray, Sarah Houghton and Zac O’Brien are knowledgeable, strategic and commercial.’
‘Creative approach to new litigation opportunities.’
‘Fantastic team that are fun to work with as well as deliver high quality service. They are a leading firm on claimant side, but have partners with experience on defendant side so can anticipate counter arguments.’
Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd
Asda Stores Ltd
Iceland Foods Ltd
Wilkinson Retail Limited
Justin Le Patourel
- Represented Sainsbury’s in the Supreme Court in its case against Mastercard.
- Acting for a large number of retail, gaming, telecoms, e-commerce and hospitality clients in interchange fee claims against both MasterCard and Visa.
- Representing Justin Le Patourel, the class representative, in an application for an opt-out collective proceedings order against BT Group Plc in the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
Known as 'a trailblazer for claimant work', Stewarts Law LLP has developed an excellent reputation for advising on complex and innovative disputes, both in relation to standalone claims and follow-on actions. A key highlight in 2020 saw the firm secure a judgment for the claimants in the Supreme Court case Asda, Argos and Morrisons & Ors v Mastercard & Ors in relation to the highly-publicized interchange fees cartel. Kate Pollock leads a team of specialist competition litigators, including Stuart Carson, who has advised on claims relating to all the major cartel investigations in the last decade, and Inge Forster, a specialist in cross-border competition disputes.
Other key lawyers:
Inge Forster; Stuart Carson; Leah Keen; Anna Crellin; Nick Haworth
‘Very client focussed and commercial claimant side team. Big hitters.’
‘I have found the Stewarts team to be very committed and hard-working. They dive deep into the details of the cases they are working on to get a strong understanding of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the cases they are planning to pursue.‘
‘The firm strikes me as having strong entrepreneurial initiative backed by a solid level of experience. I’ve found both Kate Pollock and Stuart Carson to have strong engagement with the legal and economic issues relevant to the case, compared with other firms where the partners are not generally as available or engaged in the details of the case.’
‘The Stewarts competition team has been a trailblazer for claimant work that is creative but deeply thought-through and strategic. They are a superb team, passionate about what they do, and clearly enjoy working with each other.‘
‘Highly energetic claimant practice with excellent litigation judgment and pragmatism to achieve results for the client.‘
‘Kate Pollock – exceptional competition litigator, huge energy and terrific team leader Inge Forster – a cool head and clear strategic thinker.‘
‘Good availability and great advice. Good diversity in the team, many female lawyers and individuals of different backgrounds. They seem to be collaborating internally in a very good way.’
‘Inge Forster gives sound advice, in a format that I as client can take in. She is clear and gives clear well based recommendations.’
ASDA Stores Limited
Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC
Argos Stores Limited
iiyama UK Limited
Marks and Spencer plc
Card Factory plc
Ingram Micro Inc.
- Represented Asda, Argos and Morrisons in the Supreme Court in relation to their interchange fee claims against Mastercard.
- Acting for French-based Gemalto on their pan-European smart card chip cartel claim.
- Acting for LafargeHolcim Ltd in respect of losses suffered throughout Europe as a consequence of the truck cartel.
Allen & Overy LLP's competition litigation team, which sits within the firm's wider antitrust practice, is involved in many of the largest cases in the market, including those relating to the foreign exchange markets the heavy trucks industry and interchange fees. Mark Friend leads the London competition practice; his practice spans all areas of contentious and non-contentious competition law. Philip Mansfield is a co-head of the global group. Among the firm's 'fine roster of associates', Rachel Donelan stands out as 'a future star'. Antonio Bavasso departed to join Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in January 2021.
Mark Friend; Philip Mansfield
Other key lawyers:
Jonathan Hitchin; Rachel Donelan
‘Although slightly smaller than the other Magic Circle competition disputes teams, Allen & Overy have some brilliant partners in their ranks and a fine roster of associates.’
‘Jonathan Hitchin is a fantastic commercial litigator with great experience in competition disputes. Mark Friend is a competition and regulatory lawyer with enormous knowledge and experience of regulatory disputes. Wise and brilliant, definitely one to have on your team for a regulatory dispute. The brilliant Rachel Donelan is a future star.’
441 Trust Company
- Defending Scania in three private damages actions in the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
- Advising Micron on a private damages claim brought by the liquidators of Granville Technology Group, VMT, and OT Computers.
- Advising Citibank on multiple private damages claims in the UK in relation to historic conduct in the FX markets.
Ashurst acts for claimants and defendants in competition cases before both the UK and EU courts. In a recent highlight, the firm has been representing Ryder in one of the biggest UK follow-on damages actions in relation to the EU trucks cartel. Euan Burrows leads the EMEA competition team; in addition to representing clients in litigation, he handles a range of other matters, such as state aid and procurement. Nigel Parr advises many of the firm's key clients, including Intel and Royal Mail.
Other key lawyers:
Nigel Parr; Duncan Liddell; Steven Vaz
‘Nigel Parr. A simply outstanding black letter law competition lawyer. If he doesn’t know it, it isn’t worth knowing.’
West Coast Trains (WCTL)
- Represents Ryder in a follow-on action in relation to the EU trucks cartel.
- Acted for Royal Mail on its appeal against Ofcom’s price discrimination infringement decision its further appeal to the Court of Appeal.
- Acting for Intel in the remittal to the EU General Court following its successful appeal to the CJEU.
Bristows LLP has ‘the trust of huge clients on their most important cases’, regularly assisting with standalone cases before the High Court and the CAT, as well as the appellate courts. The group has developed a first-rate reputation for its advice on matters involving an interplay between intellectual property and competition law; practice head Pat Treacy is ‘the go to lawyer in Europe for complex FRAND matters’ and regularly works with Sophie Lawrance on complex disputes involving large technology and pharmaceutical companies.
Other key lawyers:
Sophie Lawrance; Stephen Smith
‘Sophie Lawrance is always up to date on all matters FRAND and beyond, quick with technical details and a pleasure to work with.’
‘As well as its core EU and competition expertise, Bristows brings a deep sectoral knowledge to bear on all issues it advises on. Very attuned to market developments, the team is able to provide highly tailored and insightful advice. Its long-term relationships with clients is a testament to how highly regarded the team is.’
‘Pat Treacy remains an exceptional practitioner: her in-depth experience, up to date knowledge and friendly and available manner, she is amongst the very best competition lawyers out there. Sophie Lawrance has a fantastic understanding of all issues on the competition law/intellectual property interface, especially in relation to all issues FRAND-related. Steve Smith is a great asset to the Bristows team: approachable, knowledgeable and always willing to spend time to get to know his clients’ businesses.’
‘They are responsive, strategic thinkers with laser-focused advice and constantly work to ensure the best result for their clients. We have worked on many cases together over the years and they always were outstanding. Also, the close integration with the patent litigation and the general litigation team give the team a competitive advantage when it comes to litigate competition cases (especially if in innovative, IP intensive markets).’
‘Pat Treacy and Sophie Lawrance: Pat is the go to lawyer in Europe for complex FRAND matters and cases at the intersection of competition law and IP and technology. As a testament to her wide market recognition, she has recently been appointed Deputy High Court Judge and will serve in the Chancery Division of the High Court of England and Wales for six years. Sophie has an exceptional client base (she worked for ZTE in the famous Supreme Court case) and is able to both navigate highly complex issues and drive creative and novel global strategies.’
Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
Samsung Electronics Co Limited
Google UK Limited
IPCom GmbH Co KG
Lebedev Holdings Limited
Chiesi Farmaceutici SpA
- Representing Google in the English High Court in a mixed follow-on/standalone action brought by Foundem.
- Represented ZTE in the UKSC in litigation brought by Conversant.
- Advsed ABPI on an intervention in UKSC proceedings between Pfizer/Flynn and the CMA.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton's London office represents large multinational companies as defendants in their most complex and high-stakes cases. The firm is strong in follow-on damages actions related to cartels and it also has extensive expertise in other types of disputes; in a recent highlight, the group assisted Google with its appeals before the EU General Court challenging the European Commission's abuse of dominance decisions. Maurits Dolmans, Nicholas Levy and newly-promoted partner Paul Gilbert are the key team members.
Other key lawyers:
Nicholas Levy; Jonathan Kelly; Maurits Dolmans; Paul Gilbert; Paul Stuart
- Representing Google in its appeals before the EU General Court challenging the EU Commission decisions regarding Google’s alleged abuse of its dominant position in online search and Android.
- Advising NSK on alleged cartel damages claims raised by several automobile manufacturers and automotive suppliers.
- Representing “K” Line in defending claims in the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the High Court.
Macfarlanes LLP is highly regarded by peers for its work in the pharmaceutical sector, where it advises large companies on disputes relating to unfair pricing and patent settlement. Malcolm Walton leads the department, which also includes Cameron Firth, who has particular expertise in the retail and consumer sectors.
Other key lawyers:
Cameron Firth; Simon Day
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP has a commendably broad contentious competition offering, which spans challenges to CMA decisions, investigations, follow-on damages actions and standalone claims. In a recent highlight, the group represented Sainsbury's in its claim in the Supreme Court against Mastercard regarding interchange fees. Frances Murphy leads the team, which works closely with its European office network. Murphy has recently been assisting pharmaceutical companies with 'pay for delay' issues alongside Joanna Christoforou.
Other key lawyers:
Omar Shah; Joanna Christoforou; Emma Walsh
‘A fine sense of judgment and resilience under pressure. Excellence in delivering a first rate product and in managing the vagaries of long running litigation.’
‘Frances Murphy – an astute and incisive mind coupled with a personable sense of humour necessary to make large-scale and high-pressure litigation enjoyable.’
Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited
Advanz Pharma Corp. (ex Concordia Inc.)
McDonalds Restaurants Limited
Abellio East Anglia Limited and Others
- Represented Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited in securing a victory against Visa in the UK Supreme Court.
- Leading Concordia’s/Advanz’s defence in relation to the alleged excessive and unfair pricing of the thyroid drug Liothyronine.
- Represented McDonald’s in claims against Visa and MasterCard before the High Court.
Norton Rose Fulbright advises on the full spectrum of contentious competition issues, including investigations, follow-on claims and standalone actions in both the UK and EU courts. Equally able representing claimants and defendants, the group has been involved in many of the largest cases on the market, having recently represented HSBC in claims following on from the FX market cartel decision. London competition head Mark Simpson has developed a niche in regulated sectors, most notably telecoms, electricity and gas. Ian Giles leads the EMEA practice, while counsel Helen Fairhead assists with the firm's most high-profile cases. Managing partner Peter Scott is also recommended.
Ian Giles; Mark Simpson
Other key lawyers:
Peter Scott; Susanna Rogers; Helen Fairhead; Jason Logendra; James Flett
‘The team at Norton Rose is excellent. They truly operate as a team and have managed to create a highly collaborative culture in the practice. The entire team from partner to associate is fully engaged on every case, which inspires confidence and makes for a highly productive working relationship.’
‘Mark Simpson, in particular, is a pleasure to work with. He is smart and fosters a collaborate culture on his cases. He also has a solid understanding of the core competition economics concepts and interacts meaningfully with experts to ensure the best outcomes for his clients.‘
‘Mark Simpson has excellent sector knowledge.’
‘The advice received from NRF was undoubtedly excellent, as was their prior knowledge of the sector, just as you would expect. But what marks NRF out was the quality of the collaboration that we had with them.‘
‘It was the openness to engagement and collaborative spirit that marked them out. You expect knowledge, insight and of course hard work, and you get all of that too from the NRF team, but when that comes with a warm, human approach it helps hugely with handling those inevitable pinch points found on any case.’
Delta Air Lines
Standard Chartered Bank
Electricity North West Limited
Northern Gas Networks
Energy Networks Association
- Representing HSBC in defending claims alleging the bank’s conduct over a caused damages through benchmark and pricing-related manipulation.
- Acting for Orange SA in its defence of claims brought by the Administrators of Phones4U.
- Advising HSBC on defending allegations in the European Commission’s investigation of manipulations of the Euro inter-bank offer rate.
Pinsent Masons LLP
When it comes to competition litigation, the team at Pinsent Masons LLP 'can trade with the best of them from magic circle to boutique'. Led by Alan Davis, the group excels in representing claimants and defendants in the UK and EU courts on matters relating to the pharmaceutical, construction, automotive and energy industries, as well as digital markets. The firm is also able to draw upon an extensive network of UK offices; the Edinburgh, Belfast and Birmingham teams all have strong competition expertise and work with the London group to provide comprehensive coverage.
Other key lawyers:
Michael Fletcher; Robert Vidal
‘Can trade with the best of them from magic circle to boutique – lots of range.‘
‘Good balance of litigators and competition experts.’
‘Breadth of disciplines this firm covers and ability to draw expertise from within. Clear, transparent, timely billing.‘
‘Clear, concise communicators who quickly identify key issues. Empathetic approach – never doubt that they’re on top of matters.‘
FP McCann Limited
- Advising Sun Pharma on its appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union following a European Commission decision to impose fines of €146m.
- Advising FP McCann Limited on the CMA’s long running cartel investigation into the supply of products to the construction industry.
- Advising DAF Trucks on defending follow-on damages claims in Scotland relating to the EU Commission decision regarding a competition infringement in the trucks sector.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Best known for working with claimants, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP has long been a go-to firm for complex competition disputes, advising on follow-on and standalone claims in relation to the automotive, technology and financial services sectors. In 2020, the firm was viewed by some as the 'top competition law team in collective actions' for its role representing the claimant in the Supreme Court case of Merricks v Mastercard, which set a long-awaited precedent regarding the threshold for bringing collective competition damages claims in the UK. Kate Vernon has developed expertise in complex FRAND issues, and is also working with key client Qualcomm on multiple disputes. Well-regarded partners Boris Bronfentrinker, Nicola Chesaites and Elaine Whiteford are all set to join Willkie alongside a team of at least eight other lawyers in late 2021, with the departures announced after these rankings were initially published.
‘Top competition law team in collective actions.‘
‘A hugely intellectual and highly motivated team of people. You always feel in safe hands with Quinn and that they will fight your corner tooth and nail. They aren’t afraid to get into a scrap and push the boundaries for their clients. A pleasure to work with them too. A good bunch of people.’
‘Boris Bronfentrinker is an impressive operator. He has boundless energy and an agile intellect that he applies to client matters with considerable commercial acumen. Boris is ably supported by Leo Kitchen who is an exceptional legal talent and is very hard working. He is also a pleasure to work with.‘
Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz Cars United Kingdom Limited
Walter Merricks CBE
Allianz Global Investors
Erste Abwicklungsanstalt (EAA)
Federal Insurance Deposit Corporation (FIDC)
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (now called Stellantis)
Simmons & Simmons
Simmons & Simmons, which is equally adept at advising claimants and defendants, is a strong choice for standalone claims, follow-on actions and abuse of dominance cases. The firm won a number of significant instructions in 2020, most notably from from BT Group plc, which it is defending in collective proceedings potentially worth £600m, one of the first claims of its type to be brought under the CAT's opt-out regime. Patrick Boylan, who heads up the department, has developed a specialism in regulated industries such as energy, life sciences, TMT and financial services.
Other key lawyers:
Charles Bankes; Chris Owen; Adam Bristow
‘S&S have a strong competition litigation practice.’
‘I particularly rate Patrick Boylan.’
- Defending BT in novel opt-out collective proceedings which the claimant representative claims to be worth £600m.
- Acting for three LG Electronics entities in defending a £670m damages action relating to the European Commission cathode ray tube cartel decision.
- Advising a video games publisher on an inquiry by the European Commission in relation to the potential breaches of competition law.
Travers Smith LLP has an 'excellent team in the competition disputes field', which specialises in defending large companies in follow-on damages claims as well as investigations by the Financial Conduct Authority. With a track record of being involved in the largest cartel matters in the market, in 2020, the firm advised defendants on the Trucks and RoRo cartels. Caroline Edwards is 'a litigator of tremendous quality' who jointly leads the team with Nigel Seay.
Caroline Edwards; Nigel Seay
Other key lawyers:
‘The dispute resolution – competition litigation team at Travers has unmatched experience in complex damage litigation matters. They are involved in large-scale cases brought before the High Court and Competition Appeal Tribunal for some of the most well-known brands in the world. They also have extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution. They are a pleasure to work with.‘
‘Nigel is patient, analytical, versatile and flexible in developing novel solutions for intricate problems.‘
‘Very clever, personable and hard-working team who know how to run the biggest competition cases.‘
‘Caroline Edwards – very clever and charming – a first rate team leader.‘
‘Travers have an excellent team in the competition disputes field, appearing in a remarkable number of the really large cases (including Trucks, CRT, FX etc) and easily able to withstand comparison with some of the best teams from the larger firms.‘
‘Caroline Edwards is a litigator of tremendous quality, whilst Nigel Seay stands out for his depth of experience and knowledge of competition law. ‘
‘The Travers team has one of the most experienced competition leadership teams in the City (Caroline Edwards) and incredible strength in depth, with many senior associates and associates completely versed in the work.’
- Acting for a European truck manufacturer defending multiple damages claims brought before the English courts arising from the European Commission’s Trucks decision.
- Acting for Wallenius Wilhelmsen in proceedings brought against it by VW following the European Commission decision in respect of the supply of roll-on roll-off vehicle shipping services.
- Acting for JTEKT Corporation on competition claims brought by Fiat Chrysler and a group of car dealers in respect of the European Commission’s automotive bearings decision.
White & Case LLP is frequently instructed in high profile global investigations, state aid disputes and follow-on damages claims. The firm stands out for its global outlook; the London team works closely with the Brussels office on major disputes, and it has also formed relationships with local counsel in numerous other European jurisdictions. Group head Marc Israel has recently been advising on claims arising from the power cables cartel decision. Charles Balmain is another name to note, having worked on global investigations into the setting of LIBOR.
Other key lawyers:
Charles Balmain; James Killick
‘Highly experienced and knowledgeable team.’
‘James Killick – experienced heavyweight lawyer, who has invaluable insight into developing trends.’
‘They provide very practical advice and make useful recommendations. Good strategic advice, thinking ahead. They have excellent cross-border capabilities, including EU.’
‘Marc Israel provides a responsive, partner-led service, offering useful and practical advice.‘
Bulgarian Energy Holding EAD
Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA)
- Representing a Swedish private investor and three major Romanian food & drink companies in a case relating to the boundaries of State aid law.
- Advised Pfizer before the CMA in the context of an investigation into alleged excessive pricing.
- Representing the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) in supporting Google before the General Court.
Addleshaw Goddard demonstrates ‘depth of knowledge of both commercial litigation and competition law‘, advising on follow-on damages claims and regulatory appeals. The group operates on a cross-practice basis and includes competition lead Bruce Kilpatrick and Manchester-based litigation head Mark Molyneux. Recently-promoted partner Samantha Haigh, who is also based in Manchester, is experienced in abuse of dominance claims.
Mark Molyneux; Bruce Kilpatrick
Other key lawyers:
Rona Bar-Isaac; Samantha Haigh; Paul Chaplin
‘Strong and competent team with a depth of knowledge of both commercial litigation and competition law, which is very powerful. New partner Samantha Haigh is a good addition to the team and will continue to insist on gender diversity in the team.’
‘I have worked with a number of partners and associates within Addleshaw Goddard’s competition litigation practice over the past year and find them all to be outstanding individuals.’
‘Mark Molyneux: shrewd and experienced, balanced and practical. Bruce Kilpatrick: subtle and knowledgeable competition law with an exceptional sense of the way the wind is blowing in a trial.‘
‘Technically brilliant – the team are both very professional and very personable. They are big enough to deal with the most complex and intensive issues and provide clear advice in a timely manner. They are fabulous to work with.’
‘The team are excellent to work with – smart, pragmatic, innovative and very friendly.’
‘Sam Haigh – partner – takes ownership of problems and devises solutions.’
NKT group of companies
Office Depot Europe
The Road Haulage Association Limited
Co-operative Group Limited
- Advising the The Road Haulage Association on a collective proceedings application before the CAT.
- Advised NKT Group on follow-on damages cases in connection with the European Commission cartel decision relating to the supply of power cables.
- Acted for Office Depot Europe in relation to two competition damages claims in the High Court against addressees of the European Commission cartel decision relating to the supply of Envelopes.
Led by Jane Wessel, Arnold & Porter's team in London acts for large claimants and defendants in competition litigation. It is particularly well-placed to handle multijurisdictional cases, with it working closely with practitioners in Brussels and the US. The firm's recent work included defending claims arising from the "roll-on, roll-off" cartel, as well as bringing claims in connection with the trucks cartel. John Schmidt has significant experience of representing defendants in abuse of dominance cases, particularly relation to the pharmaceutical and consumer goods sectors.
Other key lawyers:
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd
Philip Morris International
Adrestia Capital Partners
- Representing the claimants in respect of Heineken’s pan-European trucks fleet for damages arising out of the EU trucks cartel.
- Representing MOL, a Japanese transportation and logistics company and one of the largest shipping companies in the world, on the “RoRo” cartel follow-on litigation.
CMS is able to provide a full service to claimants and defendants, under the joint leadership of Brian Sher and Caroline Hobson. Its work ranges in scope from regulatory investigations to competition litigation (particularly follow-on damages actions), with a notable strength in claims filed across multiple jurisdictions. Recent highlights included acting for GlaxoSmithKlinePlc as the lead appellant in the Paroxetine case; this matter involved both the first and last ever reference to the European Court of Justice by the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Kenny Henderson has expertise in regulated sectors, particularly claims in the pharmaceutical and technology industries. Also notable is that, in addition to handling high-profile follow-on claims across Europe, he has expertise in class and group actions.
Brian Sher; Caroline Hobson
Other key lawyers:
‘Knowledge of the CMA and its processes and thinking have been valuable. Nothing is knee jerk. advice is clear and thought out, and always with the next step in mind. The lawyers on the team are themselves a mix of cautious and more aggressive giving a very good choice of actions/approach – allows you to understand and make your own mind up.’
‘The CMS competition team provides advice and expertise across the range of competition litigation: anti-trust, mergers, follow-on damages claims, regulatory matters and investigations. They are very pleasant to work with and are distinguished by the fact that they truly leave no stone unturned in their preparation. They work tirelessly on behalf of their clients and are exhaustive in their pursuit of points.’
‘Brian Sher is a careful, conscientious lawyer who is indefatigable in serving his clients. He is pleasant to work with and is willing to explore every avenue in seeking out the best results for his clients. I would have no hesitation in recommending him as a competition lawyer expert in his field. He is ably assisted by a strong and knowledgeable team at CMS. ‘
‘CMS have a very versatile competition litigation practice. They are as much at home in major defendant case as they are on the claimant side in a major collective action.’
‘Kenny Henderson is a rising star in the competition litigation space, particularly on collective actions.‘
‘CMS’s co-heads of competition law – Brian Sher and Caroline Hobson – are the two partners with whom I have worked with for more than two decades now. Both are first rate, opponents respect them, clients appreciate them and I would unhesitatingly recommend both of them.‘
‘From my experience, a particular strength is in the life sciences, but the life sciences as businesses rather than (or perhaps in addition to) the strictly IP aspects of life sciences. This commercial perspective is very valuable.‘
‘I have worked extensively with Kenny Henderson (including when he was at his previous firm). He is a really excellent competition litigator. He has genuine interest in the law, which he combines with a practical focus on what his clients want to achieve and how to get there.’
Garda World Security Corporation
- Represent GSK in a reference to the European Court of Justice (CJEU) by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT).
- Represent Arora Group in defending judicial review litigation, surrounding the third runway at Heathrow Airport.
- Representing viagogo in proceedings against the CMA following the secondary ticketing investigation.
DLA Piper‘s ‘creative and energetic’ competition group is best known for its work in the pharmaceutical sector, where it represents multinational companies such as Lupin Limited and Merck KGaA, though the team is experienced in a range of disputes. Sarah Smith, who was appointed as the head of the department in 2020, has a niche capability in handling ‘pay for delay’ cases before the European and English courts.
Other key lawyers:
Sam Szlezinger; Alexandra Kamerling
‘Experienced team of competition litigators; creative and energetic; focused client service. Usually put together teams involving competition specialists and litigators working side by side.’
‘Sarah Smith – highly experienced specialist.‘
Stanton Bonna / Consolis Group
- Advising Merck KGaA on its appeals of the CMA’s paroxetine decision and the European Commission’s citalopram decision.
- Acting for Lupin in its appeal against the Commission’s antitrust decision in the perindopril investigation.
- Acting for Stanton Bonna and its parent group, Consolis, in connection with the criminal cartel case against its former CEO.
Milbank's 'very good litigation team' acts for large companies as defendants in disputes relating to high-profile cartel investigations. Julian Stait's recent work included representing Visa in all of its disputes relating to interchange fees. Special counsels Emma Hogwood and Cormac Alexander are other key team members.
Other key lawyers:
Emma Hogwood; Cormac Alexander
‘Fantastic firm, with litigation department headed by Julian Stait, one of the strongest players in the big-ticket commercial litigation space. Currently managing the Visa interchange litigation, which involves hundreds of claims and multiple live proceedings, worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Adds enormous value to any team. His team of associates are extremely accomplished, with standouts Emma Hogwood and Cormac Alexander, both of whom are an absolute delight to work with.‘
‘They have strong trial experience and are a very good litigation team.’
‘Julian Stait is a very impressive individual and runs a strong team. Cormac Alexander and Emma Hogwood are stand out associates.‘
Brugg Kabel AG and Kabelwerke Brugg AG Holding
- Acting for Visa in defending proceedings brought by Sainsbury’s alleging infringements of English and European competition law.
- Acting for Rabobank in defending competition and fraud claims brought in the English High Court by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
- Acting for Visa in defending claims pursued by a large group of claimants in the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
RPC's group operates on a cross-practice basis and assists clients with a range of follow-on claims, regulatory challenges and abuse of dominance proceedings. The team received a number of significant new instructions in 2020, most notably from Google, which it is assisting with defending a claim brought by Epic Games. Lambros Kilaniotis leads the competition team, advising on both contentious and non-contentious issues.
Other key lawyers:
Catherine Percy; Chris Ross; Melanie Musgrave
‘RPC are able to field an excellent team for competition litigation. They are able to combine well their competition expertise and general disputes expertise to great effect.’
‘Lambros Kilianotis is an excellent competition litigator.’
Frasers Group plc
NHS Scotland & DHSSPS and RHSCB in Northern Ireland
Soft Construct (Malta)
- Advising Google on the defence of the claim brought by Epic Games against both Google and Apple.
- Acting for NHS bodies, NHS Scotland and DHSSPS & RHSCB, in an action for damages against Servier, the manufacturer of the Perindopril cardiovascular drug.
- Advising Telefonica UK on their competition damages claim following the European Commission’s cartel decision in relation to the supply of smart card chips.