Competition litigation in London
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP handles claims brought on a standalone basis, as well as claims arising out of findings by the regulatory authorities confirming the occurrence of competition law infringements. Headed up by global practice co-chair Mark Sansom, the team represents defendants in high-value cases closely followed by the market. One such notable representation concerns the team’s work for MasterCard on the Walter Merricks v MasterCard case, a consumer class action concerning interchange fees charged by the defendant and by banks. At the time of writing, the team is pursuing action at the Supreme Court level by seeking permission to appeal a judgement handed down by the Court of Appeal in April 2019. Another highlight is the BritNed v ABB case, in which the group acts for ABB in relation to a cartel in the market for high-voltage submarine and underground power cable projects. Bea Tormey is another standout figure on the team.
Other key lawyers:
London and South Eastern Railway
- Acting for London and South Eastern Railway on the ‘rail tickets’ collective action before the Competition Appeal Tribunal, alleging abuse of a dominant position by the client.
- Acting for defendant MasterCard on an opt-out class action concerning interchange fees, brought under the newly established regime under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
- Defending ABB in follow-on damages proceedings brought by BritNed, a joint venture between transmission system operators National Grid and TenneT, in relation to the power cables cartel.
Known for its ‘pioneering work’ in the claimant space, Hausfeld & Co LLP’s ‘amazing’ team has a successful track record negotiating settlements for its clients. With a stable foothold across Europe as well as the US, the firm has attracted praise due to its wide market reach in the sphere of private competition law enforcement. The team has continued to build on its strong market position, with multiple new instructions from clients in the transport, automotive and retail sectors. In one transport-focused highlight, a team being led by Anna Morfey is handling a collective opt-out claim for £93m against rail companies at the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Anthony Maton and Lesley Hannah led on representing claimants in long-running air cargo cartel proceedings in the High Court and the Court of Appeal, with Maton also demonstrating his ‘excellent leadership skills’ advising on the MasterCard interchange fees litigation. Scott Campbell heads the department, which continues to represent a group of truck purchasers in the Competition Appeal Tribunal. The team has experienced recent growth through the appointment of partner Lucy Pert and counsel Luke Streatfeild , who joined from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP and Allen & Overy LLP, respectively. Clients in the automotive sector turn to Laurent Geelhand for expert-level assistance. Wessen Jazrawi and Nicola Boyle are also highly recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Hausfeld has unique experience and expertise within the private enforcement area’
‘Hausfeld’s global footprint gives the London team a particular insight into worldwide cartel damages actions, which the team combines with hard-to-beat expertise ’
‘The team has unrivaled breadth of experience in handling competition damages cases on the claimant side’
‘The team’s contacts within the third-party funding industry are extremely useful’
‘The group has unique experience in large-scale, complex multi-jurisdictional litigation’
‘Anthony Maton remains the driving force and genius loci of the London office. He has an innovative, creative mind and is excellent at progressing strategies and securing positive outcomes for his clients’
‘Anna Morfey is an excellent tactician, who really understands which points to press during litigation proceedings’
‘Scott Campbell adopts a strong pragmatic approach to issues that arise within litigation’
‘Nicola Boyle is amazing and great at leading a team’
Air cargo cartel group litigants
Interchange fees group litigants
Trucks cartel group litigants
- Brought a claim on behalf of a multinational automotive company against five companies before the Competition Appeal Tribunal; the action follows from the automotive bearings cartel decision taken by the European Commission (EC).
- Brought a claim on behalf of a multinational automobile company in relation to the maritime car carriers cartel .
- Representing vertical search engine Infederation (trading as Foundem), the first company to bring Google’s search practices to the attention of both the EC and the US Federal Trade Commission.
- Acting for a significant group of truck purchasers, including Veolia, which are pursuing claims against the trucks Original Equipment Manufacturers at the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
- Represented the Dutch Transport Association pursuing claims against Dutch truck manufacturers.
At Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, the ‘top-class’ competition litigation team operates as an integral part of the wider competition, regulation and trade team. The group also draws upon the expertise of the firm’s QC-led dispute resolution practice. This makes the firm a preferred destination for clients seeking to receive simultaneous assistance with both contentious and non-contentious matters from competition litigators and solicitor advocates. The department’s experience covers the full spectrum of litigation work, including follow-on private damages actions, challenging merger decisions, forming defence strategies, and securing settlements for clients. Yet another standout feature of the team is its strong expertise in the regulated markets space, which includes regulatory work in the sectors of telecoms, energy and transport. Regularly engaged in cross-border litigation, the department is also well-positioned to handle issues across the EU and in the Asia-Pacific. A team led by ‘phenomenal’ practice co-head Kim Dietzel and James Farrell continues to advise Iveco and Fiat Chrysler on their pan-European defence in proceedings resulting from the European Commission’s trucks investigation. The ‘incredible’ Stephen Wisking also heads the department and handles multiple regulatory appeals and private enforcement proceedings; Wisking’s recent work highlights include defending Google in High Court proceedings seeking damages for abuse of dominance, among others.
Stephen Wisking; Kim Dietzel
Other key lawyers:
‘Highly knowledgeable partners who understand the law and are great at determining the litigation strategy; the team is also strong at associate level‘
‘The team cannot be beaten in terms of depth of knowledge of the telecoms industry‘
‘A competition law team of very bright individuals, which is one of the best in the City‘
‘Kim Dietzel has an excellent understanding of the law, coupled with an ability to navigate and exert influence during multi-party litigation’
‘Stephen Wisking is immensely knowledgeable and always exercises sound judgement in evaluating his clients’ arguments’
‘Stephen Wisking combines intellectual excellence with many years of experience’
Virgin Atlantic Airways
- Advising Tesco on defence of equal pay claims brought on behalf of past and current store colleagues.
- Assisting Google with its appeal against a decision taken by the European Commission, finding that Google has abused its dominant position in the markets for general internet search services, licensable smart mobile operating systems and app stores for the Android mobile operating system.
- Acted for Sky as an interested party in relation to an action for judicial review brought by Avaaz.
Hogan Lovells International LLP’s established presence globally and in Europe allows its competition litigation team to operate seamlessly in handling high-profile, cross-border matters. It is worthy of note that the group has a particularly strong foothold in Germany and the Netherlands, and the London-based department often operates in conjunction with teams based in these jurisdictions. While the team has attracted praise for recent work in the aviation sector, it also has notable strengths in multiple other sectors including financial services, telecoms, energy, manufacturing, and technology. ‘Excellent litigator’ Nicholas Heaton heads the department, where counsel Paul Chaplin and Christopher Hutton are also recommended. Heaton led the team on successfully representing Air Canada in an appeal against the European Commission's air cargo cartel decision, while Chaplin led on acting for Korean Air in proceedings arising from the same decision.
‘A high-calibre, highly experienced team with in-depth knowledge of competition law’
‘Excellent experience in contentious competition work’
‘The team has the unique ability to distill practical advice and explain it clearly to clients unfamiliar with the intricacies of the challenging area of competition law’
‘The firm’s familiarity with the aviation industry is a valuable asset’
‘Paul Chaplin is calm and thoughtful. He is a lawyer who is always on top of the case’s details but is also able to see the big picture’
‘Nick Heaton is an excellent litigator who will climb every mountain and turn over every stone in order to achieve the best result for his clients. He is undoubtedly one of the market leaders when it comes to competition law damages actions’
British American Tobacco
- Advising airlines Air Canada and Korean Air on multiple cross-border damages claims arising as a result of the European Commission’s air cargo decisions.
- Acting for Safran on a series of High Court damages actions, brought as a result of the European Commission’s cartel investigation into the power cables cartel and the subsequent imposition of over €300m-worth of fines on 11 producers of power cables (including Safran).
- Representing longstanding client British American Tobacco in bringing damages claims, counterclaims, criminal actions and constitutional claims; the client’s claims stem from damages claims brought by local producers Tbilisi Tobacco and Omega Tobacco in Georgia.
Slaughter and May’s cross-practice competition litigation group draws upon the expertise of the firm’s dispute resolution and competition departments. Work spans the full range of litigation and includes damages actions at all levels of the UK judicial system, cross-border contentious work coming in through the group’s ‘best friends’ network, regulatory appeals and judicial review proceedings. In the follow-on damages space, the team advises clients on actions arising as a result of a number of high-profile cartel investigations by authorities in the trucks, air cargo, smartcards, glass manufacturing, and other industries. Prominent in this respect is the team’s assistance to defendant British Airways during the air cargo multi-party litigation before the English, Dutch and German courts. Another notable highlight is acting for truck manufacturer MAN on multiple damages actions, following the European Commission’s truck cartel investigation. Richard Swallow leads the practice, where Jonathan Clark and recently promoted partners Camilla Sanger and Holly Ware are also noted.
‘Outstanding team because of the combination of excellent general litigators with specialist competition law know-how.’
‘They adopt a practical, strategic approach, which safeguards the client’s real interests, rather than getting carried away with too-clever-by-half competition law arguments adopted by some other law firms.’
‘Slaughter and May undoubtedly now boast one of the top competition litigation practices in the London market. They have real strength and depth at both partner and associate level.’
‘Slaughter and May has a star team of very bright lawyers, who are able to handle the most complicated cases.’
‘Richard Swallow has a very deep experience of competition litigation; a thoughtful strategist.’
‘Sarah Lee brings depths of practical common sense to even the most knotty problems. The partner anyone would want to have on hand in a crisis.’
‘Holly Ware is a rising star in the department. Highly organised, incisive and practical – a delightful individual.’
‘Philippe Chappatte is hugely experienced and delightfully charming.’
‘Isabel Taylor is amazing: super-precise lawyering; definitely someone I’d pay to have on my side if I had ‘must-win’ competition litigation on my plate.’
‘Richard Swallow and Sarah Lee are the king and queen of the court in Slaughter’s superb competition litigation team. Behind them sit a raft of formidable younger partners including the brilliant Damian Taylor and meticulous and excellent Holly Ware.’
‘Lisa Wright has great experience in market investigations.’
‘Excellent associates Leo Kitchen and Thomas Clarke are obvious future stars.’
‘Richard Swallow is a very good competition litigator and has worked on many high profile cases.’
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
First MTR South Western Trains
- Advising Philips on damages claims following the European Commission’s CRT and CRT glass cartel decisions.
- Defending Google against standalone claim alleging abuse of a dominant position brought by Unlockd.
- Advising Gallaher on a judicial review claim against the Competition and Markets Authority.
- Advising American Express Services Europe on two sets of judicial review proceedings concerning the Interchange Fees Regulation, including proceedings before the Court of Justice of the European Union.
- Advising Vodafone on its intervention in KPN’s appeal before the General Court against the European Commission’s clearance decision concerning the Dutch joint venture between Vodafone and Liberty Global.
Representing primarily defendants, Allen & Overy LLP’s client base includes multinational companies and banks as well as public-sector clients such as governments and governmental bodies. The team stands out for its wider expertise in areas such as litigation, intellectual property, and financial services. One distinguishing characteristic of the group is its strong presence in the financial sector, where the team is advising Citibank on various private enforcement actions taken as a result of the European Commission’s foreign exchange markets investigation. Antitrust private damages actions are a steady source of work for the team; ‘strong litigator’ Jonathan Hitchin often takes the lead in this regard. Clients have ‘the highest regard for the team’s wide-ranging expertise’, which covers other industries such as TMT and regulated sectors (particularly energy, water, rail, and air traffic control). Also recommended is Antonio Bavasso, who heads the global competition practice and is adept at handling media plurality issues. The team received a boost in April 2018, when criminal cartel specialist Eve Giles joined from Kingsley Napley LLP.
Mark Friend; Antonio Bavasso
Other key lawyers:
‘Team members are knowledgeable, resourceful, hard-working, and provide excellent service to clients‘
‘A top law firm in this field‘
‘Antonio Bavasso has a deep understanding of the law, but he is also innovative in utilising his knowledge‘
‘Jonathan Hitchin is a superb litigator with a growing reputation in competition litigation‘
21st Century Fox
441 Trust Company
- Assisting Micron Technology with handling a private damages claim, brought by the liquidators of multiple companies as a result of the European Commission’s settlement decision in its cartel case involving Dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) producers.
- Representing 441 Trust Company in proceedings challenging Visa’s default interchange fee, brought by certain UK and European retailers against Visa.
- Represented 21st Century Fox in judicial review proceedings brought by the Avaaz Foundation. The case appealed Ofcom’s ‘fit and proper’ decision relating to the proposed merger between Sky and 21st Century Fox.
- Acting for Scania, a leading Swedish truck manufacturer, on private damages actions brought in the aftermath of the European Commission’s heavy truck investigation.
- Defending Citibank UK against a claim brought by institutional investors in relation to the European Commission’s findings concerning a foreign exchange cartel.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP’s ‘highly effective’ competition litigation team acts for clients on both the claimant and the defendant sides. The group has an increasing focus on advising financial institutions, whose main point of contact is global department head Andrew Hockley. The practice also has specialist expertise in the utilities and regulated sectors, where one notable work highlight concerns legal advice provided on cross-border claims arising out of the European Commission’s findings regarding the high-voltage power cables cartel. Led by Hockley and Edward Coulson in the High Court, the team is representing the Royal Mail in its high-profile claim against DAF Trucks, resulting from the defendant’s participation in the heavy-duty price-fixing truck cartel fined by the European Commission. The ‘excellent’ Coulson is highly praised by clients and focuses on multi-party litigation matters. Associate Andrew Leitch is also recommended for advice on disputes resulting from price-fixing cartels.
Edward Coulson; Andrew Hockley
Other key lawyers:
‘A knowledgable, dedicated and creative team of competition litigators, with particularly strong expertise in the follow-on damages space‘
‘A down-to-earth team, which is a pleasure to work with‘
‘Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner brings a top-tier competition litigation team, which not only gives outstanding legal advice, but is extremely flexible and commercial in getting the job done‘
‘Andrew Hockley is a strong team leader‘
‘Edward Coulson is calm, personable, practical and commercial. He is an excellent partner to work with on competition follow-on damages claims -highly engaged, has very good knowledge of the law, and is an efficient tactician‘
‘Andrew Leitch is tenacious, persistent and hardworking – clients need him in their corner‘
American International Group (AIG)
Royal Mail Group
Wood Group plc
- Representing the Royal Mail Group in bringing its £270m claim against DAF Trucks before the High Court; the claim concerns DAF’s participation in a price-fixing cartel in the market for medium and heavy trucks.
- Advising BT Group on its High Court claim against DAF Trucks in relation to DAF’s participation in a price-fixing cartel.
- Acting for National Grid on a £143m claim for damages incurred as a result of overcharges paid for the purchase of high-voltage power cables; the claim arises out of the European Commission’s power cables cartel decision.
- Advising a high-profile energy company on a £45m claim for damages incurred as a result of overcharges paid for the purchase of high-voltage power cables; the claim arises out of the European Commission’s power cables cartel decision.
- Advising Dawsongroup on its High Court claim against DAF Trucks, Mercedes/Daimler and Volvo/Renault in relation to their participation in a price-fixing cartel in the trucks market.
Clifford Chance LLP’s antitrust litigation department garners praise in the market for its ‘unrivalled ability to handle high-value and highly complex contentious matters’. The department’s strong litigation capabilities are evidenced by its work on investigations and damages claims relating to cartels and abuses of a dominant position. The ‘simply amazing’ Elizabeth Morony heads up the firm global antitrust litigation group and is advising multiple high-profile clients in the financial services sector. Luke Tolaini is adept at representing clients during regulatory investigations and contentious matters, placing a particular emphasis on the pharmaceutical industry. Examples include Tolaini's role leading an international team acting for Pfizer on its appeal before the Competition Appeal Tribunal against the CMA's decision regarding the client’s alleged abuse of dominance through excessive pricing of anticonvulsant drug phenytoin sodium capsules in the UK. Senior associate Ben Jasper is also recommended.
‘Clifford Chance is the ultimate one-stop shop for big-ticket litigation‘
‘Team members are capable and experienced, and have strong litigation expertise‘
‘Elizabeth Morony provides a very safe pair of hands‘
‘Luke Tolaini is a very seasoned and sophisticated lawyer, standing out for his in-depth insight into litigation that arises in connection with regulatory matters‘
‘Senior associate Ben Jasper is a star in the making‘
- Acted for Pfizer on its successful appeal against the CMA’s excessive pricing decision regarding the client’s alleged abuse of dominance by charging excessive prices for phenytoin sodium capsules.
- Acting for a bank in defence of a claim brought by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company on behalf of 39 closed US banks against a number of banks and the British Bankers’ Association.
- Acting for a bank in relation to the CMA’s investigation into suspected anti-competitive arrangements in the financial services sector.
- Acting for a defendant company in litigation relating to the CRT/CRT glass cartel fined by the European Commission.
- Representing Xellia Pharmaceuticals and Alpharma on its appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal against the CMA’s decision regarding the antidepressant paroxetine drug investigation.
Acting on the defence side, Linklaters LLP excels in handling complex multi-party litigation and represents clients in high-profile proceedings with implications for sectors such as financial services, technology, transport, and the utilities. The team has been defending Visa Europe against multiple damages actions relating to interchange fees brought by various retailers. Also notable is the group’s continued involvement in the longstanding air cargo cartel litigation, in which its acts for Air France-KLM. Tom Cassels heads the competition litigation department, where counsel Elizabeth Jordan is also highly recommended. Another key contact is Sir Christopher Bellamy, who leads the firm’s global competition group.
‘Linklaters’ litigation team delivers top-quality services, combining strong expertise with ambition to resolve its clients’ issues‘
‘The team can act effectively in complex litigation‘
‘Team members score highly on all counts – strategic input, outstanding response time, and ensuring that every strategic angle is explored and evaluated‘
‘Tom Cassels is a highly experienced litigator and has a shrewd approach that inspires client confidence. He is truly dedicated to ensuring his clients’ best interests are protected‘
‘Elizabeth Jordan is a standout. Highly regarded and astute in handling tactical issues, she’s amazing and easy to work with.’
Goldman Sachs Group
- Instructed to represent Air France-KLM in follow-on damages proceedings regarding air freight surcharges.
- Representing Kelkoo in pursuing its high-profile claim against Google. The claim seeks damages for Google’s alleged abuse of a dominant position in relation to online search and search advertising.
- Advising Thames Water and Anglian Water on their Ofwat price control review.
- Advising HgCapital in relation to the CMA’s ongoing investigation into its involvement in an abuse of dominance case regarding excessive pricing in the pharmaceutical sector.
- Advising the Goldman Sachs Group in relation to contribution proceedings brought by Prysmian S.p.A. & Ors , a former company which was a part of Goldman Sachs’ merchant bank portfolio .
Acting primarily on the claimant side, Mishcon de Reya LLP has carved out a significant reputation based on its extensive experience bringing high-profile competition damages claims. An area of recent uptick for the competition litigation department is defending clients against allegations of abuse of a dominant position. The group has a successful track record handling precedent-setting cases; for example representing Sainsbury's Supermarkets in a claim against MasterCard in the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, with a further set of proceedings scheduled for a hearing at the Supreme Court in 2020. Practice head Rob Murray, Sarah Houghton and managing associate Natasha Pearman are recommended. The team is growing, with March 2019 seeing Neil Baylis join from K&L Gates LLP.
‘A go-to firm for work in the claimant space‘
‘A strong competition department with an impressive array of clients and notable recent victories‘
‘An excellent approach to case management, coupled with a great strategic approach to litigation‘
‘Rob Murray has an excellent strategic vision and knowledge of the industry‘
‘Sarah Houghton has phenomenal organisational skills, which make her a great team leader in litigation matters‘
Harbour Litigation Funding
MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group
John Lewis & Partners
Esso Petroleum Company
- Represented Microsoft Corporation in bringing a cartel damages claim against Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Sanyo and LG Chem; the claim arose as a result of a global cartel affecting batteries used in various products, including mobile phones.
- Represented Sainsbury’s Supermarkets in bringing a claim concerning the recovery of interchange fees against MasterCard at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, recovering £70m in damages for Sainsbury’s.
- Advised Balmoral Tanks and Balmoral Group Holdings on appeals to the CAT and the Court of Appeal following the CMA’s decision in 2016, which set a precedent for liability arising out of information exchange occurring at a one-off meeting.
- Advising Media-Saturn-Holding on its follow-on claim against Panasonic and Toshiba in the High Court relating to the cathode ray tube cartel.
- Acting on instruction by Esso Petroleum Company to bring claims concerning interchange fees against MasterCard and Visa before the High Court.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP represents a wide-ranging roster of both claimants and defendants in cases at the UK High Court and the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Recent work highlights the firm's strength in litigation in the financial services industry, which is a particular area of focus for department co-chair Kate Vernon. The team is also adept at advising clients in the automotive sector, where practice co-head Boris Bronfentrinker led a team on the defence of key client Daimler AG in a UK truck cartel suit. The practice expanded its offering in April 2019, when Elaine Whiteford joined from Covington & Burling LLP; Whitford has significant experience in follow-on damages litigation, cartels and regulatory investigations. Nicola Chesaites is also noted.
Boris Bronfentrinker; Kate Vernon
‘Outstanding breadth of knowledge, coupled with a refreshing commitment to exploring all possible courses of action’
‘Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has one of the most notable antitrust litigation practices on the claimant side’
‘A rapidly growing team handling a number of headline matters exceptionally well’
‘Boris Bronfentrinker is tenacious and energetic’
‘Very thoughtful, Kate Vernon is highly skilled at working on multinational cases and coordinating multiple teams’
Mercedes-Benz Cars UK
Swedish State Pension Funds
Allianz Global Investors
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Walter Merricks CBE
- Acting for Daimler and Mercedes-Benz Cars United Kingdom in relation to follow-on damages claims, including collective actions, brought against truck manufacturers in the High Court and the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
- Acting for class representative Walter Merricks CBE on a follow-on action against Mastercard, seeking damages on behalf of 46 million UK consumers in respect of interchange fees charged by the defendant.
- Advising Qualcomm on a global dispute with Apple involving several actions worldwide; the dispute concerns allegations of abuse of dominance by the client.
- Representing multiple asset managers, hedge funds and state pension funds in a standalone competition damages claim against seven large banks in respect of the alleged manipulation of the foreign exchange market.
Stewarts Law LLP focuses on high-profile clients on the claimant side and has extensive experience, particularly in relation to competition law infringements such as cartels and abuses of a dominant position. A key differentiator setting the practice apart is the presence of an in-house economist, which gives the team a competitive edge when it comes to performing technical tasks such as quantification of antitrust harm incurred by clients. Also of importance is the firm’s ability to secure funding arrangements for clients due to its strong relationship with litigation funders. The practice is led by Kate Pollock, who successfully represented Asda Stores, Home Retail Group and Wm Morrison Supermarkets as claimants in an interchange fee case brought against MasterCard before the Court of Appeal. Anna Crellin is also noted.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is composed of experienced experts who take a highly innovative approach and are great at what they do’
‘The Stewarts team has made a well-deserved reputation for itself in competition litigation’
‘A great firm for claimant work’
‘The team stands out for its breadth as well as depth of knowledge’
‘Kate Pollock is immensely smart and experienced – a real standout on the market. She inspires confidence in clients, loyalty in co-workers and admiration in opponents’
Home Retail Group
Wm Morrison Supermarkets
Marks & Spencer Group
- Successfully represented claimants Asda Stores, Home Retail Group and Wm Morrison Supermarkets in the Court of Appeal against MasterCard in relation to the excessive charging of interchange fees.
- Acting for iiyama on a LCD cartel damages claim brought against Samsung Electronics.
- Representing Swedish state-owned power company Vattenfall in bringing a high-voltage power cable cartel claim against Prysmian & Ors.
- Acting for Marks & Spencer on an interchange fees claim against MasterCard.
- Acting for Ingram Micro on a LCD cartel damages claim against Samsung Electronics.
Ashurst acts for both claimants and defendants in national and international courts in the UK and across Europe. The team handles a large volume of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) matters, which prohibits cartels, and advises clients on multiple issues in the trucks, automotive, pharmaceutical and financial sectors, among others. The group is also adept at advising on abuse of dominance proceedings under Article 102 TFEU, with a team led by Nigel Parr acting for Intel on an abuse of dominance case at the EU General Court. Euan Burrows heads the department, where Duncan Liddell is also a key figure.
- Acting for Intel on the remittal to the EU General Court following its successful appeal of the General Court’s decision to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice, which found that Intel had abused its dominant position in the supply of microchips (central processing units).
- Advising Pirelli on issues relating to the European Commission’s decision concerning the power cables cartel.
- Acting for London Underground on its defence of three claims in the High Court concerning the award of a contract to supply new rolling stock for the Piccadilly, Central, Bakerloo and Waterloo & City Lines.
One feature setting Bristows LLP’s competition and regulatory department apart from other firms is its ability to advise on issues at the junction between intellectual property and competition law. This specialism makes the firm a desired destination for a growing number of clients in the area of standardised technologies, as well as in the telecoms, pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors. Due to its newly opened office in Brussels, the team has improved its position to represent clients in competition law cases at EU level. Practice head Pat Treacy was appointed a Deputy Judge of the High Court in September 2018. Sophie Lawrance is also highly recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Bristows is a go-to firm for competition law in the UK, especially when it comes to matters regarding patent litigation such as fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (Frand) issues‘
‘Bristows’ team is excellent in all areas of competition law, but it barely has a rival in issues at the interface between competition and intellectual property‘
‘Pat Treacy and Sophie Lawrence are both excellent and strong at handling IP-related matters crossing over with competition law; together they make an outstanding team‘
‘Sophie Lawrence is multilingual, highly dedicated, extraordinarily smart, and a team player who is very easy to work with‘
Sound United (Denon & Marantz Europe)
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
British Brands Group
Chugai Pharmaceutical Co.
- Defending Philips against allegations of anti-competitive conduct, seeking declarations from the Court about fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (Frand) terms and the application of Article 102 TFEU.
- Instructed alongside the patent litigation team to represent Chinese technology company ZTE Corporation in defending itself against claims by Conversant Wireless Licensing.
- Defending Google against a High Court action brought by online price comparison site Foundem.
- Assisting IPCom with launching proceedings seeking a Frand declaration against Vodafone.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton operates seamlessly Europe-wide and provides legal assistance to both claimants and defendants. The department’s client base is varied and includes large corporations, governments and financial institutions. Team members have significant experience in behavioural investigations: a team is advising Google on its appeals before the EU General Court seeking to challenge the European Commission’s decisions alleging an abuse of dominance by Google. The firm also advises clients in follow-on damages claims, with sectors of focus in this space including the transport, technology and automotive industries, among others. The team is representing LG Display in proceedings brought by iiyama seeking damages resulting from alleged infringements in the LCD market. Other notable clients are “K” Line, Nvidia, and NSK.
Jonathan Kelly; Sunil Gadhia; Romano Subiotto
- Representing Google in its appeal at the EU General Court; the appeal is against the European Commission’s decision regarding Google’s alleged abuse of its dominant position in the market for online general internet search.
- Acting for LG Display (as one of multiple defendants) on a claim by iiyama in the High Court for damages arising out of competition law infringements on the LCD market.
- Defending “K” Line, a Japanese transportation company, against claims brought by car manufacturer Daimler AG before the High Court for damages arising out of competition law infringements in the maritime car carriers sector.
- Defending NSK, a manufacturer of automotive bearings, against a claim brought by Peugeot before the Competition Appeal Tribunal for damages arising out of the European Commission’s automotive bearings decision.
- Representing Lundbeck in an appeal before the EU General Court against the EU Commission’s €94m fine in an Article 101 TFEU investigation concerning the legality of reverse payment settlement agreements.
DLA Piper’s EU and competition team works closely with the firm’s corporate, litigation and arbitration departments. The group is active on the competition law enforcement front and assists clients with appeals against high-profile investigations, among other matters. The team has strong experience in the pharmaceutical sector, amongst others. Led by ‘strategic thinker’ Sarah Smith, a team is acting for Indian pharmaceutical company Lupin on its appeal of the European Commission's decision in the perindopril (medication used to control high blood pressure) investigation. Another significant highlight involves the London- and Brussels- based teams collaborating on the representation of Merck in its ongoing appeal against the European Commission's decision in its citalopram (an antidepressant) investigation. Alexandra Kamerling and Sam Szlezinger are also recommended.
Sam Szlezinger; Alexandra Kamerling; Sarah Smith
‘DLA Piper has an excellent reputation in the competition litigation space and is particularly strong on the defence side‘
‘The team has strong antitrust expertise in the pharmaceutical sector‘
‘Sarah Smith is thoughtful, aware of all relevant developments, and provides advice which is on-point and tailored to the needs of the client. She has excellent technical knowledge, a sharp mind and is also delightful to work with‘
- Acting for Merck on its appeal in the Court of Justice against the Commission’s decision in its citalopram investigation.
- Acting for Merck on its ongoing appeal in the Competition Appeal Tribunal against the CMA’s antitrust decision in its paroxetine investigation. The matter is currently pending before the Court of Justice, following a reference concerning matters of EU law.
- Acting for Lupin on its long-running appeals against the European Commission’s antitrust decision in the perindopril investigation.
- Represented Zenimax in its response to a competition law investigation by the European Commission .
Macfarlanes LLP represents clients before multiple judicial and regulatory bodies in the UK and across the EU. The group handles standalone and follow-on damages actions for both claimants and defendants. While the growing team is very active across many industries, particular sectors of interest include financial services, pharmaceuticals, broadcasting, manufacturing, retail, and gambling. Of particular note in the pharmaceutical space, Cameron Firth successfully led a team on securing a victory for Flynn Pharma before the Competition Appeal Tribunal in a case relating to the CMA’s first unfair pricing decision.
Other key lawyers:
Hain Celestial Group/ Hain Daniels
Royal Bank of Scotland
Associated British Foods
Hogg Robinson Group
Oaktree Capital Management
Phonographic Performance Limited
PRS for Music
Blue Star (ChemChina)
- Advised Flynn Pharma on its appeal against the CMA’s unfair pricing decision, according to which the CMA found Flynn to have charged unfair prices.
- Defending Prysmian, the world leader in the cable manufacturing, energy solutions, telecom cables and systems industry, against multiple sets of damages claims.
- Defended AB SKF against a follow-on damages claim brought before the Competition Appeal Tribunal by Peugeot.
- Represented Qantas Airways in the long-running airfreight litigation before UK courts.
- Instructed by the Royal Bank of Scotland on a follow-on damages action in relation to alleged manipulation in the foreign exchange markets.
At Norton Rose Fulbright, the antitrust and competition team assists both claimants and defendants with proceedings before multiple courts and regulatory bodies at the UK and EU level. The group advises on follow-on damages claims, complex litigation strategy, and contentious regulatory matters. The department’s work in the energy sector is of particular note - it is handling multiple appeals before the CMA and is increasingly attracting new mandates in the same space. Team members have expertise in the mobile telecoms sector as well. Led by practice co-heads Peter Scott and Mark Simpson, a team is representing a large telecoms company in bringing damages claims against smart-chip producers before the High Court.
Peter Scott; Mark Simpson
‘The team has a brilliant work ethic and is also friendly and easy to work with’
‘Leaders in regulatory litigation in the energy sector’
‘Norton Rose Fulbright’s strength lies in its profound commitment to clients and in adequately responding to their needs’
‘The combination of Peter Scott and Mark Simpson, who are true experts and experienced competition lawyers, is exceptional’
‘Peter Scott has vast experience of competition law, coupled with fantastic soft skills. He is focused on getting the right result for the client, but also tries to take the long view rather than pursuing short-term advantage over long-term gain’
- Representing a large telecoms company in claiming damages following on from a European Commission infringement decision concerning smart chips.
- Successfully advised Northern Ireland electricity transmission system operator Soni on a price control appeal to the CMA.
In addition to advising its varied client base on contentious matters at UK level, Pinsent Masons LLP also handles cases before the EU General Court and the Court of Justice. Acting primarily on the defence side, the team adopts a holistic approach towards litigation by collaborating with other departments at the firm. Recent work highlights for the team, which is led by Alan Davis, include follow-on damages claims of a high-profile nature. In May 2019, The firm expanded its offering with the hire of the well-regarded Robert Vidal from Taylor Wessing LLP. It had previously seen Ben Lasserson leave to become a partner at Strange & Butler UK LLP in 2018.
Other key lawyers:
Simmons & Simmons’s 'excellent' dispute resolution team has significant antitrust litigation experience in acting for both claimants and defendants. Led by Charles Bankes, the London-based department operates seamlessly as a part of the wider European antitrust litigation group. One key highlight is the team’s defence of LG Electronics against a €660m cartel damages claim in relation to cathode ray tubes, brought by iiyama. Team members also have expertise in the financial services, energy and pharmaceutical sectors.
Other key lawyers:
Patrick Boylan; Chris Owen
‘Charles Bankes and Patrick Boylan are knowledgeable and responsive’
‘Simmons &Simmons has a very fine competition litigation department which is efficient and dedicated’
‘Team members are savvy, efficient and highly effective. Their strengths are cutting to the chase and devising a litigation strategy that fulfils clients’ aims’
‘Patrick Boylan is an excellent commercial litigator and has specialist expertise in competition litigation’
‘Truly dedicated to his clients’ needs, Charles Bankes has immense experience in competition law, where he exercises excellent judgement. He is an experienced competition lawyer, a shrewd tactician and a solicitor who is adored by clients
‘Chris Owen is an excellent litigator and is bound for greatness’
NYX Gaming Group
SK Hynix UK
- Acting for three LG Electronics entities on defending a €670m damages action relating to the European Commission cathode ray tube (CRT) cartel decision.
- Advised BP on two sets of proceedings against MasterCard and Visa on claims relating to competition law infringements concerning cross-border multilateral interchange fees.
- Defended SK Hynix in two sets of proceedings relating to the computer memory chip (DRAM) cartel.
- Defended NYX Gaming Group in conjunctive proceedings relating to underlying antitrust proceedings.
Travers Smith LLP’s 'formidable' cross-departmental competition litigation department has assisted clients with high-profile follow-on cartel litigation concerning smart card chips, automotive bearings, CRT glass, and trucks. One notable representation for the team includes an instruction by Japanese smart-chip manufacturer Renesas Electronics Corporation in relation to a high-value cartel damages claim brought against the client by Vodafone. The team is also very active in other industries such as shipping, financial services and the automotive sector. Practice co-heads Nigel Seay and Caroline Edwards are highly recommended.
Nigel Seay; Caroline Edwards
Other key lawyers:
‘Travers Smith’s dispute resolution team is formidable, professional and highly experienced‘
‘Uniquely positioned as a truly independent firm with a star reputation‘
‘Capable of handling an enormous workload‘
‘Caroline Edwards is bright and very perceptive; she identifies issues at an early stage and develops efficient strategies to deal with them‘
‘Nigel Seay stands out as a hugely experienced competition law litigator with immense ability; he is tactically astute and always acts in the best interests of his clients‘
‘Clearly a future star, Heather Gagen is rapidly gaining prominence in the field of competition litigation‘
Renesas Electronics Corporation
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics
- Advising members of Renesas Electronics Corporation on a significant cartel damages claim brought against it by Vodafone.
- Instructed by leading shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics in respect of proceedings brought against it before the English courts by Daimler AG, following the European Commission’s decision regarding the supply of roll-on, roll-off vehicle shipping services.
- Advised Wireless Group, owned by News Corporation, on a significant competition complaint to broadcasting regulator Ofcom about the BBC’s alleged anti-competitive approach to purchasing radio commentary rights for major sports events.
White & Case LLP acts on multiple follow-on damages claims arising out of high-profile cartel proceedings. The competition litigation group works closely with the firm's wider competition team handling non-contentious competition law issues. Key highlights include advising a large manufacturing company on its appeal to the European Court of Justice, as well as acting for another manufacturer on follow-on damages claims in the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Charles Balmain has extensive experience handling competition damages actions before the English High Court and Competition Appeal Tribunal. Mark Powell, who splits his time between Brussels and London, and Marc Israel are also key figures on the team.
Marc Israel; Charles Balmain
Other key lawyers:
‘Partners are well supported by an excellent associate team‘
‘Charles Balmain is a very experienced competition litigator who achieves great results for his clients; he is friendly and exercises good judgment‘
- Acted as co-counsel on Pfizer’s appeal of the CMA’s decision regarding excessive pricing before the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
- Acting for a large manufacturer on damages claims and other threatened proceedings in the UK and other jurisdictions arising out of a cartel.
- Represented Servier in its appeal to the General Court against the European Commission’s decision concerning the drug perindopril.
- Acting for three entities of Toshiba Corporation on their defence of a High Court damages claim arising out of the decision of the European Commission in relation to TV and monitor tubes cartels.
Competition litigation is increasingly an area of focus for the team at Addleshaw Goddard, which acts for national and international clients in relation to a number of high-profile cartel investigations. Notably, the group advises claimant The Road Haulage Association on a collective proceedings order concerning the trucks cartel fined by the European Commission. The team also stands out for its particular strengths in handling matters regarding consumer protection, retail, financial services, and regulated sectors. ‘Highly experienced’ practice head Mark Molyneux is based in Manchester, while Bruce Kilpatrick heads the firm’s wider competition group.
Other key lawyers:
‘A team which is increasingly gaining recognition in the area of competition litigation‘
The Road Haulage Association
- Representing claimant The Road Haulage Association in collective proceedings to be brought before the Competition Appeal Tribunal. The proceedings arose out of the European Commission’s findings regarding a trucks cartel investigation.
- Acting for two of the addressees of the European Commission’s cartel decision regarding the supply of high-voltage power cables.
Led by global competition litigation head Francesca Richmond, the team at Baker McKenzie draws upon the expertise of the firm’s economics department. This additionally expands the scope of the department's offering in criminal and civil cartel matters, individual and class action litigation, predatory pricing matters, and contentious competition issues arising from corporate transactions. Assisting both claimants and defendants, the group is increasingly receiving instructions concerning cross-border matters. Keith Jones is also a key figure on the team.
Other key lawyers:
- Advised Unichem Laboratories and Niche Generics on an annulment action before the EU General Court in the Servier Laboratories patent settlement case. The case arose as a result of the Commission’s fining decision concerning patent settlements entered into by Servier and five competitor producers of generic drugs.
Gowling WLG handles contentious competition matters for both claimants and defendants. The group’s work highlights include cases at multiple levels - before the Competition Appeal Tribunal, the High Court, and the Court of Appeal. The team represented Dixons Carphone in bringing a damages claim against MasterCard; the claim followed on from the European Commission's findings concerning the payment card market and the legality of multilateral interchange fee rates applied by the defendant. Splitting time between the firm’s offices in London and Brussels, practice head Bernadine Adkins has extensive litigation experience, as well as particular expertise in cartel work and defending competition authorities’ enforcement actions.
Thai Airways International Public Company
- Advised Thai Airways on its defence and on the settlement of a high-value claim brought by British Airways; the claim arises from the European Commission’s infringement decisions fining an airfreight cartel.
- Advised BT on bringing and settling claims against various MasterCard entities; the claims concerned damages suffered as a result of MasterCard’s multilateral interchange fee rates.
- Advising Dixons Carphone on £125m claims for damages brought against MasterCard and Visa as a result of the European Commission’s findings regarding the multilateral interchange fee rates.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP acts for both claimants and defendants. The group secured a victory for Sainsbury’s supermarkets against Visa at the Court of Appeal; the case concerns interchange fees and is currently pending before the Supreme Court. The team's representation of Concordia marked yet another success, with the High Court ruling in favour of the client's challenge to the CMA’s dawn raid warrant. The practice is adept at handling behavioural matters in the follow-on litigation space, in which it is advising 22 railway companies on bringing claims against Visa and MasterCard for the defendants' anti-competitive practices relating to their debit and credit cards. Frances Murphy heads the department, where Omar Shah and recently promoted partner Joanna Christoforou are also key figures.
‘The team is particularly good for competition litigation, where the stakes are high and the demands are intense‘
‘Frances Murphy is great— her advice is always simple, direct and practical‘
‘Frances Murphy sees the bigger picture and works with resilience and dedication; she retains her good sense of humour even during stressful trial situations‘
Procter & Gamble
The London Metal Exchange
Court Square Capital Partners
Sumitomo Corporation of Americas
JUUL Labs UK
- Successfully represented British retailer Sainsbury’s in securing a reversal of a High Court ruling. The Court of Appeal ruled that the imposition by Visa and MasterCard of multilateral interchange fees was an unlawful restriction of competition that infringed EU antitrust rules.
- Leading Concordia’s defence on eight separate investigations by the CMA.
- Representing McDonald’s Restaurants in bringing claims regarding payment schemes against Visa and MasterCard before the High Court.
- Representing 22 railway companies in bringing claims regarding payment schemes against Visa and MasterCard before the High Court.
- Acting for General Cable Corporation and Silec Cable SAS as third-party defendants in two follow-on actions in the High Court relating to high-voltage power cables.
Acting on both the claimant and the defendant side, RPC’s cross-practice competition litigation team has extensive experience advising on follow-on damages actions concerning food packaging, heavy-duty trucks, and interchange fees. The team has attracted praise by clients for its work in the pharmaceutical sector (which is a particular field of expertise for Catherine Percy), but also acts in the telecoms, insurance, and retail sectors. Lambros Kilaniotis advises on both contentious and non-contentious matters and heads the practice, where Chris Ross is another key figure.
‘The team at RPC stands out due to the intelligence of its members and the good judgement which they exercise’
‘A smaller practice that punches above its weight’
‘The team has in-depth expertise in the pharmaceutical sector’
‘Lambros Kilaniotis possesses a wealth of technical knowledge and is a good tactician’
‘Catherine Percy is an experienced litigator’
‘Lambros Kilaniotis and Chris Ross provide highly reliable advice and are a pleasure to work with’
Sports Direct International
The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
- Representing NHS bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland in competition damages actions brought against Servier, the manufacturer of the perindopril drug.
Scott + Scott
Scott + Scott acts for high-profile corporate clients on follow-on damages claims brought before the UK High Court, the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal. Led by department head Belinda Hollway, the London-based department also plays a coordinating role in relation to claims involving multiple jurisdictions. The team is acting on a recent instruction before the CAT, assisting Michael O’Higgins, former chair of the UK's Pensions Regulator, with bringing an opt-out class action lawsuit against multiple banks for breaches of competition law. The high-profile $1bn claim follows on from the European Commission's decision to fine five banks for their illegal exchange rate collusion.
- Acting for Michael O’Higgins in opt-out collective action proceedings against Barclays, Citibank, Royal Bank of Scotland, JPMorgan and UBS. the claim is brought under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and follows on from competition law infringements by the banks on the foreign exchange market.
Winston & Strawn LLP represents defendants in proceedings relating to cartels and merger control issues. Practice head Peter Crowther splits his time between the firm’s offices in London and Brussels. In one notable work highlight, the team is advising Hitachi Metals on its appeal to the General Court against the European Commission’s power cables cartel decision. Other sectors of focus for the group include broadcasting, pharmaceuticals, commodity products, petrochemicals, and telecoms.
Liberty Specialty Markets
Apollo Syndicate Management
- Represented Hitachi Metals in its appeal to the EU General Court against the European Commission’s decision following the power cables cartel investigation.