Competition litigation in London
Hausfeld & Co LLP garners praise as ‘the leading competition litigation firm acting on the claimant side’. It excels in antitrust damages claims at UK and European level. The London-based group is increasingly present in the courts in the Netherlands, France and Spain, where it often works with local litigators. In a significant development, Scott Campbell was appointed as the head of the competition disputes department in October 2019. The team also includes London managing partner Anthony Maton, who is seen as ‘a trailblazer’ in the area of private competition law enforcement in the UK. Lesley Hannah, who is particularly prominent in the technology sector, ‘combines a great eye for detail with strategic and tactical vision for each case’. The ‘very able, pleasant, diligent and commercial’ Anna Morfey specialises in claims arising from alleged cartels in the trucks and the automotive industries. Nicola Boyle has had a leading role in pursuing claims on behalf of UK retailers against MasterCard and Visa in relation to unlawful interchange fees. Boyle and recently promoted partner Tom Bolster are also key contacts for multijurisdictional claims. In 2019, the group continued to expand, with there being a number of hires at counsel and associate level.
Other key lawyers:
‘In London, Hausfeld is the leading competition litigation firm acting on the claimant side. The team has over a decade of experience. The firm has offices elsewhere in Europe, which allows it to take a pan-European approach to managing claims.‘
‘This excellent team is very easy to work with – it combines tactical acumen with a very pleasant manner. We regard the team as the leading practice in Europe on the claimant side dealing with antitrust damages claims.‘
‘The team is hardworking and dedicated to securing a good outcome for its clients. It has a huge amount of experience in handling class action claims and understands the complexity of managing such litigation.‘
‘Anthony Maton is at the absolute top of his game.‘
‘The recruitment of Scott Campbell in 2017 was useful to the firm, as he brought a wealth of competition litigation experience with him.‘
‘Nicola Boyle is a very effective litigator and a diligent case manager, with a very good overall strategic vision.‘
‘Anna Morfey is very able, pleasant, diligent and commercial.‘
‘Lesley Hannah is an excellent lawyer, who combines a great eye for detail with strategic and tactical vision for each case.‘
Interchange fee group litigants
Trucks cartel group litigants
- Advised eight claimant corporate groups in three follow-on claims relating to the trucks cartel in the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
- Advised Foundem in relation to its intervention in support of the European Commission in Google’s appeal of the Google Shopping decision before the General Court of the European Union, as well as in relation to its claim for damages against Google in the English High Court.
- Acting for Phillip Evans as a proposed class representative in foreign exchange (FX) collective class actions brought against international banking groups before the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
Hogan Lovells International LLP is a top performer in handling follow-on and standalone damages claims. Market commentators praise practice head Nicholas Heaton for being ‘an amazing competition law practitioner’. Another key figure in the team is counsel Paul Chaplin, who has notable strengths in matters connected with sectors such as financial services and consumer goods. Complementing the strengths of the team in London is the wider global network; this is particularly evident in the area of global cartel investigations, where Chaplin and Christopher Hutton are the go-to contacts.
‘Nicholas Heaton is an amazing competition law practitioner.’
Slaughter and May
The ‘immensely skilled and experienced’ Richard Swallow leads Slaughter and May’s competition litigation group, which has ‘significant resources both at partner and associate level’, and offers ‘unrivalled quality and strength of engagement’. The team has accrued significant experience in standalone claims and significant follow-on damages actions in the High Court and the Competition Appeal Tribunal. The firm’s litigators are also noted for their work in multijurisdictional disputes, where they regularly appear with practitioners in the firm's ‘best friends’ network. In a notable development, the group bolstered its ability to act on cross-border matters when senior counsel Elizabeth Jordan joined from Linklaters LLP in January 2020. Camilla Sanger's recent work included collective competition law claims, among other matters. The ‘dynamic and proactive’ Holly Ware is experienced in both competition and commercial litigation mandates. Claire Jeffs and Damian Taylor are also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Slaughter and May is undoubtedly up there with the very best competition litigation teams in the City of London. The group offers unrivalled quality and strength of engagement at all levels.‘
‘In my experience, Slaughter and May’s team is particularly strong in two respects. First, the quality of work produced is excellent – the lawyers nail down the issues and really provide first-class output. Second, the group has significant resources both at partner and associate level: this is definitely a team with sufficient firepower to do a really good job.‘
‘As it is well known in the industry, Slaughter and May’s litigation department is involved in many of the leading commercial and competition claims before the English courts. It stands out from other firms as having uniformly able solicitors at all levels of seniority, from trainees to partners. The department has won key roles in two of the largest claims currently before the English courts: the trucks claim and the FX claim, both of which include cutting-edge collective actions.‘
‘The team led by Camilla Sanger delivers excellent service, keeps calm even under the most relentless stress, and sees several moves further ahead than the opposition.‘
‘Richard Swallow is the doyen of the department in this field; he is immensely skilled and experienced.‘
‘Holly Ware is a dynamic and proactive partner, hugely capable and delightful to work with.‘
‘Claire Jeffs is a fantastic lawyer, an utterly unflappable and excellent presenter.‘
‘Damian Taylor is a brilliant litigator and partner who is surely one to watch as a future superstar.‘
First MTR South Western Trains
JP Morgan Chase Bank
- Acting for MAN SE in relation to damages actions in the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the High Court following the European Commission’s truck cartel investigation.
- Advising JP Morgan Chase Bank in relation to the damages actions in the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the High Court following the foreign exchange investigations.
- Advising British Airways on follow-on damages actions arising from the investigations by the US Department of Justice and the European Commission into an alleged air cargo cartel.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP represents claimants and defendants in disputes relating to alleged abuses of dominance, high-profile cartel investigations and allegedly anticompetitive conduct. Competition litigation head Edward Coulson is ‘very knowledgeable about issues that could arise in litigation funding’. Andrew Hockley, who ‘demonstrates pragmatism and commercial judgement’, leads the wider antitrust and competition department. The experience of associate Andrew Leitch is particularly evident in matters connected with financial services, technology and industrial manufacturing.
Other key lawyers:
‘Andrew Hockley demonstrates pragmatism and commercial judgement, which was hugely valued and necessary for the risk we were considering.’
‘They are first-class – not only do they know how to run cases and get results, but they are very commercial when it comes to fee arrangements.
Ed Coulson and Andrew Leitch are the ‘Batman and Robin’ of UK competition litigation – a dynamic duo who resolve the biggest cases.
Andy Hockley is a standout leader in the field. Anything he doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing.’
‘We worked with partner Edward Coulson and associate Andrew Leitch who assisted with a litigation funding agreement for a follow-on damages claim. Both were very knowledgeable about issues that could arise in funding documentation for this sort of claim, so I would regard them both as having particular expertise in funding, no doubt assisted by their career backgrounds at Hausfeld.’
‘Exceptional knowledge in the field. Excellent planning and case management. First-rate communication. Comprehensive guidance and advice on the case and its likely progression.
The team provide very clear advice and communication. Incredibly supportive and very easy to work with. They develop and nurture excellent relationships with clients. Exceptionally hard working as well.’
‘A truly outstanding practice, far better than some silver or magic circle firms. High level of specialist knowledge, relentless pursuit of client interest and close attention to detail.’
- Acting for Royal Mail, BT Group and Dawsongroup in High Court claims brought against DAF, Volvo/Renault and Daimler/Mercedes, respectively, for their participation in the EC trucks cartel.
- Acting for National Grid and Scottish Power in their high-profile claims for damages due to overcharges paid for the purchase of high-voltage power cables.
- Defending Technicolor against the damages claim brought by Grundig, Beko and other companies within the Arçelik Group before the High Court in respect of Technicolor’s participation in the EC cathode ray tube cartel.
Clifford Chance LLP's strong competition litigation offering is complemented by its ability to provide support in related areas, such as regulatory investigations, public law and criminal law. Elizabeth Morony heads the global antitrust litigation group, which sees the London team work closely with practitioners located elsewhere worldwide in multijurisdictional antitrust proceedings and global investigations. Luke Tolaini has been particularly active in the pharmaceuticals sector recently, where he acts for clients such as Pfizer, Xellia and Alpharma. Elsewhere, the team is active in high-profile investigations and follow-on litigation in the financial services industry. Senior associate Ben Jasper is 'clearly destined for big things in competition ligation'.
‘Efficient and reliable team running high profile cases.’
‘Elizabeth Morony is, in my view, the stand-out partner in the team. Widely admired for her legal and strategic skills, she particularly stands out in my view for her impeccable judgment. In all the many cases we have litigated together, she is careful to take account of the wider strategic and commercial issues arising as well as the legal merits of the case. Her measured approach serves clients extremely well and assures them of advice which is of the utmost practical value.’
‘Clifford Chance are, in my view, the leading competition litigation practice in London. They have been involved in all major follow-on damages matters in London and, uniquely in my view, all of the leading non-cartel cases, notably of course Phenytoin (where they won again for Pfizer in the Court of Appeal), Paroxetine (which was referred to the CJEU), and Phones4U (acting for EE).’
‘Luke Tolaini is one of the savviest competition litigators in London, using a broad litigation practice spanning white-collar and commercial matters to great strategic and tactical effect in competition litigation. He has extraordinary judgement and does not waste a word. A man for the unwinnable case. He is assisted by Ben Jasper, who is a partner in all but name, and is clearly destined for big things in competition ligation.’
‘Very strong and seasoned litigators with tonnes of talent right through from top partners to junior associates. A great choice for big-ticket litigation.’
‘Jeremy Kosky is a highly experienced litigator and superb tactician who knows exactly how to run big-ticket litigation. Sam Ward is a very shrewd litigator who is a great team leader. Nicole Buncher is a highly clever and pragmatic future partner. Charles Joseph is junior associate who will go far.’
Pfizer Inc. / Pfizer Ltd.
Xellia / Alpharma LLC
- Acting for a defendant company in litigation arising from the findings of the European Commission in relation to the CRT/CRT glass cartels.
- Successfully represented Pfizer as respondent in the CMA’s appeal brought before the Court of Appeal in relation to the client’s alleged abuse of dominance by charging excessively 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, in relation to allegations of Libor manipulation and collusion.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is excellent at providing a full range of competition litigation services, including pre-action strategic advice, follow-on damages claims, and appeals against behavioural and merger decisions issued by competition authorities. The group notably possesses considerable experience in matters involving regulated sectors; clients particularly single it out as ‘the preeminent competition team for telecom disputes’. The ‘exceptionally clever’ Stephen Wisking is the key contact for actions in the TMT sector. Wisking co-heads the practice with Kim Dietzel, who has experience of handling matters involving alleged criminal cartel offences, among others. Of counsel Andrew North is also recommended.
‘Very experienced and talented competition lawyers with exceptional knowledge of the communications regulatory sphere‘
‘The team is well organised, focused on finding solutions, and always thinking three steps ahead.‘
‘This is the preeminent competition team for telecom disputes. The group has a suite of household names as clients and provides exceptional services.‘
‘Stephen Wisking is exceptionally clever, experienced, and a delight to work with. He is the No.1 lawyer for competition and regulatory issues in broadcasting.‘
‘Kim Dietzel is extremely knowledgeable; she is a hardworking fighter when it comes to her clients’ interests.‘
‘Of counsel Andrew North is an excellent litigator with an easy client manner and a good strategic vision.‘
Virgin Atlantic Airways
- Serving as European coordinating competition litigation counsel to Iveco and Fiat Chrysler in relation to follow-on damages claims stemming from the European Commission’s settlement decision in the trucks industry.
- Acting for Google in connection with claims brought by Kelkoo and Connexity in the UK High Court seeking damages for abuse of dominance.
- Acting for MUFG Bank in relation to litigation concerning the subject matter of the EU Commission’s decision concerning the so-called ‘Forex – Essex Express’ cartel.
Linklaters LLP houses one of the most active competition litigation groups active on the defence side. The team’s unrivalled experience in the financial services, automotive and pharmaceutical sectors makes it a destination of choice for corporate clients and financial institutions seeking assistance with regulatory investigations and litigation arising thereof. Commercial litigator and public law specialist Tom Cassels heads up the department, where he is ably assisted by managing associates Sarina Williams and James Hennah. Harriet Ellis is also a key contact for public inquiries. Counsel Elizabeth Jordan departed for Slaughter and May in December 2019.
‘Tom Cassells leads a fantastic team.’
‘Sarina Williams is a very talented managing associate, who really operates at partner level, pulling together the right team to get the job done, and adding her own insights borne of years of experience at the coalface of competition litigation.’
‘Tom Cassels is a giant of the field. A cool operator, he always knows what to do in a crisis. He also leads a great team.’
‘Sarina Williams is a undoubtedly a future star.’
‘Tom Cassels is excellent.’
- Representing Visa in a number of actions brought before the English High Court by large retailers seeking damages related to the setting and implementation of multilateral interchange fees for the Visa card payment system in Europe.
- Representing Kelkoo in its high-profile claim against Google seeking damages in respect of alleged abuses by Google of a dominant position in relation to online search and search advertising, contrary to Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
- Advising Thames Water and Anglian Water on the Ofwat PR19 price control review.
Mishcon de Reya LLP is prominent acting on the claimant side of high-profile damages claims. Sarah Houghton leads the group, which includes lawyers with backgrounds in both competition law and economics. It is noted for its key role in the so-called interchange fees litigation; following its appearance in the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal in 2019, a team led by Rob Murray recently successfully represented Sainsbury's Supermarkets at the Supreme Court in proceedings against MasterCard. Clients appreciate the department’s ‘proactive approach’ in the class action litigation space, as well as its close relationships with litigation funders. Associate Zachery O’Brien is also recommended.
‘The team has a proactive approach to group and class action litigation in competition and consumer law. The team members work closely with experienced counsel and economists to ensure that the claim is realistic and focused, without bringing fanciful points that burn costs through interlocutory proceedings. They also work closely with funders to come up with innovative funding packages.‘
‘Excellent litigation and claims management. The associates are keen beans with energy and focus. The partners are experienced and not afraid to roll up their sleeves and add real value in strategic focus.‘
‘Rob Murray makes the competition litigation team unique. He has in-depth knowledge of how to successfully claim damages for breaches of competition law. There are a lot of people trying to be claimant lawyers – Rob has done so with success. He is supported by a very good team of associates, including Zachery O’Brien, whose encyclopaedia knowledge of competition law makes him definitely one to watch and a leader of his generation.‘
‘Rob Murray is inspirational and thinks outside the box.‘
‘Sarah Houghton operates a steady ship – she knows her stuff and provides good risk assessment.‘
Dixons Carphone / Marks & Spencer
Camelot, Esso Petroleum / John Lewis, Lakeland / Ocado / Ryman / Saint-Gobain / Tombola / Whitbread / Bet 365 / Kew Green / Welcome Break / World Remit / EIPC
European Commission Legal Service
- Represented the Microsoft Corporation in its cartel damages claim against Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Sanyo and LG Chem, arising from a global cartel affecting batteries used in various electronic products, such as mobile phones.
- Successfully represented Sainsbury’s Supermarkets in the Supreme Court in a case brought against MasterCard in relation to the recovery of interchange fees.
- Advising Media-Saturn Holding on strategic dispute resolution options aimed at securing a €300m recovery of cartel damages from Panasonic and Toshiba as a result of the cathode ray tube cartel.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP’s London-based competition litigation practice is a destination of choice for many corporate claimants and defendants. The firm notably demonstrates strong credentials in the automotive, financial services, technology and IP sectors, with its team being equally well-versed in handling innovative claims on a standalone and follow-on basis. One of the co-heads of the practice is Boris Bronfentrinker, who is a name to note in the class action space, and played a central role representing Walter Merricks CBE (as the proposed class representative of over 46 million consumers seeking in excess of £14 billion in damages) in the Supreme Court case of Merricks v Mastercard. Bronfentrinker co-heads the practice with Kate Vernon, who is a key contact for advice on regulatory investigations and matters involving an interplay between IP and competition law.
Daimler AG / Mercedes-Benz Cars UK
Fiat Chrysler NV
Federal Insurance Deposit Corporation
Walter Merricks CBE
- Secured a Court of Appeal victory for Walter Merricks CBE, class representative on behalf of 46m UK consumers claiming £14bn against MasterCard.
- Defending Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz Cars UK in two collective action proceedings and multiple individual claims following on from the trucks cartel infringement.
- Acting as lead counsel for Qualcomm in the global dispute against Apple involving several actions worldwide for alleged abuse of dominance and failure to offer a licence on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.
Praised for its ‘excellent judgement’, Stewarts Law LLP's team has established itself as a go-to adviser for claimants in the UK and across Europe. It is highly sought out by large corporations seeking compensation for losses incurred as a result of cartel activities or abuses of a dominant position. Of recent note, the team is noted for its successful appearance before the Supreme Court, where it defended a prior decision by the Court of Appeal in favour of its multiple retailer clients as part of their interchange fee dispute with Visa and MasterCard. Kate Pollock heads up the team, which also includes Inge Forster and Stuart Carson.
‘A vibrant and cohesive team which covers all the bases and shows excellent judgement.‘
‘Market-leading claimant lawyers, highly commercial and excellent at achieving quality results for the client.‘
‘Stewarts’ competition team is at the leading edge of claimant damages actions. The team members acted for a large group of retailer claimants in the interchange fee litigation. Those clients are each other’s competitors, but Stewarts navigated them together through two High Court trials, a lengthy resoundingly successful appeal in the Court of Appeal, and a fierce Supreme Court battle. They are passionate about what they do, always on top of everything, and an excellent group of people to work with.‘
‘Stewarts is a really valuable player in the claimant competition litigation market. The team’s boutique litigation expertise is well-placed to be applied in the cartel damages context. In my experience, Stewarts’ lawyers are extremely strong litigators. They are always focused on the client’s ultimate commercial aim and think strategically about how to use litigation tactics to achieve that aim.‘
‘Kate Pollock is a fabulously energetic team leader, hugely commercial, with excellent personal skills.‘
‘Kate Pollock combines exceptional intellect, tremendous strategic insight and constant good humour.‘
‘Inge Forster works incredibly hard and knows her way around knotty procedural issues like the back of her hand.‘
‘Inge Forster is extremely impressive. She is highly responsive and engaged with the detail of the case. Inge has wide-ranging experience of competition litigation, which means that she is strong on procedural and practical matters, such as positioning for disclosure and other pre-trial stages.‘
Asda Stores / Home Retail Group / Wm Morrison Supermarkets
Marks & Spencer
- Represented Asda, Argos and Morrisons in the Supreme Court in relation to appeals brought by Visa and Mastercard against the clients’ victory at the Court of Appeal.
- Acting for French-based Gemalto on its pan-European smart card chip cartel claim.
- Acting for Ingram Micro in handling a substantial LCD cartel claim against Samsung Electronics.
Travers Smith LLP’s competition litigation group operates as ‘a well-oiled machine’. It has a forte in EU and UK competition law investigations and it also excels in high-value follow-on damages actions. The practice includes members of the competition and dispute resolution teams. Caroline Edwards and Nigel Seay jointly lead the group, which includes Stephen Whitfield.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team shows incredible commitment to the cause and will go the extra mile to get to the right answers.‘
‘Travers Smith’s competition litigation practice operates as a well-oiled machine. It is an integrated group with plenty of competence at all levels of seniority. It is a real pleasure to work with.‘
‘A very strong team including very pleasant and capable professionals. Caroline Edwards is an exceptional lawyer.‘
‘Travers Smith fields an excellent competition litigation team consisting of very experienced partners leading an incredibly meticulous and diligent team of associates. They are one of the medium-sized firms that has picked up a good deal of work in this area, assisting clients with multiple cartel damages claims.‘
‘Caroline Edwards demonstrates terrific analytical skills. She is also excellent with clients and is a fabulous team leader.‘
‘Nigel Seay is a star with exceptional talent.‘
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean AS
- Acting for JTEKT Corporation on a competition claim brought by Fiat Chrysler in respect of the automotive bearings cartel.
- Acting for a European truck manufacturer defending multiple damages claims brought before the English courts arising from the European Commission’s decision concerning the trucks industry.
- Acting for global shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean on proceedings brought against the client by Daimler AG as a result of the European Commission’s decision concerning the supply of roll-on roll-off vehicle shipping services.
Allen & Overy LLP’s competition litigation group has a strong track record representing defendants in high-profile cartel investigations and related private damages cases. Complementing the team in London is its access to a network of offices in Asia, Europe and the US. It places a particular emphasis on cutting-edge cases in the financial services and IP sectors, among others. Mark Friend leads the London-based antitrust group, while Antonio Bavasso serves as a co-head of the global antitrust group. Jonathan Hitchin, who is ‘a real tiger of a litigator’, is dual-qualified to practise in England & Wales and Hong Kong.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is incredibly effective and a joy to work with
Jonathan Hitchin is a real tiger of a litigator – definitely one you want on your side.
Mark Friend is immensely skilled and experienced in competition and regulatory matters, a real deep thinker.
Associate Rachel Donelan is destined for greatness.’
441 Trust Company
21st Century Fox
- Acting for 441 Trust Company, a trust company representing 441 European banks, in relation to various active claims brought against Visa by UK retailers in relation to Visa’s default multilateral interchange fee.
- Representing Micron in a private damages claim brought by the liquidators of Granville Technology Group, VMT, and OT Computers, in relation to a decision of the European Commission in its cartel case imposing a fine on dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) producers.
- Defending Scania in private damages actions brought before the Competition Appeal Tribunal in the aftermath of the European Commission’s heavy truck investigation.
Ashurst utilises its ‘great strength in depth’ in handling high-profile private damages actions at UK and European level. The group draws upon the expertise of its European and global network, and works particularly closely with the Brussels-based team. The team is also assisted by the firm’s in-house team of economists, where required. ‘Excellent’ practice head Euan Burrows has significant experience of appearing before the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). Nigel Parr’s recent work included abuse of dominance cases. Recently promoted partner Steven Vaz and Duncan Liddell are also recommended.
‘Great strength in depth with numerous individuals with experience at the Commission.
‘Euan Burrows is excellent and has a wealth of experience. Peter Turner-Kerr has Commission experience, and Max Strasberg and Clare Hennessey are also both very good – both very diligent and good strategists.’
London Underground / TfL
Virgin, Stagecoach / SNCF / West Coast Trains
Docklands Light Railway / TfL
- Representing Ryder in one of the largest follow-on actions arising from the EU trucks cartel.
- Acted for Royal Mail on its appeal against Ofcom’s price discrimination infringement decision.
- Acting for Intel in its ongoing appeals against the European Commission’s infringement decision concerning the client’s abuse of a dominant position in the supply of microchips.
The 'brilliant' competition litigation group at Bristows LLP stands out for its excellent record handling competition law claims that interface with IP issues. The team is routinely instructed by clients active in the technology, life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors. The department is led by Pat Treacy ('astute tactician in litigation'), who splits her time between London and Brussels. Clients also laud the expertise of 'excellent communicator' Sophie Lawrance and 'world-class adviser' Stephen Smith.
‘Very good team with a strong focus on IP-related competition disputes‘
‘Bristows’ competition team combines specialist expertise in competition law and litigation strategy. The team members are equally adept at representing their clients during administrative proceedings and in the courtroom.‘
‘A great team to work with, which includes top-quality competition litigators specialising in TMT, who also have unparalleled knowledge of patent-competition crossover issues.‘
‘The team at Bristows is brilliant. The lawyers help us navigate the complex regulatory environment with ease. Their technical expertise and strategic advice are both excellent. They are highly responsive and efficient – all while working within extremely tight deadlines.‘
‘Pat Treacy is an astute tactician in litigation, with excellent strategic thinking. She is also accessible and great under pressure. Her experience as a Deputy High Court Judge gives her a particular edge in understanding how a court will approach a case.‘
‘Pat Treacy shows an impeccable judgment and is exceptionally clever. She knows all there is to know about the interaction between IP and competition law.‘
‘Sophie Lawrance is approachable and is an excellent communicator. She benefits from a wealth of experience. Sophie is responsive, wicked-smart and, most importantly, easy to work with.‘
‘Stephen Smith is a world-class adviser. He is very bright and technically brilliant, but also down to earth and a pleasure to work with.‘
Hunter Douglas N.V.
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
British Brands Group
- Defending Google in a High Court action brought by online price comparison site Foundem.
- Successfully advised IDNM and LHL on a public interest intervention notice by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in relation to the need for accurate presentation of news and free expression of opinion in newspapers.
- Representing Chinese technology company ZTE Corporation in defending itself against patent infringement and fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (Frand) claims made by Conversant.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s team demonstrates strong capabilities in complex multijurisdictional matters and has a particular strength in follow-on damages claims and behavioural investigations. The London team is able to draw upon the expertise of its counterparts in Brussels. In addition, it leverages the firm’s wider global antitrust strength. Key team members include Nicholas Levy, Jonathan Kelly, and counsels Paul Gilbert and Paul Stuart.
Merck & Co.
- Acted for Ecolab in relation to the Competition and Markets Authority’s Phase 2 investigation of Ecolab’s completed acquisition of The Holchem Group, as well as on the subsequent appeal to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal.
- Assisted Merck & Co. and Merck Sharp & Dohme Ltd. with an antitrust investigation before the UK Competition and Markets Authority.
- Acted as counsel to Google in the UK Competition and Markets Authority Market Study into Digital Advertising.
Recognised for its ‘great technical abilities’, DLA Piper’s team forms an integral part of the firm’s global antitrust and competition group and often works with the corporate department. Representing clients in both English and European courts, the group is well-equipped to handle complex investigations and related follow-on litigation. Its recent work is particularly prominent in the pharmaceutical industry. Sam Szlezinger, Alexandra Kamerling and Sarah Smith jointly lead the practice.
‘The team has in-depth knowledge of antitrust in the pharmaceutical sector, sound judgment and great technical abilities.‘
‘The competition and litigation teams are integrated very well. The team is very good at strategic thinking and working through litigation strategy.‘
‘The lawyers at DLA Piper know all details inside out. They are also extremely attentive to the needs and strategic goals of the client.‘
‘Sarah Smith is young and energetic, and has excellent tactical judgement. Sarah is a delight to work with.‘
‘Sarah Smith is fantastic – she is clever, communicative and client-driven.‘
‘Sam Szlezinger is a class act; he remains actively involved in matters and knows all details.‘
Stanton Bonna / Consolis Group
- Acting for Merck KGaA in its appeals of the Competition and Markets Authority’s paroxetine decision and the European Commission’s citalopram decision.
- Acting for Lupin in its appeal of the European Commission’s perindopril decision and related follow-on damages claims.
- Acting for Stanton Bonna and its parent group Consolis in connection with the criminal cartel case against its former CEO Barry Cooper and the civil cartel case opened by the Competition and Markets Authority in 2016.
Macfarlanes LLP is consistently engaged in standalone competition cases and follow-on damages actions. The team finds itself at the forefront of UK-based litigation in the pharmaceutical industry; Cameron Firth is considered by clients to be ‘ideal for the current wave of competition cases in the pharma sector’. Malcolm Walton leads the department, where recently promoted partner Simon Day is also noted.
‘High-quality commercial advice provided efficiently‘
‘Technically gifted lawyers who act commercially too.‘
‘This is a competition team rising in prominence among City litigators with its successful representation of Flynn in the headline phenytoin litigation.‘
‘Cameron Firth has a unique combination of in-depth knowledge of competition law and wide experience of pharmaceutical regulation, which makes him ideal for the current wave of competition cases in the pharma sector. His polite exterior conceals a ferocious intellect. He is also a delight to work with.‘
‘Cameron Firth and Simon Day have extremely detailed knowledge of the relevant law, which they are able to quickly apply to the facts in order to provide high-quality advice.‘
‘Cameron Firth is excellent – he has a wealth of experience and good client skills.‘
Mylan SAS / Actavis UK
- Advising Flynn Pharma on its appeal against the Competition and Markets Authority’s first-ever standalone unfair pricing case.
- Acting for Royal Bank of Scotland in its defence of three separate claims relating to loss alleged to have arisen from anti-competitive manipulation of foreign exchange markets by individual traders at various banks.
- Defending Mylan and Actavis in two separate actions before the Competition Appeal Tribunal against the Competition and Markets Authority’s decision in the UK’s first patent settlement case.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP represents claimants and defendants in standalone and follow-on litigation. The group is noted for its involvement in high-profile and precedent-setting cases; of recent note, the team was successful in the UK Supreme Court when it acted for Sainsbury’s in litigation against Visa over multilateral interchange fees. London managing partner Frances Murphy heads up the practice. Joanna Christoforou and associate Emma Walsh are also key names to note.
‘The team is highly knowledgeable about the pharmaceutical sector. Very attentive, responsive and proactive.‘
‘This is a highly effective, client-facing team that benefits from a depth of knowledge and a commitment to excellence. The team provides services that are quick, friendly and efficient.‘
‘The team is friendly, efficient and hardworking. The lawyers advance the client’s objectives and are unfailingly pleasant to deal with.‘
‘Frances Murphy has a wealth of experience and a formidable sense of determination and judgement. Charming and responsive to clients and counsel, she has a steely determination to advance her clients’ case and to hold her nerve through the ups and downs of substantial pieces of litigation. A valuable ally and a formidable opponent.‘
‘Associate Emma Walsh is fast developing into an astute litigator. She has dedication and practical common sense. Her work is detail-driven.‘
Advanz Pharma Corp.
Procter & Gamble
The London Metal Exchange
Court Square Capital
Sumitomo Corporation of Americas
- Successfully represented British retailer Sainsbury’s Supermarkets in securing a reversal of a High Court ruling relating to Visa and MasterCard’s multilateral interchange fees.
- Leading the defence of Advanz Pharma in relation to the excessive and unfair pricing of the thyroid drug Liothyronine alleged by the CMA.
- Represented McDonald’s Restaurants in claims brought against Visa and MasterCard before the High Court.
Norton Rose Fulbright's competition litigation department, which is a key part of the wider antitrust group, consists of ‘hardworking and dedicated’ lawyers trained in both commercial litigation and competition law. Regularly instructed by both claimants and defendants, the group is adept at handling follow-on damages claims, regulatory appeals and litigation strategy issues. It has considerable experience of the energy and financial services sectors. Peter Scott and Mark Simpson jointly lead the practice. Counsel Helen Fairhead is also recommended.
‘A great combination of competition law knowledge, litigation awareness and sensitivity to client needs‘
‘A well-established team that has a number of high-profile cases under its belt.‘
‘The team is great to work with. The lawyers are hardworking and dedicated, and clearly enjoy what they do.’
‘The team is extremely thorough and impressively organised in thinking about what needs to be done in what order and how to do it as efficiently as possible. It also seems very functional – the team members work well together and all feel valued – which is hugely important in long, complex and stressful litigation.‘
‘Mark Simpson is adept at navigating tricky disputes, managing an efficient team of associates and dealing with the complexities of cross-border litigation.‘
‘Peter Scott is a very experienced litigator with a strong track record in delivering good outcomes for clients.‘
‘I have been working with counsel Helen Fairhead. She is hardworking and strategic, and has a strong ability to see issues from a range of perspectives to identify the best way forward.‘
Delta Air Lines
The Law Society
Standard Chartered Bank
Electricity North West
Northern Gas Networks
Energy Networks Association
- Acting for claimant Vodafone in follow-on damages claims issued in the High Court against suppliers of smart chips.
- Advising HSBC on claims issued in the High Court in December 2018, arising from the European Commission’s ongoing investigation into investment banks’ alleged manipulation of FX rates.
- Acting for Orange SA in defending a claim brought by the administrators of Phones4U in relation to Phones4U’s entry into administration.
Pinsent Masons LLP
A popular choice among claimants and defendants alike, Pinsent Masons LLP's ‘highly competent and professional’ team has carved out a strong reputation for abuse of dominance cases, follow-on damages claims and public procurement challenges. Alan Davis serves as global head of the wider competition, EU and trade group. The competition litigation practice is led by Michael Fletcher. Robert Vidal is a key contact for work in the life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors.
Other key lawyers:
‘A highly competent and professional team, with extensive experience across competition litigation matters.
Alan Davis is an experienced and professional lawyer, and one who is highly commercial and gives thoughtful advice.’
‘Their legal and industry-specific insight enables them to really understand a client’s needs and tailor their service accordingly. They punch well above their weight and should arguably be ranked much higher, given the quality of service and the results they achieve.
Alan Davis is outstanding – his expertise is rarely paralleled.
Jason Kirwin knows how to resolve a dispute.’
‘Well established and respected competition practice
Michael Fletcher is a pleasure to work with.’
- Successfully acted for Google in response to an abuse of dominance claim brought against the client in the English High Court by Unlockd.
- Advising Sun Pharmaceuticals on its appeal to the European Court of Justice, following the European Commission’s decision to impose €146m in fines in relation to reverse payment settlement agreements.
- Assisting DAF Trucks with a number of follow-on damages claims in Scotland relating to the EU Commission’s decision concerning competition infringements in the trucks sector.
Simmons & Simmons
Simmons & Simmons, which ‘goes the extra mile for the client’, acts for claimants and defendants in standalone and follow-on damages actions relating to cartel activities and abuses of dominant positions. In the behavioural investigations space, the group regularly works with the firm’s crime, fraud and investigations group. Its sector-specific expertise includes financial services, technology, pharmaceuticals and energy. Patrick Boylan leads the wider commercial litigation department, while Charles Bankes heads up the competition litigation practice. Chris Owen and associate Adam Bristow are also key figures in the team.
‘Knowledgeable, experienced, practical and personable.’
‘Hard-working and dedicated team. Really goes the extra mile for the client. Pleasure to work with.
Experience of Charles Bankes is a real plus, he has real tactical/regulatory nouse.’
‘The competition team at Simmons & Simmons is very good at identifying the key issues of the case, distinguishing must-haves from nice-to-haves when it comes to the evidence to be presented to competition authorities.
Charles Bankes and Satyen Dhana are great to work with. Very smart, open to suggestions from other parties involved (eg economists), able to come up with practical solutions to address the issues of the case.’
- Acting for three LG Electronics entities in defending a £670m damages action relating to the European Commission cathode ray tube cartel decision.
- Acting for LG Electronics in defending a £630m damages action relating to the European Commission cathode ray tube cartel decision.
- Advised BP on two sets of proceedings against MasterCard and Visa relating to competition law infringements concerning cross-border multilateral interchange fees.
White & Case LLP has ‘a strong track record of delivering excellent results’ in follow-on damages claims and regulatory investigations, as well as threatened follow-on claims. The team works closely with members of the Brussels office and also counts on the expertise of other practitioners in the wider global network. Marc Israel and Charles Balmain jointly lead the team.
‘White & Case are increasingly instructed in the leading competition damages actions in both the High Court and the Competition Appeal Tribunal. They have a strong track record of delivering excellent results for their impressive roster of clients.
Charles Balmain is head of EMEA disputes. His practice spans both competition and commercial litigation. He is excellent at delivering strategic advice to clients, managing large teams in heavyweight litigation, and a strong technical lawyer. A star of the future.
Jacquelyn Maclennan is one of the star EU competition lawyers based in Brussels‘
‘Practical, commercial-oriented advice. Worked extremely well and efficiently as a team.
Extremely practical and helpful from a business standpoint. Does not get caught in the weeds.’
‘A responsive and highly skilled team, led by a partner who brings the necessary hindsight when it comes to defining strategy.
Aqeel Kadri is a technically strong and astute associate lawyer.
Charles Balmain is a brilliant partner, with a large degree of pragmatism and an ability to synthesize complex matters.‘
Bulgarian Energy Holding
Columbia Threadneedle & Brittany Ferries
Computer and Communications Industry Association
- Representing a Swedish private investor in Romania and three large Romanian food and drink companies in a case against the European Commission before the European Court of Justice.
- Acted as co-counsel to Pfizer in its appeal of the CMA’s excessive pricing decision before the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
- Representing the Computer and Communications Industry Association in its capacity of a party intervening in support of Google in the Google Shopping case before the General Court of the European Union.
Praised for its ‘superb client interaction skills’, Addleshaw Goddard’s cross-practice competition litigation team draws on the expertise of the firm’s dispute resolution and competition groups. It places a particular emphasis on standalone follow-on damages claims, as well as regulatory investigations. Practice head Mark Molyneux has 'an ability to see and articulate the pros and cons of proposed courses of action and provide leadership’. Bruce Kilpatrick, who heads up the wider competition group, is a key contact for investigations, as is Rona Bar-Isaac.
‘The Addleshaw team are consistently excellent across all levels and this wide range of competition litigation matters. They are excellent at project delivery, and write compelling submissions to courts and regulators (including developing compelling evidence) and are good advocates. They guarantee active partner engagement across all matters, focus on securing great outcomes and give crystal clear advice (and do not sit on the fence). The emphasis on work being partner-led supports them being laser-like focused on the matters and issues that make the most difference to case outcomes. They are also excellent at project management and working with them is always stress-free. In short, they have a standout team.
We have worked with multiple partners over the last year, namely Bruce Kilpatrick, Rona Bar-Isaac, and Mark Molyneux and range of associates (particularly Neil O’Sullivan and Jake Minards-Tonge as regards litigation). Bruce is a market leader; he is very clever, thinks matters through carefully (taking on board and developing the ideas of clients and other advisors), and is really good at developing the case. Rona is very strategic as to the key evidence to hand, and she deserves much credit for persuading the CMA to drop two investigations against her pharma client. Mark Molyneux fits in really well with the competition team and provides seamless and integrated competition/litigation advice. As part of his team, Neil has done an excellent job in managing a complex piece of competition litigation and Jake has forensically unpicked all the difficult economic/disclosure issues on a cartel case.’
‘The team’s client interaction skills are superb. They seamlessly integrate and become an extension of our own practice. I find them so easy to deal with. Most law firms are not like this. Technical skills of the team are first-rate, as you would expect. They are able to handle ‘big ticket’ litigation and have the strength and depth to manage all elements of litigation.
Mark Molyneux – heads up the team and is a litigator who has superb strategic skills. He is very user-friendly and has an ability to see and articulate the pros and cons of proposed courses of action and provide leadership by pinning colours to the mast.
Samatha Haigh – Associate Director – takes ownership of tasks/thorny issues and delivers solutions. Her technical and drafting skills are fantastic.
James Currie – Associate – one to watch. A very capable lawyer who is unflappable‘
JD Sports Fashion
Road Haulage Association
Office Depot Europe
British American Tobacco
Scotia Gas Networks
Department for Transport
- Acting for NKT Cables in two separate high-voltage cables follow-on damages actions.
- Acting for Office Depot Europe on High Court claims relating to the envelopes cartel.
Baker McKenzie is renowned for its strengths in high-stakes work, including follow-on damages claims and regulatory investigations. Its team has adjusted to reforms of collective action procedures in the UK competition space and is well-positioned to act for clients in class action litigation. Francesca Richmond chairs the competition litigation group, which includes Keith Jones.
Other key lawyers:
CMS is noted for its ‘seamless cross-departmental working in cases involving a crossover of competition law with other areas’. The practice is equally strong in follow-on damages litigation and regulatory investigations. Caroline Hobson and Brian Sher are the co-heads of the department. Following his arrival from Stewarts Law LLP in September 2019, ‘excellent lawyer and litigator’ Kenny Henderson has established himself as an expert on claims involving regulated sectors.
Other key lawyers:
‘Kenny Henderson has provided great support in a complex cartel claim case. He is very pragmatic and easy to work with and provides excellent advice with is understandable also for non-English lawyers. He is also very good at pointing out the important matters that need attention, which is great for in house counsel with limited time to consider all aspects of litigation.’
‘A first-class competition practice with a particular aptitude for seamless cross-departmental working in cases involving a crossover with other areas of law.
Caroline Hobson – one of the very best competition and procurement lawyers out there. Brilliant with clients, a great team worker and an intellectual powerhouse who wears it lightly.’
‘Exceptional sector experience in life sciences. communications and media.
Brian Sher – partner – completely hands-on and engaged in the process and very thoughtful about the law, with a strong economics/business grip Kenny Henderson – strong profile in competition litigation. Russell Hoare – new partner and widely experienced.’
‘Chris Watson and Russell Hoare were both excellent. Russell, in particular, is hard-working, responsive and very much on top of all points of detail.’
- Representing GlaxoSmithKline in a first-ever reference to the European Court of Justice by the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
- Representing Arora Group in defending judicial review litigation, surrounding the third runway at Heathrow Airport.
- Successfully represented Viagogo in proceedings against the CMA following the secondary ticketing investigation.
Gowling WLG's practice has an emphasis on follow-on damages claims, where it acts for both claimants and defendants. Another key workstream seems the firm advise on claims involving an interplay between competition law and IP. Practice head Bernardine Adkins, who splits time between London and Brussels, has accrued significant experience of handling cases before the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
RPC’s cross-practice competition litigation group is a destination of choice for many claimants and defendants in follow-on litigation. Another key strength of the team involves assisting clients with threatened litigation. Its sector-specific expertise includes financial services, insurance, TMT, transport, healthcare and retail. The ‘bright and energetic’ Lambros Kilaniotis, who leads the department, is experienced in handling claims at the High Court and the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
‘Impressive array of clients. Good industry understanding. Tactically astute.’
‘As a higher rights advocate, Lambros has the technical and legal skills to advise clients on a par with the junior end of the bar.’
‘Friendly, sensible, practical.
Catherine Percy – sensible, pragmatic, always great to deal with.’
‘Attracts high profile cases. Deft settlement of big cases.
Lambros Kilaniotis – bright, energetic‘
Sports Direct International
NHS Scotland / DHSSPS / RHSCB
Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance
- Representing NHS bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland in an action for competition law damages brought against Servier, the manufacturer of the Perindopril cardiovascular drug.
- Acting for a large group of claimants in relation to competition damages claims against Visa and MasterCard in connection with interchange fees.
Scott + Scott
Since the launch of its London office in 2015, Scott + Scott has established itself as a preferred adviser to multinational companies on follow-on damages litigation in the UK and across continental Europe. Building upon the firm’s traditional strength in the class action space, the group is adept at advising on competition law breaches under the Consumer Rights Act 2015; the team’s work in this space has gained momentum, particularly in the financial services sector. Practice head Belinda Hollway is a key contact for multijurisdictional litigation strategy issues.
Winston & Strawn LLP assists clients with cartel-related issues and also provides regulatory advice. It is also adept at handling potential claims arising from competition law violations. The team has particular expertise in sectors such as insurance, pharmaceuticals, energy and telecoms. The ‘technically excellent’ Peter Crowther, who heads up the department, splits his time between London and Brussels.
Other key lawyers:
‘Peter Crowther is technically excellent and gives a great client service.‘
Liberty Specialty Markets
Apollo Syndicate Management
- Advised Hitachi Metals in its appeal to the General Court against the decision of the European Commission in the power cables cartel case.