Overview

Compliance with competition law has never been more important, as governments seek to ensure that markets work well for consumers. Competition authorities are using their increased powers to scrutinise and challenge mergers, punish anti-competitive conduct, and reform markets where competition does not work well.

Our competition lawyers deliver effective, commercially-driven solutions to our clients. We provide expert competition law advice and representation before competition and regulatory authorities, as well as UK and EU courts. Many of our competition lawyers have worked for competition or regulatory authorities, meaning that we can provide a unique insight into how regulators work. We also draw on our experience of working in-house with clients, gaining a detailed understanding of their needs and, importantly, the markets they operate in.

Our clients include major multinationals, FTSE 350 companies, market leading privately-held businesses, financial investors and government departments. Where our clients require advice on international matters, we work with our network of preferred firms around the world to support them.

Areas of focus

Our competition law expertise includes the following:

  • Devising compliance policies and programmes, audits and training including through web-based technology.
  • Advising clients during dawn raids.
  • Defending clients subject to cartel, abuse of dominance and other competition investigations.
  • Advising and defending clients operating in regulated sectors in relation to competition and economic regulatory matters, including compliance with licence conditions and price reviews.
  • Assisting clients in obtaining clearance for mergers and joint ventures including complex "Phase II" reviews.
  • Competition litigation and disputes: representing clients involved in competition disputes, including before the UK and EU courts, including appeals against regulators' decisions, judicial review proceedings, follow-on damages actions and commercial disputes.
  • Assisting clients throughout market studies and market investigations including the design and implementation of remedies.
  • Advising clients on the application of competition law to commercial agreements, joint ventures, strategic alliances, business strategies and conduct.
  • Advising on the EU State aid rules.
  • Public procurement.
Experience

Advising a football league on the compatibility of the financial fair play rules with competition law (in the context of enforcement action) and stakeholders in the horseracing industry on various regulatory and competition law matters.

Currently advising a large manufacturer and importer in relation to a current Chapter I Competition Act investigation by the CMA.

Advising a water and sewage undertaker in relation to the competition and regulatory aspects of separating its wholesale and retail operations in advance of the significant retail market expansion for non-household customers in 2017.

Advising FirstGroup plc on the UK merger control aspects of its bid for the East Coast Franchise and also its successful bid for the Transpennine Express Franchise (cleared by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) at Phase 1 March 2016) which commenced operation on 1 April 2016.

We have advised FirstGroup plc on competition compliance issues for many years and have recently completed a review of its UK bus division's compliance training programme and have developed four new interactive modules.

Advising parties to market studies and Competition and Markets Authority market investigations, including, recently, private motor insurance, road fuels and dentistry.

Advising the subsidiary of a German manufacturing company on a recent leniency application to the CMA including advice on the cartel offence.

Obtaining international merger clearances for packaging group Spear in connection with its acquisition by Constantia Flexibles.

Obtaining EU merger clearance for Milk Link's merger with Arla (including the negotiation of remedies and advising on their subsequent implementation) and for Petrochem Carless' acquisition by H.I.G. Capital.

Obtaining merger clearance from the CMA at Phase 1 (October 2015) for Oasis Dental Care's acquisition of Total Orthodontics.

Representing a multinational chemical manufacturer and a major European bank in cartel and state aid litigation respectively in the European Court of Justice.

Representing the Co-operative Group in successfully appealing, at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, an OFT decision (imposing a fine of £14.2 million) that it had participated in alleged anti-competitive practices in the tobacco sector and subsequently for its subsidiary, Somerfield, in appeal and judicial review proceedings to recover the fine imposed on it for its separate participation in those alleged practices.

Successfully defending Cardiff Bus against a multi-million damages action brought by the liquidator of a competitor following an OFT finding that Cardiff Bus had abused a dominant position in the Cardiff bus market. We continue to advise Cardiff Bus.

Meet the team
Laura Claydon

Laura Claydon Partner

  • Head of Competition
  • Retail
  • Transport
Noel Beale

Noel Beale Legal Director

  • Competition
  • Transport
  • Water

What others say...

The lawyers provide high-quality professional services to their clients based on deep knowledge of the law and institutional dynamics, whilst keeping track of practical issues.

Chambers UK 2016

Key contact

Laura Claydon

Laura Claydon Partner

  • Head of Competition
  • Retail
  • Transport

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