Agency Investigations

Cartels

We have considerable experience in advising clients on complex cartel investigations, before the European Commission, the Competition and Markets Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, and the Department of Justice in the US. We have developed close relationships with forensic IT and legal outsourcing firms to enable us to conduct extensive document reviews in the most efficient and effective manner. We are also able to provide a non-conflicted immunity and leniency service in cartel cases. This is particularly useful in situations where current advisers are unable to make a leniency application against other existing clients.

 

Abuse of dominance

We have significant experience advising on abuse of dominance investigations, and have acted both for companies with leading market positions under investigation and complainants adversely affected by anti-competitive behaviour. This includes both before the European Commission, the CMA and several national competition authorities, in some cases acting alongside local counsel. Prof. Damien Geradin has significant expertise in abuse of dominance cases involving intellectual property issues.

 

Merger control

We provide strategic advice on mergers, from advising on feasibility and strategy at the initiation stage right through to notification and, where required, negotiating remedies. In a complex multi-jurisdictional merger, we can help you instruct local law firms and coordinate filings across different jurisdictions. In very large complex cases requiring significant junior resource, we provide strategic advice and work alongside larger law firms. Gavin Robert has vast experience in advising on complex mergers and in particular, phase II investigations.

 

State aid

We can advise on all aspects of EU state-aid issues, having previously counselled the parties in both the private and public sectors (including the governments of Belgium and Luxembourg) on complicated complaints. Our in-depth understanding of the European Commission’s approach to state aid matters, and the importance of political sensitivities, provides us with a unique position from which to present your case.

 

Litigation

 

Before European Courts

We have significant experience of representing clients before the European Courts in Luxembourg with our lawyers having handled multiple appeals against European Commission decisions in cartel, abuse of dominance and State aid cases. We have also acted on behalf of clients in preliminary ruling cases originating from domestic courts alongside with local counsel.

 

Before domestic Courts

Although we are not ourselves domestic litigators, we have a good understanding of the complex issues that arise in competition litigation, whether stand-alone or follow-on damages claims, where we are used to working with leading Court Advocates. We also understand how the risks attached to subsequent litigation may affect the way in which competition investigations are conducted and defended. We are used to providing strategic advice and assisting alongside commercial litigators in competition litigation proceedings.

 

Dispute resolution

 

Arbitration

Prof. Damien Geradin is a leading authority in the field of arbitration involving competition law or intellectual property issues. He has been involved in multiple arbitral proceedings either as counsel or expert witness. He regularly collaborates with leading international law firms in this area.

 

Mediation

Uniquely among specialist competition lawyers, Oliver Bretz and Sarah Long are both CEDR qualified Mediators. Mediation can be an effective way of resolving competition damages claims, particularly in a follow-on scenario. The role of mediation is to allow the parties to begin negotiation in an environment that is without prejudice, safe, confidential and, above all, neutral. The presence of the Mediator as an independent neutral changes the dynamic of the negotiation. The Mediator will assist the parties to come to a negotiated solution, which will ultimately be enforced though a contractual agreement. That agreement is normally endorsed by the Court – e.g. by way of a Tomlin order in the UK. Due to our independence, we are also well placed to provide expert opinions where independent advice is required, for example where there is a dispute between the parties and/or their regular advisors.

 

Antitrust advice and compliance

We regularly provide strategic antitrust advice on commercial and operational matters, such as JVs, collaboration arrangements, distribution and supply agreements and licensing. We also advise companies on their own antitrust compliance programmes and compliance training, enabling us to obtain an in-depth understanding of our clients’ business. Although these matters may be less lucrative than major transactions and investigations, they often require considerable experience and expertise to deliver the right solution and balance of risk. We ensure that these matters get the senior attention they require.

 

Criminal Independent Legal Advice (ILA) Service

We can advise on all aspects of criminal matters arising out of competition law investigations through our unique independent legal advice (ILA) service.

We can assist companies, directors or employees who have been, or believe they may be, subject to criminal investigation by the CMA.  We also work with law firms who cannot offer specialist criminal representation.

We are able to provide an integrated service that combines both our well documented competition law expertise, alongside criminal expertise provided by Daniel Cummins.  Daniel Cummins is a decorated Higher Courts advocate and specialist criminal trial advocate with a peerless acquittal rate representing a diverse multitude of Defendants at trial and before the Court of Appeal Criminal Division.  We also have an unparalleled network of Counsel, experts and financial forensic experts whom we can call upon to assist our clients during this process.