Bernardine Adkins Partner Head of EU, Trade and Competition

Speaks:  English, French

Qualified: 1992 - Solicitor of England & Wales

Primary phone: +44 (0)37 0733 0649

Fax: +44 (0)7841 899 302


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Primary office:  London

Secondary office:  Brussels

Bernardine Adkins

Bernardine is utterly client-focused and brings technical cutting edge advice to every matter on which she works, with a  proven ability to keep sight of the 'bigger picture'.

A graduate of the College of Europe, Bruges, Bernardine has a wealth of over 25 years' EU, trade and competition law experience, providing clients with strategic advice before the European Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority (formerly, the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission).

Bernardine has a strong reputation as an innovative competition litigator advising on some of the most high-profile and complex cases in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, the High Court and the Court of Appeal. She has particular expertise in relation to damages claims (defendant and claimant) and also the IP/competition interface.

Having spent many years living and working in Brussels, she has a sound understanding of the European Union institutions and an enviable network of contacts within the Brussels Community.

Consistently recognised as a 'leading individual' by legal directories, she is described in Chambers as a "heavyweight antitrust specialist".

Bernardine is a member of the advisory board of the Competition Law Forum at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, American Chamber of Commerce Competition Policy committee, the Competition Law Association and the Law Society Competition Section.

Bernardine is also widely published, being an authoress of 'Air Transport and EU Competition Law' (Sweet and Maxwell) and is the General Editor of Private Antitrust Litigation (Thomson Reuters). She has recently contributed to: Merger Control - Jurisdictional Comparisons (3rd edition), published by Sweet & Maxwell; and Merger Control 2018, published by Chambers & Partners.


  • Bernardine was listed in The Lawyer's 'Hot 100' report and her team won the British Legal Awards 'Litigation and Regulation Team of the Year' when she acted for Thomas Vale Construction plc in appealing the magnitude of the penalty imposed by the Office of Fair Trading following its largest ever investigation into competition law infringements in the UK. Her advocacy in the case, which was recognised in the judgment, resulted in the overturning of established case law, and in the OFT determining to change its fining policy. 
  • Advising Origin Enterprises plc on numerous acquisitions of competitors active in the agrochemical sector, including securing several clearances in the UK. 
  • Dixons Carphone Warehouse in relation to bringing claims for damages against certain MasterCard entities before the High Court and the Competition Appeal Tribunal, based upon the European Commission's infringement decision over multi-lateral interchange fees. This case is also named by the Lawyer as one of the "Top 20 Cases to Watch in 2016."
  • Thai Airways in defending contribution claims for damages brought before the High Court, arising from the European Commission's cartel infringement decision concerning air cargo.
  • A major manufacturer in defending a multi-million pound claim for damages brought before the High Court, arising from the European Commission's cartel infringement decision in relation to animal feed phosphates. We worked with economists to reduce considerably the quantum of damages sought.
  • A key producer in defending a contribution claim for damages brought before the High Court, arising from the European Commission's cartel infringement decision in connection with copper fittings.
  • Acting in the Galvanised Steel Water Tank cartel case, which was the first case where the question of individual criminal responsibility for breach of the UK competition rule was put to a jury. Bernardine acted for a manufacturer of construction inputs, including attending the initial dawn raid and leniency application.
  • A leading private manufacturer defending an action before the High Court alleging certain patent-related breaches of EU competition law and abuse of dominant position.
  • A major participant in voluntary standards development organisations on EU competition law issues arising in the context of two of the largest patent disputes brought before the English courts.
  • A manufacturer of aircraft seats on EU competition law issues, notably abuse of a dominant position, in relation to a patent litigation action before the High Court. This was combined with a complaint to the European Commission.
  • Representing the complainant in a European Commission anti-dumping investigation into alleged dumped Chinese imports.
  • In relation to mergers, before the Competition Commission, successfully obtaining the unconditional clearance of the anticipated acquisition by Wienerberger Finance Service BV (Wienerberger) of Baggeridge Brick plc (Baggeridge), a transaction which reduced the number of brick producers in the UK from 4 to 3. Bernardine acted for Baggeridge during the notification of the transaction to the Office of Fair Trading, and subsequently, and extremely unusually, represented both Baggeridge and Wienerberger before the Competition Commission. The quality of the legal arguments and economic evidence submitted, together with exemplary project management, achieved unconditional clearance for the buyer and seller.
  • Acting for the proprietors of Ricoh Arena in the case of R (on the application of Sky Blue Sports and Leisure Ltd and another) v Coventry City Council and others concerning the judicial review under the EU State aid rules of the financial arrangements put into place by Coventry City Council to support Ricoh Arena. The judicial review was dismissed at first instance, and this was confirmed by the Court of Appeal.
  • Advising a mining group on the potential application of the EU and US sanctions regimes in respect of Zimbabwe to the proposed disposal of a Zimbabwean asset.
  • Advising a multi-national conglomerate on the potential application of the EU sanctions regime to proposed new business ventures in Iran.

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2022

  • 2020

  • 2019

    • Rankings & Awards
      Chambers (UK) 2020 - Competition Law: The Regions - Band 1
  • 2018

    • Rankings & Awards
      Chambers UK 2019 (Competition Law: The Regions) - Band 1
  • 2016

    • Rankings & Awards
      Leading individual, Legal 500 - EU & Competition
    • Career
  • 2014

    • Career
  • 1999

    • Career
  • 1992

    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
      Qualified, Solicitor of England & Wales
  • 1987

    • Education
      Bar Finals, qualifying as a barrister
  • 1986

    • Education
      Council of Legal Education
    • Education
      College d'Europe, Bruges
  • 1985

    • Education
      Bristol University LLB (Hons), Law