Competition Law & Antitrust

Global

Competition law issues are increasingly challenging, with critical implications that often transcend national borders.

Whether you're the subject of a cartel investigation or a class action, considering an acquisition, dealing with pricing or distribution issues, accused of misusing market power or countering a competitor's latest move in the market, you need access to knowledgeable and experienced advisers you can trust.

With a strong track record of success, the specialists at Gowling WLG will steer you through this complex and dynamic area, providing competitive advantage, technically sound, strategic advice and absolute certainty on what needs to be done - and when and why it needs to happen.

More often than not, you need solutions fast. Our team responds quickly in any situation across a range of key industry sectors, including agrochemicals, aviation, automotive, construction, energy, fast-moving consumer goods, food and drink, healthcare, heavy engineering, life sciences, and technology, media and telecommunications.

Clients worldwide trust and value our expertise and view our team as an extension of their in-house team. We're constantly looking for technically sound and practical solutions to the problems that others may not see, while sharing knowledge of processes and tactics gained from working within competition and regulatory authorities.

Combining both trial and antitrust specialists, our team prides itself on resolving clients' issues that arise with respect to a full range of competition and antitrust issues, including:

  • Cartels - multi-jurisdictional civil and criminal investigations and inquiries, including internal investigations and leniency and immunity applications
  • Co-operative arrangements and strategic alliances
  • Criminal prosecutions of individuals
  • Daily counselling for both global corporations and innovative new market entrants
  • IP/competition law interface - including FRAND and misuse of regulatory systems
  • Merger clearance - both national and multi-jurisdictional, including foreign investment review where necessary
  • Monopolisation (dominance)
  • Pricing issues
  • Private competition litigation and arbitration, including national and cross-border antitrust class actions
  • State aid
  • Strategic opinions in relation to business-critical issues
  • Supply and distribution strategies
  • Trade association issues

Gowling WLG also offers you business critical planning to minimise your exposure to antitrust risks in the achievement of your commercial goals. We provide practical support and strategic thought leadership, particularly in the context of merger review, and vigorously defend antitrust litigation and investigations.

We're experienced in running complex cases before competition law enforcement bodies, including the Canadian Competition Tribunal and courts, the European Commission, the European Court of Justice and the courts of the EU Member States, including the English High Court and Competition Appeal Tribunal.

With over 1,400 legal professionals around the world, you can count on Gowling WLG to mobilise the right resources to effectively deal with the competition/antitrust issues you face - while delivering exceptional service, value and results. Please contact us to find out more.

Canada

Whether your organization is the subject of an investigation, considering an acquisition, dealing with pricing issues, or countering a competitor's latest move, you need knowledgeable, experienced counsel who can handle your most complex competition and antitrust law matters.

Gowling WLG's Competition & Antitrust Law Group delivers on all counts. With an ideal combination of competition lawyers, industry experts and regulatory professionals, we offer strategic legal advice to help you achieve your unique business goals.

Our Canada-wide team holds unparalleled experience in dealing with multijurisdictional competition and antitrust matters. From day-to-day business issues to dawn-raid crisis response, we deliver timely, pragmatic advice on all aspects of Canada's competition law regime, including:

  • Compliance and strategic opinions
  • Merger reviews, filings and clearances (including the Investment Canada Act and the Canada Transportation Act, where necessary)
  • Private competition litigation, including national and cross-border antitrust class actions
  • Supply and distribution strategies
  • Pricing issues
  • Civil and criminal Competition Bureau investigations and inquiries, including internal investigations and leniency and immunity applications
  • Internal compliance policies, seminars and programs
  • Trade association issues
  • Criminal prosecutions​

Ranked in a host of prestigious legal directories - such as The Best Lawyers in Canada, the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory and Benchmark Canada - our professionals include the immediate past Senior Deputy Commissioner of Competition (the second-most senior official in the Canadian Competition Bureau) and top competition litigators with extensive experience before the Canadian Competition Tribunal and all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Our litigators have been involved in some of Canada's most important antitrust cases, and have successfully represented clients from a wide range of industries in relation to Competition Act matters, as well as in civil and criminal proceedings. These include price-fixing class actions and conspiracy and bid-rigging prosecutions.

With offices across Canada and around the world, we're ready to draw on the top-tier competition and antitrust expertise of our group wherever - and whenever - you need us.

Learn more

To learn more about how we can help you, please contact any member of our team.

France

When it comes to competition and antitrust law, you want to avoid litigation. Disputes can be costly, time consuming and, ultimately, a threat to your business. This means you need lawyers who can help you to avoid the risk of prosecution. At the same time, they must be able to defend you during high-stakes, complex litigation.

Our team of lawyers in France combines advanced business knowledge with in-depth expertise, and can advise you on the management of commercial risks inherent in your national, European or international activities.

Areas we can guide you on include:

  • Anti-competitive practices and restrictions on competition
  • Arbitration and alternative dispute resolution
  • Business concentrations
  • Compliance programmes
  • Domestic and multijurisdictional litigation
  • Inspections by the Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF)
  • Management of commercial relations
  • Negotiations and drafting of contracts
  • Relations between suppliers and distributors
  • Risk management
  • Negotiation with the French competition authority (ADLC)

Our team also assists in creating effective contracts - from contract formation to the termination of established business relations. We can help you develop strategies or solutions that will help you avoid litigation or come out on top during high-stakes disputes.

In short, we'll look out for your best interests at all times.

Learn more

For the experience, strength and understanding of French law that you need, Gowling WLG offers you an outstanding service. It would be great to hear from you.

UK

When you are choosing a legal partner, we believe you will always be in the best position if you select a law firm that understands your world. When it comes to antitrust and competition law, you need experts on hand that can provide strategic advice based upon extensive experience. Your competition lawyer needs to understand the issues that will affect you now, and in the future.

We take the time to gain an overview of your goals and to understand how these fit into your wider commercial ambitions. We combine first-class legal expertise with a deep understanding of evolving policy, providing you with practical advice on how to promote and protect your business interests.

Expertise in Competition Law & Antitrust

Articles
UK merger control: greater scope for government intervention

The UK government recently made and proposed revisions to the UK merger control regime, which are intended to increase its ability to intervene in transactions and investments affecting certain aspects of the UK economy.

What is antitrust and competition law?

Antitrust and competition law exists to ensure that markets are competitive. Infringements of competition law and antitrust violations can have significant financial and reputational consequences for companies. They can also affect individuals if criminal sanctions and director disqualification orders are imposed.

Amongst other aspects, antitrust and competition law:

  • prohibits arrangements that restrict competition (e.g. under Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and the Chapter I Prohibition of the Competition Act 1998), including price fixing cartels;
  • prohibits conduct which is an abuse of a dominant position (e.g. under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and the Chapter II Prohibition of the Competition Act 1998);
  • enables authorities to intervene in mergers and joint ventures, potentially blocking deals, or ordering that these are undone;
  • applies to distribution arrangements, including in relation to e-commerce and online sales;
  • applies to the licensing and enforcement of intellectual property rights, including patents;
  • enables authorities to investigate markets and sectors, potentially imposing market or sector-wide remedies to address any identified competition concerns; and
  • prohibits certain forms of State aid, preventing support from public bodies giving companies advantages over their competitors.

Antitrust and competition law can be complex, with its application evolving constantly as markets emerge and develop. New products and services are always raising novel questions and issues to consider. Developments may present opportunities but they also present challenges and compliance risks.

Working across our offices, our team is at the forefront of legal developments. We have a proven track record of enabling businesses to achieve their commercial goals in compliance with antitrust and competition law.

Clients worldwide trust and value our expertise and see the team as an extension of their own in-house legal function (with the added benefit of external counsel legal privilege).

Antitrust and competition law services

Antitrust and competition law specialists with practical experience

[The team] excels at advising on cartels, contentious matters, …merger control issues, and on the competition law aspects of distribution agreements and other commercial arrangements. The Legal 500 (UK)

Our work across a wide range of sectors and matters enables us to provide our clients with the advice they need, when they need it. Examples of previous past engagements include:

  • Dawn raids and investigations

    Advising an energy supplier in an investigation by a national authority into a suspected market sharing cartel. This included attending the dawn raid and defending the client throughout the investigation, including before the authority at Oral Hearings. Our work on this matter was "Highly Commended" at the British Legal Awards.

  • Competition law and antitrust litigation

    Advising Thai Airways in defending a multi-million pound action for damages brought before the High Court of England and Wales following the European Commission’s cartel decision in respect of air cargo. The team received Global Competition Review's annual "Cartel Defence" award for its work on this matter.

  • Intellectual property

    Advising a technology owner on antitrust and competition law issues in relation to patents declared essential to standards (SEPs). This included defending a complaint alleging an abuse of a dominant position made to the European Commission with regard to the enforcement of SEPs.

  • Merger control

    Advising companies across a range of sectors on merger control issues in relation to key strategic acquisitions and investments. This includes advising The Estée Lauder Companies on a USD 1.45 billion acquisition, and advising a provider of electrical and digital solutions on its USD 1.2 billion acquisition of a technology company.

  • Distribution and e-commerce

    Advising brand owners and OEMs upon competition law and antitrust issues in relation to the distribution of products within the UK and EU. This includes luxury goods, pharmaceutical products, and automotive spare parts.

  • State aid

    Advising a key government department on State aid issues arising from the planned award of a major long-term contract with a value exceeding GBP 1 billion.

Recognition for antitrust and competition law expertise

[The team] stands out for representing claimants and defendants in follow-on damages claims. [The team also] assists clients with the competition aspects of corporate transactions, such as merger control matters [and] advised clients on dawn raids and sector investigations.Chambers & Partners (UK)

Chambers and Partners (UK) recommends and ranks partner Bernardine Adkins as a Band 1 leading individual. Commentators describe her as "fantastic, very practical and very friendly".

The Legal 500 (UK) recommends partner Bernardine Adkins for EU and competition law, as well as for competition litigation.

The Legal 500 (UK) recommends partner Samuel Beighton, and ranks him as a "Next Generation Partner" for EU and competition law.

Sectors

Contact the team

Bernardine Adkins
Partner, Head of Antitrust, Competition and Trade Law (Birmingham / London / Brussels)

Bernardine has over 25 years' experience in antitrust and competition law. Providing strategic advice and support, Bernardine is utterly client-focused and brings first class technical ability to every matter on which she is engaged.

Samuel Beighton
Partner, Antitrust and Competition Law (London / Brussels)

With a background in competition law economics, Samuel's practice addresses all aspects of UK and EU antitrust and competition law. Samuel works closely with clients to enable them to grow and protect their business interests.

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For advice on competition & antitrust, contact a member of our team.

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