Competition law remains high on the corporate agenda, emphasised by the ongoing global crack-down on cartels and the increased role of state subsidies during the financial crisis. We understand these priorities, and take a proactive approach to addressing our clients’ competition and regulatory compliance needs.
We have excellent relations with EU and national competition authorities, with members of our team having acted as non-governmental advisers to national and international competition bodies. Our strong media contacts also enable us to manage successful communications strategies.
Our team, located across London, Brussels and Moscow, includes leading practitioners with years of experience advising on the most complex transactions and cases at EU and national level. Global Competition Review Top 100 has named us “one of the world’s leading competition practices”.
As a result of our work acting for National Grid in one of the largest and most prominent cartel follow on damages claims in the English courts, the Antitrust & Competition team were awarded ‘Litigation of the Year - Cartel Prosecution’ by the Global Competition Review.
We have been awarded Competition Team of Year at The Lawyer Awards 2015. for our work on a complex, multi-party cartel damages claim for National Grid.
Teamwork, tenacity and a refusal to accept ‘how things are done’ helped us to pursue one of England’s largest cartel damages claims.
In January 2007 the European Commission ruled that the companies that supplied it with a major component of its power substations had been operating a cartel. National Grid Electricity Transmission plc asked us to claim follow-on damages in the English courts to recover losses plus interest from those involved in the cartel.
The case began in November 2008 with a claim for £275m, making it the biggest action of its kind in England.
The European Commission ruled that a cartel existed, but decided nothing about its impact on National Grid. We needed to show that the illegal behaviour caused losses for our client, and also that it hadn’t simply passed these on to its customers through higher prices.
It was clear from the beginning that we would have to test many issues in court, and show initiative to get the right outcome for our client.
Along the way, our team established several ground-breaking rulings in the courts; three were particularly important, and set precedents for similar cases:
Our client's claim was settled in 2014, just before the trial was due to start.
Beyond the court rulings and the outcome we obtained for our client, this case has sparked a very open debate on significant points of legal process. In particular, the ruling on the disclosure of leniency material has had an important influence on the forthcoming EU Damages Directive.
For all the details of how the it panned out, read the full case study.