Expert litigator Elaine Whiteford to boost BLP’s contentious competition capability

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has announced that highly regarded litigator Elaine Whiteford, a barrister who specialises in major competition law disputes in the English and EU courts, is to join its rapidly expanding Competition, EU and Trade Group as a partner. She joins BLP from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London.

The appointment reflects the increasing importance of competition litigation. Competition authorities worldwide continue to enforce the competition rules vigorously, and many major cartel and abuse of dominance investigations now generate follow-on actions for damages from parties adversely affected by the relevant conduct.

Elaine has exceptional experience in this area, having worked on many of the most significant competition litigation cases of the last decade, as well as on leading cases raising points of EU law in the European and national courts.  These include:

·  advising on several actions in the High Court and in the Competition Appeal Tribunal for damages that followed the investigation of the vitamins cartels in the 1990s;

·  advising on the first follow-on claim for damages to be tried in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, in a case arising from abuse of dominance in the rail sector;

·  advising a major tobacco company on challenges to EU directives and in the negotiations that led to multilateral agreements to combat illicit trade in cigarettes; and

·  obtaining the first ever interim suspension of UK Regulations implementing an EU Directive, pending a ruling by the European Court of Justice on the legality of the Directive.

Elaine taught EU law and UK constitutional law for seven years before joining the Bar and has published widely on EU and competition law.

Elaine’s skills will complement those of BLP’s existing Competition, EU and Trade Group, which has a strong track record in major competition and EU litigation cases, including advising companies such as National Grid, Sports Direct and Thames Water. The existing partner team, headed by David Harrison, includes Andrew Hockley and Adrian Magnus in the UK, and Dave Anderson in Brussels.  The recent recruitment of Vasiliki Avgoustidi has added international trade law expertise, which complements the Group’s existing practice and also involves major contentious cases.

David Harrison said: “Competition litigation is rapidly growing in importance.  Most major cartel investigations now result in follow-on damages claims, and together with the firm’s litigation and dispute resolution department we are handling an array of contentious competition and regulatory cases.  Clients want help to develop litigation strategies early on during investigations, so that they are prepared for all the likely consequences of cartel behaviour.  By involving a specialist competition litigator in major investigations from the outset, we will be well positioned to assist clients in any subsequent litigation.  Elaine brings tremendous skills and experience not only in competition cases, but also in regulated sectors and EU litigation.  This will enable us to give clients the highest quality advice in these key areas and will complement our existing strengths.”

Elaine said: “I am excited to be joining such a highly regarded team. BLP’s Competition, EU and Trade Group is involved in some of the most complex regulatory investigations and challenging competition litigation. I look forward to contributing to the development of this growing area of the firm’s practice”.

Senior competition lawyer Stuart Davis to join BLP from BG Group

BLP is also delighted to announce that Stuart Davis, currently BG Group’s Senior Principal Counsel (Competition, Regulation and Government Affairs), will be joining BLP’s “Managed Legal Service” team based at Thames Water in Reading as Senior Solicitor for Competition and Regulation.  BLP acts as Thames Water’s outsourced legal partner, with 11 lawyers based permanently at Thames Water’s Reading office.  Commenting on the move, Stephen Allen, Commercial Director of the Managed Legal Service, noted that: “We are very excited that a competition expert of Stuart’s calibre and experience is joining the Managed Legal Service to add to the integrated support that BLP provides to Thames Water across its range of legal requirements”.  Stuart Davis noted that: “this is an exciting and challenging time to be joining the water sector, given the extensive liberalisation likely to occur over the coming months.  Working for BLP’s Managed Legal Service gives me the best of the in-house and private practice worlds, enabling me to work side by side with the client as well as with BLP’s strong competition and regulatory practice.”

The recruitment of Elaine and Stuart follows a number of other major hires by BLP in the last few months, boosting capabilities in key areas of the firm. These include, in the last three months alone, the following partners: Paul Simcock (Banking and Capital Markets in London); Oleg Khocklov (Corporate Finance in Moscow); Andrew Sanders (Real Estate in London); Evgeny Timanev (Tax in Russia); Marc Hanson (Construction, Engineering and Procurement in London) and Richard Davies (Construction in Abu Dhabi).

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