EU and Competition Litigation
We regularly represent clients on the contentious aspects of competition law including private actions for damages, State aid, public procurement
and EU law, before national courts (especially in the UK and Germany) and before the EU General Court and Court of Justice in Luxembourg. We also regularly advise on competition law issues in arbitration proceedings and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
Our experience includes advising on appeals against competition decisions of the European Commission and national competition authorities in the UK and Germany. We also have extensive experience of advising clients in stand-alone competition litigation, both in relation to the validity of commercial agreements or practices and in the bringing or defending of private actions for damages arising from competition law breaches.
Our recent contentious competition experience includes:
- advising Eurotunnel on its appeal in July 2013 to the CAT against a decision following a UK in-depth merger investigation into the acquisition of certain ex-SeaFrance assets, which led to the quashing of the merger decision;
- advising Eurotunnel on its appeal in July 2014 to the CAT against a merger decision of the CMA prohibiting Eurotunnel's acquisition of the ex- SeaFrance assets;
- advising National Grid in relation to an investigation by Ofgem under Article 102/Chapter II into National Grid’s domestic-sized gas meter service agreements, including advising the company on its appeals (to the CAT and Court of Appeal) against the Ofgem infringement decision and fine of £41.6 million which was reduced on appeal to £15 million;
- advising Hanson Quarry Products Europe in its appeal to the CAT against aspects of a decision relating to the market investigation into aggregates, ready-mixed concrete and cement;
- advising two addressees of UK antitrust infringement decisions in the construction sector on their successful appeals to the CAT, leading to reductions of over 80% in the penalties imposed;
- advising companies in relation to competition follow-on damages actions, including in the CAT, High Court and Court of Appeal;
- advising on a complex defence based on EU and German competition laws as part of substantial international arbitration proceedings;
- advising on EU and German competition law aspects of a transatlantic patent litigation;
Our recent contentious public procurement experience includes:
- Covanta Energy on its successful interim injunction application to prevent a £1.3bn waste contract from being signed by Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority. This case was arguably the first of its kind, and certainly "bucked the trend" in the Courts finding against claimants in procurement challenges. We also represented Covanta in its application for early specific disclosure.
- Liconic AG on the successful defence of a strike out application by UK Biocentre Ltd which sought to strike out Liconic AG's claim on the basis that the EU public procurement regime was not applicable to UK Biocentre Ltd. We continue to advise Liconic AG in respect of its procurement law claim.
- A national house builder in a procurement challenge against a London Borough Council for the delivery of a high value urban redevelopment, including a substantial number of new private and social houses. Our client's case centred on the argument that the preferred bidder chosen by the Council had not been appointed to the framework agreement being used and was not therefore entitled to be awarded call-off contracts. This point was later conceded by the Council and the matter settled on mutually agreeable terms, which included our client being awarded preferred bidder status.
- NHS 24 in respect of the successful defence of a procurement challenge in the Court of Session which including the lifting of a suspension order. The procurement process related to the procurement of NHS 24's entire front line services.
- A UK Central Government Department in successfully discouraging a procurement challenge to a multi-million pound land development and works project for training and accommodation facilities. An unsuccessful bidder alleged certain illegalities in the process and threatened legal action in the Courts. We engaged with the bidder in detailed correspondence to give comfort that the process followed was fully compliant. Following a substantial de-brief process, the bidder was satisfied and no Court action was issued.
- Pi Communication in a procurement challenge against the award of a substantial public services contract relating to broadcasting services. The authority in this matter had awarded the contract to an incumbent provider and our client alleged that the procurement process was flawed in such a way as to give incumbent providers an unfair advantage. The challenge was not defended by the authority and the award decision was cancelled, giving our client another opportunity to bid for the contract.
- A major private sector healthcare service provider in respect of negotiating a settlement in a procurement challenge in the High Court regarding a multi-million pound managed equipment services contract. The case ultimately settled in our client's favour.