From plc to SME, corporates to charities and the third sector, competition law applies to organisations which offer goods and services.
A significant part of the UK law has been based on EU legislation but the key elements of competition law are largely unaffected by Brexit. Compliance is as important as ever. That means understanding the law surrounding anti-competitive agreements (such as bid-rigging and market sharing agreements) and abuse of dominance (market power).
UK merger control has always been ‘standalone’ and comes into play in JVs and acquisitions as well as ‘true’ mergers.
In the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Competition Appeal Tribunal, the UK has a well-established enforcement and judicial framework. The CMA has shown that it is prepared to tackle any sector from pharmaceuticals to musical instruments, ophthalmologists to hand sanitisers and its remit looks only set to expand.
Subsidy control (the new EU state aid equivalent) is also part of the ‘competition tree’ and the UK Government approach to such essential funding is a work in progress – that means experienced advice. For more on our state aid and subsidy control expertise see here.
What do you need?
Perhaps a competitor is threatening to complain to the CMA and you are unsure what to do. We can help you refute unfounded claims (and make sound ones if you’re being treated unfairly). It might be that good corporate governance means that training is required and you need a compliance policy. Or you might be active in a sector which is caught up in a market investigation and the CMA is requiring your co-operation.
If you’re considering an acquisition, particularly of a competitor, we can also guide you through UK merger control.
We will help you navigate the complexities in a jargon-free, constructive manner so you can make the best decisions.
“Lindsay is a great competition lawyer, really helpful and goes the extra mile for her clients. She was able to quickly unravel some fairly complex matters in one of the trickiest areas of competition law, on tight timescales, and gave really pragmatic and commercial advice which was easy to understand and implement. Highly recommended.”
Lindsay […] has been providing strategic advice and tactics on how to deal with competitors and suppliers with dominant market positions. Lindsay is well informed about recent case law and also “streetwise” and able to provide practical advice to avoid potential conflicts. We certainly recommend Lindsay and [Bates Wells] for competition law advice.
Advising a UK Government Department on EU State aid considerations in supporting a failing sector. This involved consideration of the complex rules on aid to SMEs and access to finance under GBER and the role of public service obligations.
Advising a major household white goods manufacturer on restrictions in its supply agreements, particularly in respect of after-sales maintenance and the provision of spare parts.
Advising and training the Board of a UK-wide trade association in the recreation sector on competition compliance and policy requirements
Advising a well-known membership body (and charity) on its commercial activities, applying the rules on anti-competitive agreements (including restriction on on-line sales) and abuse of dominance.
Helping a major non-EU gas company determine whether to pursue a proposed acquisition subject to UK merger control. This involved considering CMA interest to date in the sector and carrying out market share assessments of likely (other) bidders and the merger control issues they might face.