The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and certain sectoral regulators have far-reaching powers to investigate suspected competition law infringements and markets that otherwise appear not to be operating competitively, in the UK. In the EU, the European Commission (alongside national competition authorities) also have extensive investigatory powers.
We have considerable experience advising clients under investigation. We readily identify and provide guidance on the relevant strategic and tactical considerations, as well as helping to manage the practicalities of the process.
Our competition law team has been involved in a number of the CMA and European Commission’s high-profile competition investigations and has achieved notable successes. We draw on the latest in forensics technology to identify relevant evidence as quickly as possible. This helps to inform our advice on strategy. We have also used sophisticated legal arguments to minimise the significance of the penalties imposed by the regulators when an infringement has occurred.
- Successfully defending a pharmacy operator under investigation by the CMA for alleged excessive pricing of hand sanitiser products, leading to the CMA swiftly dropping the case against our client.
- Representing a party under investigation in a CMA airport facilities case, securing rapid case closure on behalf of our client (the CMA proceeded to impose a fine of £1.6 million in a related case).
- Representing Micronclean Limited in the CMA’s market sharing investigation into cleanroom laundries and successfully securing a 90% discount off the fine
- Advising a retailer involved in the CMA’s RPM infringement investigation into musical instruments, in which the CMA imposed a fine of £4.5 million Fender
- Advising an interested party in relation to the CMA’s investigation into Compare The Market’s use of MFNs, in which the CMA imposed a fine on Compare The Market of £17.9 million
- Acting for various individuals called in for interview by the CMA, including in relation to one of its investigations in the pharmaceuticals sector
- Advising a major UK insurer on the CMA’s market investigation into private motor insurance.
- Advising a major funeral care provider on the CMA’s market investigation into the UK funeral industry.
- In relation to the EU’s wire harness cartel investigation, advising one of the major market players in defending its interests both during the dawn raid and the subsequent investigation. The case is of interest because of the large amount of data that had to be reviewed (over one million documents), the existence of novel matters to consider and that the client avoided being named in the Statement of Objections, thus avoiding an EU negative decision and fine.
Acting for a major non-EU nuclear power company in relation to an EU abuse of dominance investigation. The case was interesting because at the time the EU Commission’s jurisdiction over competition aspects in the sector was not unambiguously clear. Also, the matter had a high political profile, with meetings between the Competition Commissioner and the relevant country Ambassador.