EU, competition and trade

Our competition team specialises in UK and EU competition law and related regulatory work. We combine high-level technical expertise with pragmatic commercial solutions on competition/regulatory issues and offer clients a comprehensive service.

Areas of expertise includes:

  • Merger control
  • Cartels
  • Commercial agreements
  • Restrictive practices
  • Compliance programmes
  • State aid
  • Public procurement
  • Customs, trade and anti-dumping
  • Litigation of competition and trade disputes

We regularly advise clients on gaining merger clearance before the UK and overseas competition authorities and provide merger arbitrage advice for many leading financial institutions.

Members of the team have represented clients before the UK and EU competition authorities in several high-profile competition investigations and we act for both complainants and parties under investigation in Competition Act and market enquiries. In addition, we handle dawn raid investigations, which may give rise to civil or criminal liabilities and have experience of other sector regulators including ORR, Ofgem, the OFT and Ofcom.

On a day-to-day level we can advise you on competition issues relating to commercial agreements and practices, including joint ventures, co-operative arrangements, supply agreements, distribution/agency agreements, IP licences, pricing and marketing schemes, and behavioural issues. The team has rolled out competition compliance programmes for a number of major multinational clients and regularly provides competition law training and audits.

Members of the team work closely with colleagues in our Brussels office to provide clients with regular briefings on EU law and policy. In conjunction with our associated European alliance firms and correspondent firms in other countries, we advise on cross-border merger and cartel issues internationally.

Public sector

EU public procurement
Our competition team is experienced in advising on competitive tendering and bidding procedures under the EU public procurement directives. We are regularly involved in drafting OJEU contract notices; advising on tendering procedures; structuring agreements to comply with EU requirements; scoring and evaluating competing bids; and advising on technical specifications. We have also represented parties in several procurement disputes, both in the UK courts and before the European Commission and European Court of Justice.

State aid
Members of the team regularly advise a number of public sector bodies on their obligations under EU state aid rules. Our clients include central and local government, other public bodies such as RDAs and public sector undertakings. We liaise closely with the DTI’s state aid policy unit, ODPM and the European Commission on state aid policy issues and we have acted on a number of notifications seeking state aid approval for major UK regeneration projects. We have also dealt with state aid litigation before the European courts. With the modernisation of the state aid framework, substantial changes in EU law and policy in this area will have a significant impact on the UK public sector in the next few years.

Competition law
Our lawyers advise the public sector on UK and EU competition law issues, where they are engaging in commercial activities. The team combines lawyers from our EU and public sector groups, in order to bring together the skills required to advise public authorities and contractors in these areas.

For more information on EU, competition and trade click here.