Shepherd and Wedderburn has picked up the Competition Team of the Year title at The Lawyer Awards 2014. The awards, now in their 20th year, are a celebration of excellence in the profession across private practice, the public sector, commerce and industry and the Bar.
From the many nominations received, the judging panel looked for cases that were both significant and well managed. The market abuse case in which Shepherd and Wedderburn acted for Albion Water qualified on both counts. In that case, the Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) ordered record damages to be paid by Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water to compensate Albion Water for loss of profit and opportunity.
The victory was significant in that it created precedents in how courts deal with dominant network providers. As the first CAT case to be third-party funded, it also created a realistic framework and route for smaller organisations to pursue cases against those with more financial muscle, demonstrating that smaller companies can enter a market without being forced into insolvency or hindered by a monopolist.
Over the past year, Shepherd and Wedderburn has acted in and won a number of other high-profile competition cases across the retail and financial services sectors. Recently, the firm advised John Lewis in the investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority into the pricing of sports bras — a case that was later dropped. In another case, it obtained a High Court injunction for a refusal to supply.