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Competition

A reputation as a ‘leading regional heavyweight’ for commercial matters."

Legal 500  2018
Commercial, Banking, Insolvency and Chancery law

As one of the leading commercial law sets in the South West, St John’s Chambers offer a breadth of expertise in UK, EU and international competition law matters. Barristers within the Competition team provide advice and representation on all areas of competition law and related areas, whether contentious or non-contentious.

Areas of expertise:

  • Cartels and anti-competitive practices
  • Abuse of a dominant position
  • Market studies and investigations
  • Merger control
  • State aid
  • Procurement
  • Economic regulation
  • EU structural funds, including the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund

Our leading barristers have broad sector experience and understand the importance of providing commercially-focused, technically astute and cost-effective advice. We work with our clients to achieve their commercial objectives whilst avoiding or minimising regulatory risk.

Our barristers have particular experience in:

  • Appeals against decisions of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the European Commission (EC), and other competition and regulatory authorities.
  • Competition litigation, including stand-alone and follow-on damages actions.
  • Judicial review proceedings involving competition and regulatory authorities.
  • Representing clients subject to CMA and EC anti-trust and regulatory investigations, including into suspected cartels, abuses of a dominant position and other anti-competitive conduct.
  • Assisting clients subject to dawn raids by CMA and EC officials, including representing law firms in London and elsewhere during inspections conducted at clients based in the South West and South Wales.
  • Advising clients on CMA market studies and investigations.
  • Advising on the EU State aid rules, including on the General Block Exemption Regulation, notifications to and investigations by the EC and related litigation.
  • Advising on the application of competition law to a wide range of commercial agreements and business practices and, where appropriate, drafting such agreements.
  • Merger control proceedings before the CMA, EC and other authorities, for both merging parties and third parties
  • Ensuring compliance with the public procurement rules.
  • Advising clients in receipt of EU funding (including ERDF and ESF) on complying with their procurement obligations and representing them in national and EU investigations into suspected procurement irregularities.

Recent cases include:

  • CMA investigation into Beijer Ref/HRP merger (2016) (advising Beijer Ref)
  • EC investigation into Hutchison 3G UK/Telefónica UK (O2) (2016) (advising a third party)
  • Queens Park Rangers v The Football League (financial fair play rules) (2017)
  • Advising a number of local authorities on the application of EU state aid rules to ERDF funding of local energy and heating schemes and renewable energy projects
    Advising a number of universities, colleges and other public bodies on the application of EU state aid rules to ERDF and other public funding of innovation centres
  • Representing recipients of ERDF grants on UK government and EU investigations into suspected procurement irregularities

Our team appear before the UK and EU courts and also represent clients at mediations, arbitrations and other forms of ADR. They also represent clients in relation to investigations by and proceedings before the CMA, EC and other authorities.

Our Competition team is led by Matthew O’Regan, a former Solicitor-Advocate, who has over 20 years’ experience of all aspects of UK, EU and international competition law and is recognised as a leading competition practitioner. A former partner at Burges Salmon LLP, he also practised for over a decade in the Brussels office of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

As well as accepting instructions from solicitors, all our team members can also accept instructions from in-house lawyers and foreign lawyers.

Public Access

All our team members can accept instructions direct from industry professionals under the Licensed Access scheme. This allows members of licensed organisations to instruct us in a cost-effective way without having to go through a solicitor.

Some members of the team are also available to act, where appropriate, for members of the public, as well as commercial and non-commercial organisations, under the Public Access scheme. In particular, this enables us to advise businesses (particularly SMEs) that do not have their own in-house legal teams in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Read more.

Training

The team delivers workshops and seminars in Chambers and regional centres. We also provide training on behalf of local Law Societies and in conjunction with solicitors firms. In addition we can give tailored in-house training for particular firms, local authorities and other public bodies or businesses (including on State aid and anti-trust compliance). If you would like any further information please contact Robert Bocock.