Businesses can be adversely affected by competition law risks. Our experienced competition law practitioners can provide advice and solutions and, where necessary, litigate. The team’s contentious and non-contentious expertise is across the full range of commercial contracts, ‘dominant position’ abuses, compliance issues, ‘dawn raid’ investigations and anti-competitive agreements. We can also advise on competition and procurement issues arising from Brexit.
Public procurement and state aid are increasingly important and increasingly regulated. Our specialists advise on contractual matters for authorities and for bidders, working with public sector and commercial companies to ensure compliance and assisting in meeting the imperatives of value for money, sustainability and community benefit.
The issue of cartels has become increasingly important. This is another area where we can help. Our commercial team is at the forefront of advising on civil damages claims in Scotland based on European Union Cartel decisions. We have particular experience relating to compensation claims arising from anti-competitive practices, such as the ‘trucks cartel’ which is said to have artificially increased the price of trucks throughout Europe.
How can we help?
Compliance and Investigations
There is perhaps nothing quite as chilling as receiving an unexpected visit (or “dawn raid”) by the European Commission or Competition and Markets Authority or being told that you’re under investigation. Our team of competition lawyers have advised a number of clients who have been subject to investigations by the competition authorities and are on hand to provide urgent advice on how to manage an investigation, including making representations and handling leniency applications.
The risk of significant fines, adverse publicity and even criminal sanctions mean that Competition Law risks cannot be ignored by businesses. With our in-depth knowledge and extensive experience we can advise on how to mitigate the risk of an investigation by providing Competition Compliance Policies, conducting market analysis and reviewing commercial contracts to prevent them falling foul of the rules.
Merger control is an essential element in many transactions. We can advise you on how best to structure your deal to avoid merger control problems and we can assist in securing clearance from the UK and EU competition authorities.
Cartel Damages Claims
For many years it has been possible to apply EU competition law directly to court claims between private parties. However, it has only been a relatively recent development to use decisions under EU competition law for “anti-competitive practise” or “abuse of dominant position” to be the basis for “follow–on” or “stand-alone” damages claims.
The UK is the leading jurisdiction for “follow-on” damages claim in the European Union. Innovative funding models can be deployed in these cases meaning in many situations claims of this type are risk free from a claimant perspective.
We are already advising claimants on cartel damages claims.
There are detailed Scottish, UK and EU laws and regulations that regulate how public contracts should be procured. We help both contracting authorities to design and run successful procurements; and private sector tenderers who bid for those contracts.
We have particular expertise in advising on contentious procurement matters: either helping aggrieved bidders in challenging contract awards, or defending contracting authorities against such challenges. Our specialist team has been involved in a significant number of cases in both the Court of Session and the Sheriff Court on both the pursuer and the defender side.
Our team recently secured the first (and, to date, only) “ineffectiveness order” in the UK under the Procurement Regulations.
Government funding, simple grants or special tax breaks can raise legal issues. We regularly advise organisations on how to navigate through EU State Aid law.
We advise businesses looking to secure government grants within the law (such as Horizon 2020 or ERDF funding), as well as firms concerned that their competitors may be receiving illegal State Aid.