Competition & Cartels
Criminal cartels, antitrust and competition litigation is one of Peters & Peters’ principal areas of expertise. We have been described in the Legal 500 directory as possessing “a strong niche” in this field and are ranked Band 1 for Cartel Investigations (individuals) by Chambers UK 2017.ContactLeading CasesLatest News for Competition & Cartels
Competition law in the UK is enforced in one of two ways. Public enforcement involves investigations by public bodies, principally the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the European Commission (EC). Investigations can be civil or criminal in nature and both the EC and the CMA have the power to levy substantial fines against a company, which infringes competition law.
The criminal cartel offence applies to an individual who agrees to create or participate in arrangements involving price fixing, market/customer sharing, bid-rigging or output limitation (cartel behaviour). Individuals found guilty of an offence can face imprisonment, unlimited financial penalties and disqualification as director.
Private enforcement refers to actions for damages taken by companies or individuals who suffer a loss as a result of breaches of competition law. These claims can either follow a decision of the EC or CMA (known as “follow-on” claims) or be independent of such an investigation (“stand-alone” claims). London is one of the leading centres in the world for private enforcement of competition law and it is home to the specialist Competition Appeals Tribunal that deals with “follow-on” damages actions.
Peters & Peters boasts one of the UK’s leading competition and cartels teams. We have acted in every major criminal cartel investigation in recent years and regularly represent claimants and defendants in either follow-on or stand-alone claims. Our clients include national and multi-national companies, directors and senior executives from across a wide range of sectors including: airlines, construction, technology, food and drink; automotive and manufacturing. We have acted for the English Department of Health for many years, and have brought a number of successful actions against pharmaceutical companies for breaches of competition law as well as successfully defending two of the four defendants in the British Airways/Virgin prosecution who were acquitted without any evidence being called.
Our lawyers have been instrumental in developing the law and practice in this area and are recognised leading authorities. Many of our cases are International and we have successfully negotiated on behalf of clients with a number of regulators internationally, including the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the EC. We have assisted companies and individuals to obtain criminal and/or civil immunity, for example by taking advantage of a leniency programme.