Competition Team of the Year

Berwin Leighton Paisner

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) wins The Lawyer’s competition team of the year category with a standout performance acting for claimant National Grid Electricity Transmission Limited (NGET) in the largest and most prominent cartel follow-on damages claims ever in the English courts. The case started in November 2008 and was due to come to trial in June 2014. It was listed by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 cases of 2014.

The case started in November 2008 and was due to come to trial in June 2014. It was listed by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 cases of 2014. The claim, which was settled before reaching trial, sought £275m damages for overcharging against 22 defendants across six countries and followed on from the gas insulated switchgear cartel decision of the European Commission. Although it did not reach the courts, the case set a number of ground-breaking precedents for how follow-on damages cases should be progressed, including in relation to how far a case can progress whilst appeals in Europe are still ongoing, disclosure of leniency material from the European Commission.

BLP partner Bob Maynard led the case, instructing Monckton Chambers’ Jon Turner QC. Judges labelled the work as a “groundbreaking decision in competition”.

Runner up
  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton defended a hostile takeover for Italian manufacturer Metlac before the Competition Appeals Tribunal and the Court of Appeal against rival company Akzo Nobel.

This is the first time the UK competition authorities have prohibited a purely overseas transaction between two overseas companies, and set a new precedent in defining the scope of the Competition Commission’s (now CMA) powers. Judges said:“A real win both against the hostile takeover and against the CMA. It would have been easier to accept the precedent set by the other authorities who had approved the takeover, so good to see both the challenge and its success. Knowing how much work is required when dealing with bodies such as the CMA it was interesting to note the team size was kept small.

Third place
  • Nabarro

Nabarro successfully repealed a decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) concerning its client, private healthcare operator HCA International.

The CMA findings showed that the HCA charged higher rates than its competitors, and led to the HCA being ordered to sell two of its hospitals in London to generate more competition.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal’s decision to overturn the CMA’s ruling breaks new ground, which was found to have contained serious errors in its analysis including mathematical mistakes in compiling the data. The case was led by Nabarro head of EU and competition Cyrus Mehta, instructing Blackstone Chambers’ Dinah Rose QC and Hanif Mussa, Monckton Chambers’ Josh Holmes and KPMG’s competition economics team led by Nicola Mazzarrotto.

  • King & Wood Mallesons
  • Maclay Murray & Spens
  • Shearman & Sterling
  • Shepherd and Wedderburn