Our team of highly experienced antitrust litigators combines technical expertise with strategic advice to pursue or defend claims on behalf of our clients before regulators and courts across Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere around the globe.
Allen & Overy’s antitrust litigation team:
- Advises on all types of disputes and represent companies under investigation by European, U.S. and national competition authorities in cases concerning breaches of competition law.
- Coordinates multi-jurisdictional litigation strategies and responses, often being called in at the pre-litigation stage.
- Helps companies develop sound risk management strategies and compliance policies, and conduct in-depth audits, along with crisis management, litigation risk and exposure assessments.
Our team includes many of the leading practitioners in the field, including a former director of criminal enforcement at the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, former judicial assistants at the ECJ, and professors of law at prominent universities. We have played a key role in developing the European Commission's leniency protocols and its approach to accessing documents and witness interviews.
Private damages actions
Findings of cartel, abuse of dominance, and monopolisation are frequently followed by private actions seeking damages. Private class actions are a mainstay of the competitive landscape in the U.S. and increasingly important in Europe, requiring clients to wield both the sword and shield to protect their rightful place in the market. We are frequently asked to advise on identifying the courts and tribunals in which actions may be brought and assess our clients' exposure to such actions, while considering how best to challenge such claims, obtain interim relief or avoid litigation, including through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
We are currently acting on a number of follow-on antitrust damages cases as well as cases at the intersection of antitrust and IP litigation. In Europe, we have a very active antitrust litigation practice that handles private enforcement cases before the commercial courts and matters before the relevant national competition authority, the EU Commission and other regulatory bodies. In the U.S. we have defended clients in a number of complex civil enforcement and private damages actions, including simultaneous suits brought in federal and state courts.
Commercial antitrust disputes
Antitrust issues are regularly invoked in negotiations and litigation between rival companies or between companies and their suppliers. Competitors, suppliers or customers may try to use antitrust law to nullify a contract, or alternatively to defend an alleged breach of contract. In recent years we have also seen an increasing number of major cases on licensing and IP (particularly relating to patents) in which antitrust issues play a pivotal role.
We can use our combined expertise in antitrust and litigation to assist companies seeking to use antitrust issues as either a weapon or a defence in commercial disputes. In addition, private actions between international companies increasingly take place in multiple jurisdictions at the same time. In such complex cases, a global strategy is required to enhance efficiency and consistency and also to reduce the costs involved. We offer our clients a significant and competitive advantage in this area by combining the efficiency of our global presence with the perspective of local experience and expertise.
We have significant experience coordinating challenges to decisions by regulatory authorities at both EU and national level. Our team of antitrust litigation experts have acted in high-profile cases in recent years and are experienced in pleading before the ECJ, General Court in Luxembourg and national courts, including the High Court in England. Our team includes former référendaires at both EU and national courts. In particular, our team has significant experience in representing clients (whether merging parties or third-party challengers) regarding merger decisions made by both the European Commission and the UK competition authorities. We have also represented companies on half of all the cases challenging merger decisions before the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, including Lloyds/HBOS and BSkyB/ITV.