Marjorie Holmes

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Recent ‘firsts’ shape UK collective actions

This year marks four years since significant statutory reforms regenerated the UK’s collective actions arena. Following a rocky start to this new regime, it appears that 2019 may finally bring some clarity to potential claimants navigating the first hurdle of competition class actions: the Collective Proceedings Order (‘CPO’) application. This is the first stage in … Continue Reading

Private Equity Firm Held Responsible for Portfolio Company’s Antitrust Violations

In January of 2017 a private equity firm, Bencis, was found liable for a portfolio company’s involvement as one of 14 cartelists producing flour in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) ruled that while company was a member of Bencis’s portfolio, Bencis was accountable for their antitrust violations.  This … Continue Reading

Competition Authorities Focus On The Retail Sector

Competition authorities at both European and national levels are turning their attention to markets affecting the retail sector. The shift in focus is illustrated by the recent inquiries by the European Commission into e-commerce and by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into the modelling agencies sector, in an effort to discover instances of … Continue Reading

What the European Court has to say about discount structures used by dominant firms

In a case regarding Post Danmark’s rebate structure, the European Court provided further guidance on the legality of rebates and discounts offered by dominant firms.  While this case involves bulk mail services, the lessons learned are applicable to a wide variety of industries in determining whether discount structures practiced by market leading firms comply with … Continue Reading

FCA Acquires New Competition Powers; Increased Regulatory Activity in Future

As of April 1, 2015, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has acquired new functions and powers in relation to competition including powers under the Enterprise Act 2002 (the 2002 Act) to conduct market studies and make references to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and powers under the Competition Act 1998 (the 1998 Act) to … Continue Reading

UK Competition Authority acted irrationally in hotel room on-line pricing case

A decision by the UK’s former competition authority, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT – now replaced by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)) to accept commitments to settle its investigation into on-line prices for hotel rooms has been quashed by the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal and sent back to the CMA to decide again. … Continue Reading

Indonesia’s Presidential Elections Dispute and Idul Fitri 2014 – Are You and Your Company Prepared?

On July 9, within just a few hours of the polls closing in the tightly contested presidential election in the world’s third-largest democracy – the Republic of Indonesia – the only two contestants running had claimed victory. Nearly 200 million people in the world’s fourth-largest country had turned out to vote for either the current … Continue Reading

EU Consortia Block Exemption extended for a further five years

This post was also written by Catherine Johnson.  The European Commission has announced the extension of the block exemption for certain liner shipping cooperation agreements until 2020. The extension of the Regulation follows a period of public consultation earlier this year during which time interested parties were invited to comment on the proposed extension. Liner … Continue Reading

EU nears finalisation of new law to promote anti-trust claims

Member States’ ambassadors to the EU, known as the Committee of Permanent Representatives, have endorsed the agreement between the Council Presidency and representatives of the European Parliament on a proposed new EU Directive on rules governing actions for damages for infringements of competition law. The final text is expected to be voted through by the … Continue Reading

UK Authorities Set to Exercise New Powers to Compel Witnesses

This post was also written by Richard Webb. The UK’s new competition body, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), was officially launched on 1st October 2013. The launch was preceded by the publication of Draft Guidance on the authority’s new powers under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (the “2013 Act”), such as its … Continue Reading

OFT Ready to Accept Commitments in On-line Hotel Room Price-Fixing Investigation

This post was also written by Edward S. Miller. Ready to close its investigation into on-line hotel room price fixing, the UK Office of Fair Trading has proposed the acceptance of commitments from the on-line travel agents (OTAs) and hotels currently involved in the investigation. The OFT recognizes the investigated parties concerns that a completely … Continue Reading

€ 20M fine upheld for failing to notify JV shareholding change to EU merger authority

This post was also written by Angela Gregson and Laura-May Scott. The European General Court has upheld a € 20M fine imposed on the Belgian electricity company, Electrabel, for failing to notify changes to its minority holding in a joint venture under European merger control rules, even though the changes did not result in a majority shareholding … Continue Reading

UK Supermarkets will face fines from the Groceries Code Adjudicator

This post was also written by Angela Gregson and Laura-May Scott. The UK Government has announced that the Groceries Code Adjudicator (“Adjudicator”) will have the power to fine supermarkets if they breach the Groceries Code of Practice (“Code”). After complaints from food manufacturers, farmers and campaigners about the lack of influence the body would have, the … Continue Reading

OFT issues short-form opinion in relation to rural broadband infrastructure

This post was also written by Angela Gregson and Daniel Jepson. The OFT’s stance On 23 August the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued a non-binding short-form opinion on proposals by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA). The NFU and CLA propose to recommend to their rural members a … Continue Reading

New challenge to in-house counsel by European Court

This post was written by Edward S. Miller, Marjorie C. Holmes, Katherine Holmes and Angela Gregson. The European General Court has held that employed lawyers do not have the right to represent their in-house clients before it. Building on the controversial rejection of the application of legal privilege to communications with in-house counsel in the … Continue Reading

Proposals for the Modernisation of European Public Procurement: Progress or Hindrance?

This post was also written by Katherine Holmes and Angela Gregson. Background The current European public procurement rules, intended to ensure open EU-wide competition for public contracts are contained in two directives: The Public Sector Directive (Directive 2004/18) sets out the rules that apply to contracts awarded by public sector bodies (e.g. government, schools, and health … Continue Reading

European Court finds that Asian companies have been unfairly treated

This post was also written by Angela Gregson. There has been a perception that Asian companies have received unfair treatment at the hands of the European Commission over the years. Three recent appeal cases brought by Mitsubishi Electric Corp (“Mitsubishi”), Toshiba Corp (“Toshiba”) and Fuji Electric Company Ltd (“Fuji”) appear to confirm this as fact. … Continue Reading

UK Government Proposes Merger of Competition Authorities

This post was also written by Richard J. Waite and Susan Riitala. The UK Government recently announced proposals to merge the UK’s two main competition bodies, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Competition Commission, to create a single competition regulator. Currently the OFT, as well as being responsible for conducting antitrust and cartel investigations, … Continue Reading