Companies compete for customers. That is why most companies do their best to be as attractive as possible to consumers by distinguishing themselves on price or quality. However, there are also businesses that agree not to compete.
Some companies mutually agree on their sales prices. This is called price fixing and it usually requires a conspiracy between sellers. Together they form a cartel; an agreement between competitors which enables them to keep prices artificially high.
As a result, companies and consumers are paying too much without being aware of it. Cartels are bad for the economy because they disrupt the normal laws of demand and supply. OECD looked at a selection of cartels a few years ago and estimated the artificial median price increase to be 15 to 20%, and sometimes as high as 50%.
In recent years, direct and indirect purchasers of cartel participants have become increasingly aware of the fact that they are entitled to compensation for the damage they have suffered as a result of the cartel formation. Civil claims for infringements of UK or European competition law have become a well-known phenomenon. It is now expected that claims for damages will follow after a finding of a cartel infringement by a national competition authority, such as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), or the European Commission.
The English courts have been at the forefront of making such claims possible in practice, mainly through their generous approach to crucial questions of jurisdiction and disclosure of evidence. The UK is therefore one of the preferred jurisdictions for claimants of cartel damage, together with The Netherlands and Germany where judges have also rendered decisions favourable to plaintiffs.
What do we do?
An important part of our role is to help clients determine the damage suffered, develop an optimal, tailor-made litigation strategy, and determine the right financing model.
To accurately determine the damage, we make use of our extensive network of renowned economists, accountants, and industry experts. Our advice on strategy includes examining whether an individual claim should be filed or whether a collective approach on behalf of several similar claimants may be preferable.
Our innovative and flexible approach to financing through a funding facility in conjunction with Bench Walk enables us to provide clients with a simple one-stop-shop solution for pursing antitrust damages claims at no cost.
“We all recognise in today’s world the pressures on cash flow, and the fact that spending money on legal fees to pursue litigation is an unwelcome and unwanted distraction.” Richard Healey, Partner & Business Services Platform Head
Who do we help?
Our competition litigation team represents corporate clients seeking damages for competition law violations to compensate the overcharge and loss of profits caused by infringement.
In some cases, clients will not be able to file a claim in the UK but will be able to do so on the European continent. This may be the case, for instance, if its organisation has European subsidiaries that have purchased goods from a European cartel member. We work closely with trusted foreign attorneys to facilitate such claims for our clients.