Over the years, we have successfully represented clients facing the toughest Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigations and prosecutions, secured ACCC clearance for transformational mergers and acquisitions, represented clients in crucial litigation and product recalls, and assisted clients to implement their internal compliance programs.
We have extensive experience and insight in dealing with the ACCC and its mergers, enforcement and other divisions. We have a strong reputation with the ACCC. We have been successful in preventing many matters from going beyond the investigation stage, defending enforcement proceedings and negotiating reduced penalties. On other occasions, we have persuaded the ACCC to take action against the conduct of other businesses.
We build strong relationships with our clients and a clear understanding of their commercial objectives. We are outcome-driven, decisive and quick. We have particular expertise in the agricultural, financial services, fashion, online, petroleum and construction sectors.
We are thought leaders and regularly advocate reform in the media and government reviews. The recent Competition Policy Review (‘Harper Review’), which was the first major review of Australian competition law in over 20 years, extensively referenced our submissions and led to the government adopting a number of changes we advocated.
The former Chairman of the ACCC, Professor Allan Fels AO, works with us as a consultant.
We assist clients in securing ACCC approval for mergers, acquisitions and other transactions. Our team is skilled at assessing whether a deal is likely to raise competition issues or trigger an ACCC investigation. Our advice is sought internationally, including from major US hedge funds.
ACCC investigations and prosecutions
We have successfully represented numerous clients in ACCC investigations and prosecutions for cartel conduct, misleading or deceptive conduct, unconscionable conduct, and other types of anticompetitive conduct in a wide range of industries.
Competition and consumer law disputes
We are experienced in commercial litigation and resolving disputes between competitors, supplier disputes, franchising disputes, disputes with consumers and class actions. We act strategically to achieve the client’s commercial objectives in the most effective manner, often resolving matters quickly without the need for court proceedings or a trial.
Competition and consumer law advice
We advise clients on how to achieve their commercial objectives within the requirements of competition and consumer law. This includes advice on structuring transactions, and seeking ACCC approvals where appropriate. We also provide advice on advertising and marketing campaigns, from developing the fundamental concept of the campaign to execution and sign-off.
We advise companies on whether to conduct a product recall, the parameters of the recall, dealing with the ACCC and other regulators, and dealing with consumers, suppliers and other participants in the supply chain. We have acted in a number of major national product recalls, including of consumer electrical products and clothing.
Compliance programmes and risk management
As part of their corporate governance and risk management, we help clients to implement their own internal competition and consumer law compliance program and develop a “compliance culture”. This is a factor taken into account by the ACCC in making decisions about enforcement action, and by the Courts in setting penalties. We provide compliance training tailored to the client’s industry, drawing on our extensive experience in ACCC investigations and prosecutions.