Competition Disputes

The Practice

Our Litigation and Dispute Resolution group works closely with our Competition and Regulated Markets group in advising on contentious Competition disputes.

We advise on investigations by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (both as complainant and defendant), on Irish and European litigation before the Courts, merger control cases, dawn raids, witness summons, and document management issues arising in Competition investigations and disputes.

Arthur Cox has been involved in the most significant Competition Law cases before the Irish Superior Courts over recent years. We have also represented clients in Competition Law and State Aid investigations undertaken by the European Commission and in proceedings before the European Courts in Luxembourg.

Relevant Partners:

Our Experience:

  • Acting for Volvo and Renault Trucks in 48 sets of High Court proceedings which have been instituted on foot of a decision by the European Commission that several truck manufacturers engaged in unlawful conduct between 17 January 1997 and 18 January 2011 in relation to truck pricing and the timing and passing on of the costs for the introduction of emission technologies. Volvo and Renault Trucks together with other truck manufacturers were the subject of the European Commission Decision and were subsequently fined a record €2.93 billion.
  • Advising CRH plc on a successful challenge before the High Court and the Supreme Court to the scope of documentation seized by the CCPC during a dawn raid at its subsidiary, Irish Cement Limited, in May 2015.
  • Advising CRH plc in defending related competition proceedings brought by Framus Limited (and related companies in Liquidation) and Goode Concrete concerning alleged anti-competitive practices in the Concrete and Cement industries in Ireland.
  • Advising Mars in relation to a claim for damages against HB Ice Cream Limited (owned by Unilever) for breaches of competition law in the ice cream market in Ireland.
  • Advising the Minister for Finance of Ireland in relation to a High Court challenge of a €2.7 billion State recapitalisation of Irish Life & Permanent Group Holdings plc by Ireland in July 2011 for financial stability purposes, including advising on State aid aspects of the case.
  • Acting for the Minister for Finance and the National Treasury Management Agency in obtaining a series of Court Orders pursuant to the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act 2010 in relation to the restructuring of the banking sector and dealing with associated Court challenges including the recapitalisation of Allied Irish Banks, the transfer of certain assets of Anglo Irish Bank Limited and Irish Nationwide Building Society and burden sharing through a Subordinated Liabilities Order in relation to AIB (to include advising on any State aid issues arising in the context of these measures).
  • Representing eir, the Irish telecoms incumbent, before the Irish High Court in several statutory appeals of decisions by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) designating eir as operator with “significant market power”, a concept which is based on the competition law concept of dominance, and in the defence of enforcement actions by ComReg including as regards the allegedly anti-competitive effects of certain bundling practices.
  • Advising the Central Bank of Ireland on State aid and competition law issues arising in relation to measures to reorganise the credit union sector in Ireland for financial stability purposes, including advising on High Court applications to merge certain credit unions for financial stability purposes.
  • Advising ABB Limited in respect of a follow on action for damages brought by ESB Limited arising out of an EU Commission decision concerning cartel activity in the gas insulation switch gear sector.
  • Acting for daa plc, the national airport operator, in a number of disputes, in particular, litigation with Ryanair and in disputes and appeals involving Ryanair and the Commission for Aviation Regulation challenging various determinations by the Commission fixing the level of airport charges in relation to access to essential airport facilities.
  • Representing Aer Lingus Limited in the defence of State aid recovery actions by the Irish State following the Commission’s decision that the lower rate of the Air Travel Tax as had applied between 2009 and 2011 constituted an unlawful State aid and in proceedings brought by Aer Lingus for the restitution by the State of the differential between the lower and higher taxes.
  • Representing Greencore Group plc in successfully defending the first follow-on actions brought in the Irish courts by Irish market participants consequent on a finding of the Commission (IP/97/405) (subsequently upheld by the European courts on appeal) that a subsidiary of the Greencore Group, Irish Sugar plc, abused its dominant position on the Irish sugar market.
  • Acting on behalf of Greencore Group plc in its challenge to the decision of the Irish government in July 2006 in relation to the allocation of €145 million of restructuring aid on the EU wide restructuring of the EU sugar industry, culminating in a High Court judgment quashing that decision in June 2007.
  • Advising the Beef Industry Development Society Limited in legal proceedings before the High Court, the Supreme Court, and the Court of Justice of the European Union in a legal challenge taken by the Irish Competition Authority in respect of a proposed rationalisation scheme for the beef processing sector in Ireland.
  • Acting for eircell (now Vodafone) in the successful defence of an action for abuse of a dominant position and a subsequent investigation by the European Commission.