EU and Competition

Carson McDowell’s EU and Competition Team provides both contentious and non-contentious advice to clients on all aspects of competition law, sector regulation and other areas of EU law. The team’s comprehensive experience and wide-ranging expertise is unmatched in Northern Ireland.

Specialist areas of expertise include merger control law, cartels, abuse of dominance, competition investigations, State aid, energy, transport and bribery law.

What We Do

  • UK, Irish and EU merger control
  • Competition issues relating to all types of commercial contracts
  • Abuse of dominance issues, including refusals to supply
  • Cartels
  • Pricing issues
  • Competition compliance, including bespoke compliance programmes and training seminars
  • Competition enforcement, including dawn raids and leniency programmes
  • Complaints to competition authorities and regulators
  • Parallel trade issues
  • State aid, including investigations into the alleged existence of State aid, procedural issues and complaints to the European Commission regarding State aid granted to third parties
  • Free movement of persons, goods, services and capital
  • General EU Law, including food labelling legislation, product liability legislation, the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the Services Directive
  • European Convention of Human Rights
  • Bribery law, including risk assessment, drafting of bespoke compliance programmes and training seminars
  • Advising parties on court proceedings relating to EU and competition law, including judicial review cases

What Others Say About Us

Chambers and Partners UK 2019

What the team is known for

Market-leading team particularly respected for merger clearance matters and market investigations. Sought after by clients from the media and energy sectors for compliance advice. Highly esteemed by those in the food and beverage and transport industries for assistance with abuse of dominance issues. Works closely with the firm's highly regarded litigation department to represent clients in high-profile competition disputes, particularly in the area of cartel follow-on damages claims.

Strengths

Clients say that Carson McDowell is "one of the top firms in Belfast," highlighting the "quality of people at senior level and associate level, the knowledge of the subject matter, understanding of the market place and expertise in their field."

Another client reports: "I find the team very helpful because they have the expertise to cover all of our requirements."

Work highlights

Advised SHS Group on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of Standard Brands.

Notable practitioners

Richard Gray frequently assists clients with competition law in a commercial context, advising on merger clearance, competition compliance and training, and commercial agreements with competitors. He advises several clients from the media and food and beverage industries.

Kerry Teahan joined the firm in May 2017 as head of the firm's competition and procurement departments. She assists clients with a range of competition law matters, including advice on merger filings, abuse of dominance claims, CMA appeals and cartel claims. She represents both claimants and defendants in competition law disputes.

Chambers and Partners UK 2018

What the team is known for Market-leading team with particular strength in merger control and market investigations. Popular with clients from the media, energy and agricultural sectors for competition and regulatory compliance advice. Highly esteemed by domestic and international clients from the financial services and transport industries for assistance with abuse of dominance issues. Works closely with the firm's litigation department to represent clients in competition litigation matters.

Strengths Clients enjoyed working with the firm, saying that the lawyers "fitted in seamlessly" and "felt like part of the team."

Work highlights Acted for Chain Reaction Cycles on the merger control aspects of the sale of the business to Wiggle, including the CMA notification and Phase I clearance.

Assisted Independent News & Media with the merger notifications to the Irish Competition & Consumer Protection Commission arising from the acquisition of four magazines from Greer Publications.

Significant clients Danske Bank, McKesson Corporation, SHS Group, Fane Valley, Saint-Gobain.

Notable practitioners

Richard Gray has a strong focus on commercial competition issues, particularly merger control matters and dawn raids. He also assists with competition compliance issues and the competition law elements of commercial contracts. Clients describe Gray as "very personable, committed to getting the right outcome and a great person to bounce things off."

​Chambers and Partners 2017


What the team is known for

Top-flight practice and a popular choice for all aspects of competition law. Adept in merger control and investigations as well as ongoing operational advice and compliance mandates. Clients include leading domestic firms, government bodies and multinational companies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Carson McDowell is number one for competition law without a shadow of a doubt."

"The team has a very good working knowledge, provides practical and up-to-date examples and puts things very much in layman's terms."

Work highlights Continues to advise Danske Bank on the CMA investigation into retail banking.

Acted for McKesson on its EUR408 million acquisition of UDG Healthcare.

Significant clients Northstone (NI), SHS Group, firmus energy, Fane Valley, Saint-Gobain.

Notable practitioners

Richard Gray is experienced in a broad range of competition mandates from merger control to compliance programmes. Impressed clients appreciate that he is "always available - you feel you can lift the phone and get the best advice."


The Legal 500 2016


What the team is known for

Impressive strength across the board handling EU, competition and regulatory matters. Continues to grow its bench with new hires, offering increased expertise.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The lawyers were very proactive and always available; nothing was too much trouble for them."

Work highlights

Advised Danske Bank on the retail banking market investigation being conducted by the CMA.

Notable practitioners

Richard Gray has a background in corporate law and handles competition mandates as part of his wider practice. He often assists clients with implementing competition compliance programmes.

Significant clients Translink, Ulster Independent Clinic, Wrightbus Group, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Saint-Gobain.

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