Macfarlanes LLP

Competition/European Law Department

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What the team is known for Continues to grow in prominence and acts for major pharmaceutical sector clients on CMA investigations and on subsequent appeals to courts in the UK or in Luxembourg. Defends banks and financial services companies in EC investigations. Handles follow-on litigation in the UK and supports the defence of parallel proceedings in other European jurisdictions. Also has experience in merger control notifications for transactions in various sectors.

Strengths Interviewees say that the lawyers are "sure-footed in their client handling" and praise their "creative thinking; if there's a hurdle they are able to think of ways to get over it."

Work highlights Acted for both Actavis UK and Generics (UK) on their appeal of the CMA's decision on the anti-competitive effect of 'pay for delay' agreements with GlaxoSmithKline. The firm assisted both with hearings before the CAT and with the subsequent referral to the CJEU.

Notable practitioners

Interviewees note
Cameron Firth
's presence in high-profile competition regulatory appeals on behalf of key clients in the pharmaceutical sector. He also attracts attention for his defence of competition damages claims brought against international airlines or cable manufacturers. "He is softly spoken but authoritative and completely unflappable," states one source, while another reports: "He is prepared to give a view and is not too risk-averse."

Sources describe
Malcolm Walton
as "a hands-on and practical lawyer" and praise his understanding of "the tactics in terms of how to approach different issues." "He is a very clear thinker who sees a way through every problem," notes another interviewee. Walton predominantly handles merger control mandates relating to international acquisitions or joint venture agreements.

Clients benefit from
Stephen Kon
's vast experience in EC and CMA investigations, which he provides pursuant to his role as a senior consultant at the firm. "He has seen everything," says one source, adding: "He is able to understand what the key issues will be before they come up."

Tom Usher
stands out for his advice to key financial services clients on behavioural investigations carried out by various competition authorities worldwide. He also handles merger filings and other advisory topics as part of his broader competition law practice. Interviewees say that he is "an absolute class act" and highlight "his experience, sector understanding and commercial perspective" as key strengths.