Competition/Antitrust Department

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What the team is known for Deep bench and an extensive regional network, supporting the representation of blue-chip multinationals on cross-border merger clearances and providing a popular, independent choice for referrals from international law firms lacking an Australian presence. Acknowledged for its prowess handling mandates involving regulatory investigations or cartel issues, as well as its experience managing infrastructure access questions and advising public sector bodies on regulatory legislation. Offers noteworthy experience advising on sensitive and highly publicised asset privatisations and behavioural prosecutions in such key, heavily regulated industries as energy and financial services, and further noted for advising prominent clients from the education, healthcare and telecommunications sectors.

Strengths The team's repeated ability to inspire a "high degree of confidence" is a keynote of interviewee feedback. One source, whose decision to engage the practice was "based on previous experience," ends by saying: "The firm performed exceptionally well as always and we would not go anywhere else for competition law advice." Another client states: "We trusted them to handle this complex transaction for us because they had tactfully handled another sensitive matter, providing great guidance and support. Again, they were excellent; they got the approval we needed and we closed the deal." 

Clients also emphasise the clarity of the practice's recommendations, one remarking: "Their very good advice made it clear from the get-go what our approach should be," while another recalls: "The advice we received was of a high standard, commercial and reflected a good understanding of our business needs, despite this being a complex legal question."

Work highlights Successfully advised oOh!media with regard to close ACCC scrutiny of its AUD570 million acquisition of major competitor Adshel, clearance being granted remarkably soon after a public merger review, with no remedies being required.

Notable practitioners

Geoff Carter maintains an extremely busy practice, embracing both major cross-border transactional mandates and key matters of competition and consumer law investigation and litigation. Respected by peers as a "prominent presence across the table," he is characterised by a client as someone who "clearly lives and breathes the competition space" and whose "very detailed knowledge, not only of the law, but also of the players," makes them "confident in the advice he gives."

Justin Oliver brings to his work valued expertise acquired during previous assignments at the ACCC and with the Australian Energy Regulator, and advises clients on a variety of critical regulatory matters, notably including access issues. One client singles him out as "my first choice for really excellent advice on anything to do with how the electricity market in Australia works," and he is also regularly cited as particularly expert on competition issues affecting the sugar industry.

Katrina Groshinski tackles the full range of competition issues, notably including third party access questions and a number of specialist regulatory concerns. Clients value her for her "broad collection of skills," one emphasising her ability to "distil a complex legal regime into practical legal advice," while another recalls: "She grasped issues and got across our business very quickly, and delivered."

Paul Schoff heads both MinterEllison's Australasian competition practice and its cartels group, and acts extensively for leading broadcasting, financial services and telecommunications sector clients, largely on contentious or potentially contentious issues. According to one client, "Paul is right up there as one of the best lawyers I have had the privilege of dealing with," while another explains that he is "very commercial, deals masterfully with senior stakeholders and has deep competition law experience and extensive knowledge of relevant industry issues."