European Competition and International Trade

By: Philip Lee Solicitors  05/12/2011
Keywords: law, Public Procurement

Issues surrounding competition law are of critical importance to a company’s commercial strategy. Having access to the best competition advice available is the key to maximising your business potential both nationally and internationally.

We advise on competition law to many sectors, including the pharmaceutical industry, electricity, gas, oil and other energy and solid fuel companies, telecommunications, broadcasting, print media and the construction industry. We advise on all aspects of European law and have represented clients before the European Commission and the courts of the European Union.

Our expertise covers the areas of:

  • EU and Irish Competition law;
  • EU Procurement Law;
  • State Aid and Anti-Dumping legislation; and
  • International Trade and the World Trade Organisation

EU and Irish Competition

Our competition law team is headed by Sarah Johnson, who works closely with Ursula O’ Dwyer in our Brussels office and Philip Lee in Dublin. It is one of the core practice areas of our firm and we regularly advise on mergers and acquisitions law, state aid, parallel trade, cartels and market dominance as well as regulatory and procedural aspects of competition law.

Philip Lee’s EU and competition practice stands out among Irish law firms because our Dublin-based team works closely with our Brussels office. Ursula O’ Dwyer, who leads that office, is a recognised specialist in competition and State aid law.

We have developed a particular niche practice in defending cartel and competition law prosecutions by the Competition Authority and the DPP. We acted for Corrib Oil in the Galway home heating oil cartel case, and Dixon Hedgecutting in the Irish Rail case. We have also advised and represented clients in dawn raids and investigations by the Competition Authority, and on compliance and enforcement issues.

EU Procurement Law

The firm is widely respected for its expertise in public procurement. This is another of our core practice areas. We have been involved in over 400 procurement and Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects since 1993, and have delivered specialist advice on the application of the EU public procurement directives for almost 20 years. Our managing partner, Philip Lee is the author of the first book on public procurement (Butterworths:1992) within the EU member states analysing and explaining the directives. Our procurement team is headed by Sarah Johnson.

We take pride in the fact that despite having advised on so many procurement processes, many of which were very large and politically sensitive, none of the procedures that we designed has ever been legally challenged. Our clients benefit from working with us to design highly competitive, innovative and secure tendering procedures.

The revised Remedies Directive - signed into law on 25 March 2010 - brought in a far more stringent remedies regime, significantly increasing the rights of the unsuccessful tendering firm, including the right to have tender procedures suspended pending court ruling, and the right to apply to the court to have a contract awarded in contravention of the procurement rules declared ineffective. On behalf of our clients, our team tracked and consulted on the implementation of the Regulations since the adoption of the revised Remedies Directive and advised on their impact, in particular the impact the new rules have on current and future practices.

State Aid / Anti-Dumping

As experts in the area of state aid, we now provide clients with prompt and cost-effective advice on the application of EU state aid rules should the need arise. Our Brussels office has represented clients in many anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases before the EU institutions including: original investigations; interim, expiry and newcomer reviews; refunds; complaints; anti-absorption and anti-circumvention cases and appeals to Court. We have advised the Russian Federation on Russian accession to the WTO, and the Government of Latvia on its anti-dumping and anti-subsidy laws and on the setting up of its international trade unit.

International Trade and the WTO

Philip Lee advises on all aspects of trade and international trade law. We represent our clients, many in the agri-food sector, in discussions with the WTO, EU Commission and national regulatory bodies as well as government departments. The firm also advises non-EU governments on European law and trade-related matters, including the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group as well as those mentioned above. Our managing partner, Philip Lee, is a Fellow of International Trade Law at University College Dublin, and represented the African Caribbean & Pacific Secretariat (ACP) Representation before the WTO. Philip led a consortium of French, US and Irish law firms representing the 77 ACP countries. The dispute was referred to at the time as being the most complex and largest ever dispute before the WTO.

Keywords: law, Public Procurement

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