Find Lawyers in Melbourne, Australia for Competition Law

Practice Area Overview

Since 1906, Australia has had laws designed to eliminate anticompetitive conduct and to create markets which work for all participants. The current principal legislation is the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (‘CCA’). The stated purpose of the CCA is to ‘enhance the welfare of Australians through the promotion of competition and fair trading and provision for consumer protection.’ 

The CCA prohibits conduct by businesses which tend to result in negative outcomes for consumers such as agreements between competitors to divide territories, allocate customers, fix prices, or rig bids in a tender process; exclusive dealing arrangements which substantially lessen competition; resale price maintenance; and mergers and acquisitions which reduce competition in a market.

Competition law requires not only an understanding of the provisions of the CCA but also a working knowledge of economic concepts, as the specialty requires an understanding of markets and market dynamics.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (‘ACCC’) is the regulator charged with ensuring compliance with the CCA. A contravention of the CCA can result in prosecution by the ACCC for civil or criminal offences. The ACCC can seek substantial monetary penalties including fines of up to three times the benefit of any cartel conduct and 10% of the annual turnover of the company or group of companies responsible for any anticompetitive conduct. In addition, individuals may be imprisoned for cartel conduct.

The CCA also provides individuals and businesses the right to bring proceedings to recover damages from persons who have caused that damage by breaching provisions of the CCA. 

In practice, competition lawyers provide advice to individual and corporate clients to assist their compliance with the CCA in their day to day business or in relation to specific transactions. Competition lawyers are also often experienced in litigation, defending an action brought by the ACCC or managing litigation against another party. Some competition lawyers will have general experience across competition law, others may be more specialised in one specific area of competition regulation such as:

Access regimes

  • Mergers & acquisitions
  • Cartel and other anticompetitive conduct between competitors
  • ACCC investigations
  • Compliance programs and training

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