Competition/Antitrust

Australian competition law

They have a detailed understanding of issues facing our industry and a deep knowledge of competition law; they are therefore able to provide high-level, strategic advice.

Chambers Asia-Pacific

In protecting your strategic position in the market, it's vital that you are armed with creative and commercial solutions to address competition law problems – whether it be defending regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, getting your deal through the ACCC or following advice to avoid complex competition issues.

Our competition team is ranked as one of the leading teams in Australia. We regularly act for blue chip clients on “bet the firm” competition litigation, mergers and acquisitions and cartel investigations. We have extensive experience dealing with the ACCC and the Australian Competition Tribunal, and particular expertise in defending misuse of market power and other competition claims.

We advise major Australian public companies, multi-national corporations and private enterprises on:

  • cartel investigations
  • complex mergers, acquisitions and alliances
  • anti-competitive agreements and understandings
  • misuse of market power issues
  • exclusionary provisions (boycotts)
  • exclusive dealing and third line forcing
  • authorisations, exemptions and notifications
  • third party infrastructure access rights
  • pricing reviews.

Our industry experience spans agricultural commodities, aviation, building products, energy, food manufacturing, information technology, insurance, manufacturing, media, transport and wines & beverages.

Mergers & Acquisitions

  • Qantas Airways: advising on Qantas’ transformational A$2-3 billion alliance with Emirates, including helping expand the analysis beyond route based competition to include competition between hubs. Read more
  • Origin Energy: advising Australia’s largest commercial and retail energy supplier on its A$1.5 billion gas purchase from Beach Energy.
  • Arrium: successfully advising Arrium (formerly OneSteel) on the ACCC competition review process relating to BlueScope Steel’s acquisition of OneSteel’s sheet and coil business. Read more

Cartels

  • Prysmian: defending ACCC proceedings for Australia's largest domestic cartel prosecution in relation to the supply and acquisition of electrical cables.
  • Qantas: defending class action proceedings for global freight cartel.  JWS previously acted for Qantas in relation to regulator proceedings around the world regarding alleged global freight cartel. Read more
  • Prysmian: acting for an Italian subsidiary company of the global Prysmian Group in its defence of civil penalty proceedings brought by the ACCC in the Federal Court over the alleged global cartel agreement to fix the minimum prices for contract tenders for the provision of land and submarine cables. Read more
  • Unilever: advising immunity applicant in ACCC proceedings for alleged cartel conduct.

Litigation

  • Australian Turf Club: successfully defended Australia’s pre-eminent jockey clubs by advancing strategic defence based on international context of rules in support of the rule prohibiting the use of artificial insemination in the production of thoroughbred horses. On appeal to High Court. 
  • Jetstar: defending ACCC proceedings for alleged misleading conduct relating to “drip pricing”. Read more
  • Yahoo!7: defending ACCC proceedings for alleged breaches of the Consumer Law relation to deals offered via Yahoo!7’s online group buying business, Spreets. Read more

2018

  • Aldo Nicotra, John Kench, Michele Laidlaw, Sar Katdare and Wolfgang Hellman are named as leading lawyers in Competition Law. Best Lawyers Australia, 2018

2017

  • "The matters they are involved in, their high-quality client base and their advice to date are the reasons we continue to engage Johnson Winter & Slattery for advice in this area." – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2017
  • The firm is "unique in the effort they make to ensure that their existing clients feel valued and supported, taking the time to invest in the working relationship and to maintain an up-to-date knowledge of their businesses." – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2017
  • John Kench is described as "one of the pre-eminent competition lawyers in Australia, who enjoys very good relationships with the regulators and helps us to build up excellent relationships with the ACCC through his excellent contacts." Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2017
  • Aldo Nicotra is noted by a client as standing out for "practicality, precision and a very sharp commercial instinct" adding that although "it can be very difficult to get a clear, firm opinion in this area, he's an exception to the rule."  – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2017
  • Sar Katdare is cited be referees as a particularly accessible, responsive and pragmatic partner who stands out not only for his "good practical understanding of the laws and of ACCC’s application of them", but also as someone who is "prepared to offer advice that highlights the risks but plots a commercial path through the obstacles."  Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2017

2016

  • "They work seamlessly with our in-house team, we are able to rely on them for high-level strategic thinking and they are more than capable in handling big litigation, punching above their weight." Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2016
  • "I've never felt so comfortable with a law firm as with these guys: it feels like they're part of our team and I've no hesitation in recommending them." Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2016
  • Johnson Winter & Slattery’s "exemplary" service has "secured business critical outcomes"  Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2016
  • John Kench is recognised as "one of the leading competition law experts in Australia" Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2016
  • Aldo Nicotra is noted as "a trusted adviser for many years and a great strategic thinker with a deep interest in our business."  Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2016
  • Michele Laidlaw is praised for her "incredibly pragmatic, targeted and commercial advice" and her "customer-focused approach; she takes the time to understand the nuances of our services and our needs."  Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2016
  • Sar Katdare is recognised as a "highly intelligent and pragmatic" partner who provides "punchy, matter-of-fact, efficient and clear" advice. – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2016

2015

  • "Highly skilled and capable lawyers who are highly experienced and commercial, with a national network of offices and a commercial fee structure." – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2015
  • "They have a detailed understanding of issues facing our industry and a deep knowledge of competition law; they are therefore able to provide high-level, strategic advice." – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2015
  • Johnson Winter & Slattery's ‘experience in the aviation industry is hard to replicate'.–  Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2015 
  • Partner Aldo Nicotra is recognised as a "trusted adviser" and "great strategic thinker."Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2015
  • Head of department John Kench is identified as a "good strategist with good client relations." Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2015 
  • Well-regarded partner Michele Laidlaw is valued by clients for her "business-targeted and commercial advice" as well as her "technically impressive legal expertise and strong economics background."Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2015
  • Sar Katdare is praised by clients for his "excellent, commercial approach to problem solving." Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2015
  • Peter Rose is ranked as a Band 1 leading lawyer and Anthony Groom is ranked as a leading lawyer in Energy & Natural Resources. Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2015
  • Aldo Nicotra is ranked as a Band 1 leading lawyer and John Kench, Michele Laidlaw and Sar Katdare are ranked as leading lawyers in Competition/Antitrust.Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2015
  • John Kench is named as a leading lawyer in Competition and Trade. Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2015

2014

  • Peter Rose 'has a great breadth and depth of knowledge in the industry and is a great communicator. He goes above and beyond in the interest of the company'. – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2014
  • Anthony Groom is praised by clients for his commitment and client service. – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2014
  • Sar Katdare is noted for his 'great depth of knowledge of the broader matters that drive competition law.' – Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2014
  • Aldo Nicotra has 'significant competition law experience for major corporates.' – Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2014
  • The 'technically impressive'  Michele Laidlaw  combines 'legal experience with a strong economics background.' – Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2014
  • John Kench, Aldo Nicotra and Michele Laidlaw are named as leading lawyers in Competition Law. Best Lawyers Australia, 2014 
  • John Kench, Roxanne Smith, Rohan Madders, Anthony Groom and Peter Rose are named as leading lawyers in Regulatory Practice. Best Lawyers Australia, 2014 
  • Anthony Groom and Rohan Madders are named as leading lawyers in Energy Law.Best Lawyers Australia, 2014 
  • Peter Rose is named as Melbourne lawyer of the year in Energy Law and Oil & Gas. Best Lawyers Australia, 2014 
  • Roxanne Smith is named as a leading lawyer in Litigation. Best Lawyers Australia, 2014