Cartels, Competition, Price Fixing and Anti-trust

"Always a strong, gold star firm."

Chambers UK 2021

We advise individuals suspected of involvement in criminal cartel activity, such as price-fixing, market sharing, bid rigging, or restricting output to the detriment of customers. We also regularly work alongside expert competition lawyers, providing specialist criminal advice in respect of competition and criminal cartel investigations. Our cartel team is recognised in all the directories as leaders in our field.

The UK’s civil regime for cartel enforcement applies to corporates who can be investigated and fined for anti-competitive behaviour. For individuals who are associated with cartel activity they are vulnerable to a criminal investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) or the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The offence carries a five-year custodial sentence and/or an unlimited fine

Our cartels team is extremely well placed to provide advice to individuals and companies who are caught up in cartel activity, whether through uncovering the activities internally, or as a result of an investigation by the CMA, SFO, a Regulator such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), or overseas authorities such as the Department of Justice (DoJ).

We are experienced at advising on cartel-related investigations, whether representing parties involved in formal investigation by the above agencies, or assisting companies with their own internal investigations and the individuals potentially exposed.

How we can help

  • We regularly work alongside competition lawyers, providing specialist criminal advice in respect of competition and criminal cartel investigations.
  • We advise individuals directly caught up in investigations.
  • We have experience of assisting in dawn raid situations (which are most likely to be conducted by the CMA and/or the European Commission). Employees of the target organisation may be arrested and taken to the police station for interview. The CMA may have been monitoring the activity for some time and how a person deals with the first interview at the police station is crucial.
  • We advise on interviews under caution, compelled interviews, searches, internal investigations, leniency applications, immunity applications and the trial process.
  • We advise directors who face disqualification for breaches of competition law (a Directors Disqualification Order).
  • We provide training to companies and competition lawyers on the criminal cartel offence.

Our approach

We understand what is at stake when a company is suspected of cartel activity and the implications for individuals who might stand accused of directing or implementing a cartel scheme.

There is always a judgment call to be made on the extent to which parties’ interests are aligned. In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate immunity or leniency deals. In others, it may be wise for individuals to take a more robust and independent approach.

We have experience of investigations across a range of sectors, involving a variety of enforcement authorities. We are highly skilled at acting in investigations and trials, and in dealing with complex issues.

We work closely with our specialist regulatory law colleagues if directors face disqualification for breaches of competition law. We also have a dedicated reputation management team who can help to limit the reputation damage for individuals and companies who are riding the storm of an investigation.

If you are concerned about the risk of involvement in cartel behaviour, please contact one of our specialist cartel lawyers.

what clients and directories have said

An absolute superfirm. They are the first firm I would think of when I represent a company and want an individual covered."

Chambers and Partners, 2018

They guide you expertly through the criminal and regulatory landscape in a very effective, practical way."

Chambers and Partners, 2018

Kingsley Napley are collegiate and easy to work with. You know you could give work to any of the partners, it wouldn't matter because you know they would all give good advice." 

Chambers and Partners, 2018

Multi-disciplinary, multi-jurisdictional, high profile, long established practice, perhaps the most famous firm in the field.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

They have a fantastic team."

Chambers UK 2021

Universally respected by its peers, many of whom look enviously at its happy workforce, media profile and public standing.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

They are responsive, imaginative and dedicated professionals.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

Kingsley Napley LLP specialises in criminal cartel investigations, primarily representing individuals." 

Legal 500, Competition Litigation

Pioneers in the area, with a wealth of expertise."

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession

First-class reputation...Prominent cartel defence practice."

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

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