13. Competition Team of the Year-Article-201612061304

(L-R): Awards host David Mitchell, Mishcon de Reya’s Eleanor Powell, Jonothan Broadbent, Rob Murray, Sarah Houghton, and Zachery O’Brien; awards judge Mine Hifzi

Finalists: Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance (highly commended), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hogan Lovells, King & Wood Mallesons, Royal Dutch Shell and Slaughter and May

Mishcon de Reya impressed the judges with the win the firm secured for client Sainsbury’s in a high profile dispute over card payment fees, with judges noting that this was the “first substantial award in a standalone competition damages claim in the UK”.

The supermarket brought a competition damages claim against MasterCard in relation to unlawfully high interchange fees charged to Sainsbury’s for card payment services in the UK.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal held that MasterCard had infringed EU and UK competition laws and awarded Sainsbury’s damages of £68m, plus compound interest. Competition partners Rob Murray and Sarah Houghton led the firm’s team advising Sainsbury’s, alongside Brick Court’s Mark Brealey QC and Sarah Love, and One Essex Court’s Derek Spitz.

This was the first judgment to be given in a raft of litigation being brought by numerous high street retailers in the UK and Europe, alleging that MasterCard and Visa charged anti-competitive and excessive debit and credit card fees. The total damages sought are in excess of £1.2bn.