(L-R) Socrates Training director Bernard George, TupperS Law managing director Stephen Tupper, Madeleine Matos of Economic Insights and awards judge Nick Eastwell
Finalists: Allen & Overy; Ashurst; Eversheds Sutherland (highly commended); Slaughter and May; Sullivan & Cromwell; Travers Smith.
TupperS Law claimed the Competition Team of the Year award for assisting Socrates Training in its victory in the first-ever standalone damages action brought before the Competition Appeal Tribunal under its new accelerated procedure.
The case involved Socrates Training’s challenge against the Law Society of England and Wales, which was alleged to have monopolised the right to provide certain types of training to law firms that subscribed to its Conveyancing Quality Scheme 9CQS).
TupperS argued that the Law Society had unfairly tied the purchase of one service (accreditation to the CQS) to the requirement that customers must buy another (the provision of training), infringing Chapter I and II of the Competition Act.
Socrates had approached TupperS Law after the Competition and Markets Authority had declined to investigate the company’s complaint and previous counsel had advised no infringement had taken place. TupperS assembled a small team of three people and went up against the Law Society’s big guns, which included Norton Rose Fulbright’s competition team, a QC plus juniors and RBB Economics, successfully arguing and winning the case in under a year.
“A classic David v Goliath case – a one-partner firm taking on the Law Society, and they won on a really tight budget against a team of much bigger firms,” a judge acknowledged.