Cartel leniency in Australia: overview

A Q&A guide to cartel leniency law in Australia.

The Q&A gives a succinct overview of leniency and immunity, the applicable procedure and the regulatory authorities. In particular, it covers the conditions to be satisfied, the method of making an application, availability of immunity from civil fines to individuals, the scope of leniency, circumstances when leniency may be withdrawn, leniency plus, confidentiality and disclosure, and proposals for reform.

To compare answers across multiple jurisdictions visit the Cartel leniency Country Q&A tool.

This Q&A is part of the global guide to competition and cartel leniency. For a full list of jurisdictional Cartel Leniency Q&As visit www.practicallaw.com/leniency-guide.

For a full list of jurisdictional Competition Q&As, which provide a high level overview of merger control, restrictive agreements and practices, monopolies and abuse of market power, and joint ventures in multiple jurisdictions, visit www.practicallaw.com/mergercontrol-guide and www.practicallaw.com/restraintsoftrade-guide.

Michele Laidlaw and Johanna Croser, Johnson Winter & Slattery
Contents

Regulation

1. What laws provide for a leniency programme and which regulatory authority administers it? Is there any published guidance?

Applicable laws and guidance

To encourage businesses and individuals to disclose cartel behaviour, Australia's national competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has issuedthe Immunity and Cooperation Policy for Cartel Conduct (Policy). The Policy sets out:

  • The ACCC's approach to applications for immunity from, and leniency in, ACCC-initiated civil proceedings by those involved in cartel conduct.

  • How co-operation provided to the ACCC by cartel participants will be recognised.

The Policy provides:

  • Immunity (see Question 4).

  • Leniency under the ACCC co-operation policy (see Question 5).

  • Amnesty plus (see Question 13).

  • Other policies to incentivise co-operation.

If the ACCC is satisfied that an applicant is eligible for immunity, it will, where relevant, make a recommendation to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) to grant criminal immunity subject to conditions. The CDPP will exercise an independent discretion when considering a recommendation by the ACCC and will consider whether the applicant meets certain criteria set out in Annexure B to the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.

Regulatory authority

All applications for civil and criminal immunity and leniency must be made to the ACCC, but both the ACCC and CDPP have a role in granting immunity and leniency (see above, Applicable laws and guidance).

 

Scope of application

2. What infringements of competition law does the leniency programme cover?

The Immunity and Cooperation Policy for Cartel Conduct (Policy) applies to the following:

  • Civil and criminal prohibitions on making or giving effect to a contract, arrangement or understanding that contains a cartel provision such as price fixing, market sharing, restricting output or bid rigging (Division 1, Part IV, Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA)).

  • Civil prohibitions on making or giving effect to a contract, arrangement or understanding which contains an exclusionary provision or has the purpose or effect of substantially lessening competition (section 45(2), CCA).

The Policy applies equally to the equivalent provisions in the Competition Codes of each Australian state or territory.

 

Recent cases

3. What notable recent cases have applied the leniency programme?

International air freight

In June 2006, competition authorities simultaneously raided airline offices in the US and Europe to investigate claims that many major airlines had colluded in the setting of their fuel and security surcharges for freight transport. German carrier Lufthansa informed the authorities of the illegal agreements and was granted immunity from prosecution.

The ACCC subsequently pursued 15 local, European and Asian based airlines for price fixing in the Australian air cargo market and the Federal Court has imposed A$104.5 million in penalties to date. These airlines obtained leniency in the form of a recommended reduction in their civil penalties, reflecting the level of co-operation each provided to the ACCC.

The ACCC's contested case against the last two airlines, Air New Zealand Ltd and PT Garuda Indonesia, was unsuccessful. The trial judge found that, although a number of the price fixing arrangements were established, the cartel conduct did not take place in a "market in Australia" in which the airlines were competing, as was required by law at the time. The ACCC has appealed against this finding to the Full Federal Court and a decision is pending at the time of writing.

Concentrated laundry detergent

The ACCC has commenced civil proceedings against Colgate-Palmolive Pty Ltd and PZ Cussons Australia Pty Ltd in relation to an alleged cartel between these companies and Unilever Australia Limited (Unilever) in relation to the supply of concentrated laundry detergents to supermarkets. The ACCC also alleges that Woolworths Limited was knowingly concerned in these arrangements.

Unilever and its relevant employees were granted immunity by the ACCC under the previous version of the Immunity and Cooperation Policy for Cartel Conduct (Policy). The immunity is conditional upon continuing full cooperation from the company and its executives in providing information to the ACCC about the alleged conduct. The proceedings are continuing.

Land and submarine cables

In September 2009, the ACCC filed proceedings alleging that Prysmian Cavi e Sistemi (incorporated in Italy) arrived at an understanding with Nexans (incorporated in France) and Viscas (incorporated in Japan) that they would not compete with one another in tendering for projects for the supply of land and submarine cables, including in Australia.

Proceedings followed an application to the ACCC for immunity from cartel prosecution by J-Power Systems Corporation. On 18 March 2013 the Federal Court imposed a penalty of A$1.35 million on Viscas. This agreed penalty took into account Viscas' co-operation with the ACCC. Prysmian and Nexans are continuing to challenge the ACCC's claim.

 

Availability of leniency

Administrative liability

4. Is full immunity from administrative penalties available? What conditions must be met for immunity to be granted?

Full immunity from ACCC civil proceedings is available, where the corporation:

  • Is or was a party to the cartel.

  • Admits that its conduct may constitute a contravention of the CCA.

  • Is the "first-in", that is, the first person to apply for immunity.

  • Has not coerced others to participate in the cartel.

  • Has or will cease its involvement in the cartel.

  • Makes admissions as a truly corporate act (as opposed to isolated confessions of individual representatives).

  • Has provided frank, full and truthful disclosure, and has co-operated fully and expeditiously while making the application, and undertakes to continue to do so, throughout the ACCC's investigation and any ensuing court proceedings.

The ACCC must not have already received written legal advice that it has reasonable grounds to begin proceedings in relation to the cartel.

A corporation which meets these criteria is eligible for conditional civil immunity. In order to receive final immunity, a corporation must, unless otherwise required by law or with the written consent of the ACCC, maintain:

  • Its eligibility criteria

  • Confidentiality regarding:

    • its status as an immunity applicant;

    • details of the investigation and any ensuing court proceedings.

Conditional civil immunity becomes final immunity at the conclusion of any ensuing proceedings.

 
5. Is there a sliding scale of available leniency from administrative penalties?

Parties not eligible for "first-in" immunity may obtain leniency under the Immunity and Cooperation Policy for Cartel Conduct (Policy) by cooperating with the ACCC in its investigations. As a matter of general principle, the courts afford more lenient treatment to parties who co-operate with the ACCC and provide assistance in court proceedings.

The following factors are considered in assessing the extent and value of the cooperation:

  • Timeliness of approach to the ACCC.

  • Significance of evidence provided.

  • Whether the party:

    • has provided full, frank and truthful disclosure, and co-operated fully and expeditiously on a continuing basis throughout the ACCC's investigation and any ensuing proceedings;

    • has or will cease their involvement in the cartel;

    • coerced another person/corporation to participate in the cartel.

  • Good faith dealings with the ACCC.

  • For individuals, whether they are using the same legal representation as their employer corporation.

In determining any relief (including penalties), the court will have regard to a range of factors, including:

  • The extent and value of the party's co-operation with the ACCC by reference to the factors above.

  • For corporations, whether:

    • the contravention arose out of the conduct of senior management or at a lower level;

    • there is a corporate culture conducive to compliance with the law;

    • the size and power of the company.

  • The nature and extent of the contravening conduct.

  • Whether the conduct has ceased.

  • The amount of loss or damage caused.

  • Whether the contravention was deliberate and the period over which it extended.

The ACCC identifies the above matters by way of submissions to the court, but the size of the civil penalty and other sanctions imposed on parties is ultimately determined by the court. This procedure often includes the ACCC and the relevant party submitting jointly to the court an appropriate penalty amount for approval.

 
6. Is immunity or leniency for administrative penalties available to individuals? If so, what conditions apply?

Individual immunity

The Immunity and Cooperation Policy for Cartel Conduct (Policy) applies to both corporations and individuals. An individual can apply directly for immunity from ACCC-initiated civil proceedings under the Policy. The applicable conditions are the same as for corporate applicants (see Question 4), subject to the following two differences:

  • Rather than being a party to the cartel, the individual must be a current or former director, officer or employee of the corporation that is or was a party to the cartel.

  • The individual's application for immunity or leniency need not be a truly corporate act.

Derivative immunity

If a corporation qualifies for immunity from ACCC-initiated civil proceedings, it can apply for derivative immunity for current and former directors, officers and employees of the corporation who were involved in the cartel conduct, provided they are:

  • Expressly identified by the immunity applicant.

  • Prepared to admit their involvement in the cartel and provide full co-operation to the ACCC.

If an individual is not eligible for immunity, he or she can obtain leniency under the Policy by co-operating with the ACCC in its investigations (see Question 5).

 

Criminal liability

7. Is immunity or leniency available for companies and/or its employees in relation to criminal prosecution? What are the implications for employees when an undertaking has been granted immunity or leniency?

Circumstances

When the ACCC is satisfied that an applicant satisfies the conditions under the Immunity and Cooperation Policy for Cartel Conduct (Policy), it will, where relevant, make a recommendation to the CDPP that immunity from prosecution be granted to the applicant. The CDPP will exercise an independent discretion when considering an ACCC recommendation. Where the CDPP considers that the applicant meets the criteria set out in the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth, it will provide a letter of comfort to the applicant. The letter of comfort will generally be provided to the immunity applicant as the ACCC grants civil immunity. Before commencing any criminal prosecution against another cartel participant, the CDPP will provide an undertaking to the immunity applicant granting criminal immunity subject to conditions (section 9(6D), Director of Public Prosecutions Act 1983).

Proceedings against employees

Individual and derivative immunity may be available for current and former directors, officers and employees.

Employees' interests

To maintain immunity once granted, the individual must:

  • Provide full, frank and truthful disclosure.

  • Co-operate fully and expeditiously on a continuing basis throughout the ACCC investigation and any ensuing court proceedings.

Failure by a director, officer or employee to satisfy this condition may result in the CDPP revoking their derivative immunity.

 

Application proceedings

8. When should an application for leniency be made?

Given the first-in nature of immunity (see Question 4), the ACCC encourages parties to come forward as soon as they become aware that they may have been involved in cartel conduct and before internal investigations are completed. If a corporation or an individual intends to apply for immunity, they may approach the ACCC and request the placement of a "marker" (see Question 9).

 
9. What are the procedural rules for leniency applications?

Relevant authority

Applications for leniency in criminal and civil proceedings must be made to the ACCC.

Applicant

Multiple parties to the cartel can apply for leniency but each application for leniency can only be made by, or on behalf of, one party (a corporation or an individual) to the cartel. The ACCC does not accept joint applications by, or on behalf of, more than one party. For the purposes of the Immunity and Cooperation Policy for Cartel Conduct (Policy), the ACCC treats the following as if they are corporations:

  • Partnerships.

  • Unincorporated businesses.

  • Government business enterprises and government departments or agencies carrying on a business.

Informal/confidential guidance

A party considering immunity or leniency can contact the ACCC Immunity Hotline on a hypothetical or anonymous basis, to seek an indication of the likelihood of a grant of immunity or leniency. For example, a party not familiar with the Policy can ask for clarification on issues such as:

  • Whether particular conduct can be considered cartel conduct.

  • The process of seeking immunity or seeking to co-operate with the ACCC.

In addition, an applicant need not reveal its identity to obtain a marker (see below).

Where confidential information is disclosed before submitting an application, the ACCC will use its best endeavours to protect that information, except as required by law.

Form of application

There is no standard form. The information provided should be sufficient to satisfy the conditions for immunity (see Questions 4 and 6).

Markers

Corporations or individuals intending to apply for immunity will request the placement of a marker from the ACCC. At this stage, information is often provided by the applicant's legal representative. The information can be hypothetical, without revealing the identity of the applicant.

Once a marker is granted, it has the effect of preserving for a limited period the marker recipient's status as the first party to apply to the ACCC for immunity. A marker will generally be valid for a maximum of 28 days. However, it may be as short as a few days, for example, if the applicant has delayed reporting or the ACCC is advanced in a pre-existing investigation. On the other hand, if the ACCC has not started an investigation and the applicant can satisfy the ACCC that its internal investigation will be complex, the ACCC can allow a longer period. Once a marker is granted, the immunity applicant must:

  • Gather the information necessary to show that it satisfies the requirements for immunity.

  • Present this information to the ACCC in either oral or written format. This is known as a proffer.

To obtain a marker, the applicant must provide sufficient information to allow the ACCC to determine that:

  • No other corporation or individual has applied for a marker or immunity concerning that cartel.

  • The ACCC has not received written legal advice that it has reasonable grounds to bring proceedings with respect to the same cartel.

Information/evidence

A party which has obtained a marker and decides to proceed with an immunity application must provide a detailed description (orally or in writing) of the cartel conduct. This is known as a proffer. The proffer must disclose sufficient information to determine whether the applicant satisfies the criteria for immunity. The applicant must provide specific detail on the type of evidence that can be provided to the ACCC. The ACCC may require an interview with one or more witnesses, or the production of certain documents to determine whether the applicant meets the conditions for immunity.

Oral statements

Applications for markers and proffers can be made orally and in writing. If a proffer is made orally, the ACCC can record the oral proffer. This enables an accurate record of the proffer to be submitted to the ACCC's legal advisers so that they may provide advice to the ACCC on whether the applicant has been a party to a cartel.

Short-form applications

Not applicable.

 
10. What are the applicable procedures and timetable?

The ACCC does not prescribe a set timetable for a leniency or immunity application.

Where a person requests a marker and one is available, the marker will generally be valid for a maximum period of 28 days. This may be shorter or longer depending on the circumstances (see Question 9, Markers). If a marker lapses:

  • The previous owner of the marker can apply for an extension or re-apply for the same marker.

  • Another person can apply for the same marker.

After the ACCC assesses the information in the proffer, it will determine whether the marker holder satisfies the requirements for a grant of immunity. The ACCC will inform the marker holder if it has satisfied the requirements.

On applying for immunity, the marker holder will be advised in writing by the ACCC that it has been granted conditional civil immunity. The DPP will also usually send a letter of comfort at this time, if applicable (see Question 7).

If a party is informed it is not eligible for immunity but wishes to co-operate with the ACCC, it can do so at any stage. The timing of that co-operation will be relevant when assessing the extent and value of the party's co-operation.

 

Withdrawal of leniency

11. In what circumstances and at what stage of the proceedings can leniency be withdrawn? What implications does the withdrawal of leniency from one company have for other applicants?

The ACCC may consider that the applicant has breached the criteria for a grant of conditional civil immunity. A dialogue between the ACCC and the applicant can often resolve this. If the ACCC's concerns have not been resolved informally, it will issue a written caution to the applicant. The caution will ask the applicant to remedy the ACCC's concerns, or explain why it cannot remedy them within a specified period.

If the ACCC is not satisfied with the response, it will send a further letter to the applicant asking why it should not revoke the conditional civil immunity. If the ACCC is not satisfied with the response to its request, it can advise that applicant in writing that it no longer qualifies for immunity. The ACCC will also recommend to the CDPP to revoke any criminal immunity which is subject to conditions.

The CDPP can revoke immunity or leniency without a recommendation from the ACCC if the applicant provided information that is false or misleading, or has not fulfilled the conditions of immunity or leniency. The CDPP will notify the applicant in writing if its criminal immunity or leniency is to be revoked, and give it a reasonable opportunity to respond.

Revocation of immunity will only affect an individual or corporation that is not co-operating or that otherwise fails to comply with the requirements for immunity. A corporation's immunity can be revoked, while its directors, officers and employees retain their derivative immunity. Derivative immunity can also be revoked while a corporation retains its immunity.

 

Scope of protection

12. What is the scope of leniency protection after it has been granted?

Immunity provides full amnesty from enforcement action by the ACCC and CDPP. Leniency under the ACCC co-operation policy affords more lenient treatment for parties who co-operate with the ACCC in its investigations and provide assistance in court proceedings (see Question 5).

Immunity and leniency do not provide protection from private actions. In Australia, class actions can follow ACCC proceedings for cartel conduct (see Question 14).

 
13. Does the competition authority offer any further reduction in fines for an undertaking's activities in one market if it is the first to disclose restrictive agreements and practices in another market (leniency plus)?

A party co-operating with the ACCC in relation to one cartel may discover a second cartel that is independent and unrelated to the first cartel. The party can then apply for:

  • Immunity for the second cartel, which the ACCC is unaware of.

  • "Amnesty plus" for the original cartel conduct.

"Amnesty plus" is a recommendation by the ACCC to the court for a further reduction in the civil penalty concerning the first cartel. If the first cartel is being dealt with as a criminal matter, the CDPP will advise the court of the full extent of the party's co-operation so that it will be taken into account for sentencing purposes.

 
14. Does the grant of leniency affect a third party's ability to bring a follow-on damages action against a leniency applicant?

Private parties who have suffered loss or damage caused by cartel conduct can bring claims for damages or other compensatory orders against any party involved in the breach. Damages are compensatory in nature (that is, for the amount of the loss or damage suffered). Exemplary damages are not available. Proceedings must be commenced, generally in the Federal Court, within six years of the date on which the cause of action accrued.

Proceedings for damages that "follow on" from regulatory proceedings by the ACCC pose lesser evidentiary burdens for claimants seeking redress where a court has already made findings of fact in relation to the breach. The CCA provides that findings of fact made by a court in certain earlier proceedings constitute prima facie evidence of those facts in later proceedings for damages or compensation orders.

Information provided to the ACCC in support of an application for immunity or leniency can be subject to a discovery order for use as evidence in follow-on actions for damages (see Question 16).

 

Confidentiality and disclosure

15. What are the rules relating to confidentiality during a leniency application?

Identity disclosure

The identity of an immunity applicant is generally kept confidential during the investigation phase. The ACCC also requires the applicant to keep its immunity status confidential. This is to ensure that other targets of the investigation do not become prematurely aware of the investigation.

The ACCC can advise a person who has requested a marker or applied for immunity or leniency that another person has already sought a marker or applied for immunity. The ACCC does not disclose the identity of that other person.

Once proceedings are filed, the ACCC can reveal the identity of the immunity applicant, for example, in a press release about the proceedings. The ACCC generally does so with the consent of the immunity applicant.

The court can order the disclosure of an immunity applicant's identity in certain circumstances. For example, in ACCC v Prysmian Cavi E Sistemi Energia SRL [2011] FCA 938, Lander J ordered the disclosure of certain information to the respondents, including the identity of an informant to the ACCC who was an employee of the immunity applicant. The judge acknowledged that his finding may undermine the ACCC's immunity policy and the willingness of informants to assist the ACCC, but concluded that these considerations were outweighed by the fact that the information was necessary to allow the respondents to properly test the ACCC's prima facie case.

Information disclosure

Information provided by immunity applicants and nominated parties for derivative immunity can be used by the ACCC in civil proceedings against other persons and can be shared with the CDPP for criminal prosecution purposes.

Confidentiality requests

The ACCC "will use its best endeavours to protect any confidential information provided by an immunity applicant" (Immunity and Cooperation Policy for Cartel Conduct (Policy)).

In some circumstances, disclosure obligations may require the ACCC and/or the CDPP to disclose such information.

There are also special provisions in the CCA dealing with "protected cartel information", defined as information that was given to the ACCC in confidence and relates to a breach or possible breach of the cartel conduct prohibitions. Information provided to the ACCC in confidence as part of an immunity application is likely to constitute protected cartel information.

The ACCC is not required to produce, or make discovery of, a document containing protected cartel information to a party to proceedings, or a person considering bringing proceedings, before a court (section 157C(1) and (2), CCA). However, the ACCC has the power to give, on application, a copy of a document containing protected cartel information to a party to proceedings, or a person considering bringing proceedings, before a court (section 157C(3) and (4), CCA).

In exercising its discretion on whether to disclose protected cartel information, the ACCC must have regard to a number of matters, including the following:

  • The disclosure may discourage informants from giving protected cartel information in the future.

  • The interests of the administration of justice.

Taking into account the same considerations, the ACCC can also do either of the following (section 157B( 4), CCA):

  • Present the court or tribunal with a document which contains protected cartel information.

  • Disclose protected cartel information to the court or tribunal.

Even if the ACCC decides not to disclose protected cartel information, it can still be required to do so with leave of the court or tribunal. In determining whether to grant leave, the court or tribunal must have regard to the same matters as the ACCC when exercising its discretion (see above). There have been instances in which a court has held that, in the interests of the administration of justice, the information supplied by an immunity applicant under the Policy must be made available to third parties in the context of litigation.

In certain circumstances, the ACCC may be able to claim privilege and public interest immunity to protect confidential information from disclosure.

The ACCC will generally give notice to the owner of the confidential information of any court application for disclosure of that information.

 
16. What are the rules concerning disclosure of statements made in support of a leniency application?

Domestic submissions and domestic discovery

Information provided to ACCC in support of an application for immunity or leniency can be subject to a discovery order in civil proceedings brought by the ACCC and third parties. There is an implied undertaking that such discovered documents cannot be used for purposes other than use in the proceedings in which they were required to be disclosed.

If there are particular concerns about commercial confidentiality, a party can apply to the court for an order to restrict the publication of confidential evidence or information (section 37AH, Federal Court of Australia Act 1976). The parties can also agree a confidentiality regime between themselves.

Domestic submissions and foreign discovery

The ACCC can share protected information with foreign regulators (section 155AAA( 12)(n), CCA). The ACCC refrains from doing so unless the:

  • Law requires it do so.

  • Applicant consents to this.

Foreign submissions and domestic discovery

Whether information submitted in foreign jurisdictions can be made subject to discovery orders in Australia will depend on the:

  • Entity making submissions.

  • Relevance of submissions to Australian proceedings.

  • Laws of the foreign jurisdiction.

 

Inter-agency co-operation

17. Does the regulatory authority in your jurisdiction co-operate with regulatory authorities from other jurisdictions in relation to leniency? If so, what is the legal basis for and extent of co-operation?

The ACCC co-operates with regulatory authorities in a number of jurisdictions, including New Zealand, Canada, the EU, the UK, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Fiji, India, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the US. Co-operation generally extends to the exchange of information and co-operation and co-ordination of enforcement activities.

 

Proposals for reform

18. Are there any proposals for reform?

On 31 March 2015, the Final Report of the Australian Government's Competition Policy Review (the Harper Review) was released. It made recommendations for changes to Australia's existing competition law regime to promote more dynamic, competitive and well-functioning markets.

The Harper Review considered that the current cartel leniency regime is adequate. There are no proposals for reform in this sector. The Harper Review considered and rejected submissions regarding the inclusion of "bar orders" to deal with the link between cartel prosecutions and compensation litigation.

On 24 November 2015, the Federal Government published its response to the recommendations of the Harper Review. While there are no proposals to change the leniency programme, the cartel prohibitions (which it offers immunity from) are likely to be simplified. The government has undertaken to develop exposure draft legislation for consultation.

 

Online resources

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

W www.accc.gov.au

Description. The ACCC website contains links to various ACCC policies and guidelines, including the ACCC' s Immunity and Cooperation Policy for Cartel Conduct and the Immunity and Cooperation Policy: Frequently Asked Questions. The website is managed by the ACCC.



The regulatory authority

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

Head. Rod Sims (Chairman)
Contact details. 23 Marcus Clarke Street
Canberra ACT 2601
T +61 2 6243 1111
W www.accc.gov.au

Responsibilities. The ACCC is responsible for administering and enforcing compliance with the CCA. It also administers the ACCC's Immunity and Cooperation Policy for Cartel Conduct.

Person/department to apply to. Marcus Bezzi, Executive General Manager
Competition Enforcement
T +61 2 9230 3894 (AEST business hours)
E cartelimmunity@accc.gov.au

Procedure for obtaining application documents. The only valid way to make an immunity application or request a marker is to contact the ACCC Immunity Hotline: +61 2 9230 3894 (AEST business hours)

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution (CDPP)

Director. Robert Bromwich SC
Contact details. 4 Marcus Clarke Street Canberra ACT 2601
T +61 2 6206 5666
E inquiries@cdpp.gov.au
W www.cdpp.gov.au

Responsibilities. The CDPP is an independent prosecution service established by parliament to prosecute alleged offences against Commonwealth law.

Person/department to apply to. All applications for immunity and leniency must be made to the ACCC (see above).

Procedure for obtaining application documents. All applications for immunity and leniency must be made to the ACCC (see above).



Contributor profiles

Michele Laidlaw, Competition Partner

Johnson Winter & Slattery

T +61 2 8274 9536
E michele.laidlaw@jws.com.au
W www.jws.com.au

Professional qualifications. Australia, 2001.

Areas of practice. Investigations and court proceedings in relation to competition law, including anti-competitive agreement cases, cartel prosecutions and restraint of trade cases; large scale commercial transactions and alliances requiring competition authority approvals in Australia and globally.

Recent transactions

  • Advising Qantas Airways Limited on a range of competition issues, including the ACCC prosecution of Jetstar (Qantas' low cost carrier) for drip pricing and in proceedings in respect of the international freight cartel.
  • Advising St Vincent's Hospital Australia and the Catholic Negotiating Alliance (largest alliance of not-for-profit health providers) on ACCC approvals for collective dealing with health insurers and a range of suppliers.
  • Advising Arrium on its sale of its OneSteel Sheet and Coil business to BlueScope.
  • Advising Prysmian in relation to ACCC proceedings alleging an electrical cable cartel and with respect to day-to-day competition issues.

Professional associations/memberships. Member, Law Council of Australia, Business Law section; Member, American Bar Association, Section of Antitrust Law.

Johanna Croser, Senior Associate

Johnson Winter & Slattery

T +61 2 8274 9606
E johanna.croser@jws.com.au
W www.jws.com.au

Professional qualifications. Australia, LLB 2009, PhD Economics 2010.

Areas of practice. Investigations and court proceedings in relation to competition law, including anti-competitive agreement cases, cartel prosecutions and restraint of trade cases; large scale commercial transactions and alliances requiring competition authority approvals in Australia and globally. 

Recent transactions

  • Advising Australia's preeminent jockey clubs from trial to successful dismissal of leave to appeal to the High Court for anti-competitive conduct.
  • Advising Qantas on a range of competition issues, including obtaining anti-trust clearance across a number of jurisdictions in relation to the Jetstar Pan-Asia Strategy and the alliance with Emirates and advising on the ACCC prosecution of Jetstar (Qantas' low cost carrier) for drip pricing.
  • Advising Ramsay Health Care and ResMed on acquisitions and competition issues.
  • Advising Prysmian in relation to ACCC proceedings alleging an electrical cable cartel, and with respect to day-to-day competition issues.

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