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Australia's competition law is grounded in the ideals of a free market. This is where prices of goods and services are dependent on the forces of demand and supply and supported by independent rivalry between market participants.
Some companies, however, seek unfair advantages in the market. They achieve these through a cocktail of prohibited agreements and business structures that disadvantage other players in the market. A competition lawyer is instrumental in investigating such cases of market manipulation and taking action against them.
Where can I find a competition lawyer online?
What's in this guide?
- Where can I find a competition lawyer online?
- What is a competition lawyer?
- When should I use a competition lawyer?
- Competition lawyers vs competitions and trade promotions lawyers
- What does a competition lawyer's service include?
- What does a competition lawyer's service not include?
- How effective is a competition lawyer?
- Do I need a competition lawyer?
- Where to get a free quote for a competition lawyer
What is a competition lawyer?
A competition lawyer is a legal professional who focuses their practice on competition law. The lawyer provides counsel to small and large companies on matters of competition law, helping them understand their rights and duties in a free and fair market.
The lawyer is well versed with Australia's leading competition law legislation, the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, as well as amendments that have been made to it. Leveraging this understanding, he or she also has built a strong background in competition law and has represented parties before the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
When should I use a competition lawyer?
If you are a business or company operating in Australia, you might consider using a competition lawyer to offer you legal advice on matters of competition law, especially with regard to collaborations with other market players. You may be contemplating making an agreement with a rival or participant in your industry without knowing that such an arrangement is barred by law.
Some prohibited anti-competitive practices include:
- Price fixing
- Bid rigging
- Restricting production
- Market allocation
- Third line forcing
- Exclusive dealing
- Resale price maintenance
- Cartel conduct
- Abuse of market dominance
- Anti-competitive mergers
You might also need a competition lawyer to advise you on the legality of collaborations you are pursuing with competitors (horizontal arrangements) or with suppliers and customers (vertical arrangements). The advice will help you stay in compliance with competition law, saving you from penalties by regulators.
Similarly, you may use a competition lawyer to help you safeguard your position in the marketplace. Your competitors may be engaging in anti-competitive market practices, driving you out of business. Consult a competition lawyer to fight for your position.
Competition lawyers vs competitions and trade promotions lawyers
A competition lawyer is a legal professional who practices in the area of competition law. His or her practice revolves around protecting a free and fair market system where businesses compete independently to offer products and services to consumers. The lawyer relies on legislation such as the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
In contrast, a competitions and trade promotions lawyer deals with trade promotions. These are free entry competitions carried out to promote goods and services. They involve games of skill and chance. A competitions and trade promotions lawyer guides businesses carrying out these promotions to acquire permits and approvals.
What does a competition lawyer's service include?
A competition lawyer provides guidance to companies, both big and small, on several aspects of competition law. He or she will:
- Advise on the legality of horizontal and vertical arrangements
- Recommend measures to stay in compliance with competition law
- Investigate potential cases of anti-competitive practices by competition
- File complaints against competitors for anti-competitive practices before ACCC
- Defend you against anti-competitive practices complaints before ACCC
What does a competition lawyer's service not include?
A competition lawyer does not offer advice on legal issues outside the extent of competition law.
This lawyer will not advise you on family, labour and criminal law matters.
How effective is a competition lawyer?
Anti-competitive market practices can put you out of business. You may not even know that your competitors have colluded to rig the market against you since such arrangements are never made public. But they do happen and their impacts on other businesses are detrimental.
A competition lawyer will help you investigate instances of unfair competitive practices by your competitors. The lawyer will find out whether your competitors have colluded to:
- Fix the prices or supply of essential raw materials
- Suppress competing bids for tenders
- Restrict production of goods to create scarcity
- Curve out markets between themselves.
The lawyer will also help you identify instances where the market leader is abusing its powers and where cartels have arranged exclusive dealings that hurt your business. Afterward, the lawyer will guide you in bringing a complaint to the ACCC.
If you are the subject of a complaint, the lawyer will provide appropriate representation, arguing your case before regulators to avoid penalties.
Do I need a competition lawyer?
You might need a competition lawyer if you are a company that has been accused of anti-competitive practices. ACCC has the power to investigate, prosecute and penalise cases of anti-competitive behaviour. These penalties can be very high. If you have been accused of anti-competitive practices, you might need to hire a competition lawyer to defend you.
You can also hire a competition lawyer to advise you on various aspects of competition law. Since the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 was enacted, it has undergone a number of amendments. Some of these could affect how you do business. To stay in compliance, you might need to hire a competition lawyer to advise you.
Does your company belong in this list?
Where to get a free quote for a competition lawyer
You can get a competition lawyer from one of the services below:
- Lawpath. This is an online lawyer marketplace with over 1,000 lawyers. You can sign up, describe the service you are looking for and receive up to three quotes from qualified lawyers.
- LegalVision. This is a private online law firm with teams of lawyers competent in several legal fields including competition law. You can subscribe to the service and get connected to a competition lawyer.
- State law societies. Australia's state law societies have lawyer search tools that you can use to locate a competition lawyer near you.
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