Jacqueline Downes

Jacqueline Downes

Partner since 2007
BA (Hons) LLB (Hons)
Sydney | +61 2 9230 4850

Jacqueline advises clients on all types of competition and consumer law matters including cartel investigations, mergers, misuse of market power, exclusive dealing, joint ventures, distribution arrangements, resale price maintenance, third line forcing, access, consumer protection, advertising clearances, unconscionability and compliance.

Jacqueline has been recognised as a leading competition and antitrust expert in Chambers 2010–2016, Best Lawyers 2014–15, Global Competition Review and the International Who's Who of Competition Lawyers and Economists. Recent commentary in Chambers Asia-Pacific notes that Jacqueline is an 'exceptional practitioner', a 'strategic thinker' whose 'responsiveness, sharp intelligence and ability to deliver set her apart'.

Jacqueline routinely advises and acts for clients across a wide range of industries including manufacturing, electronics, pharmaceutical, transport, resources, infrastructure, financial services, media and telecommunications.

Jacqueline has particular expertise in mergers and has advised on and obtained ACCC approval of a number of high profile and complex domestic and international mergers, including for:

  • ERM Power Limited in obtaining ACCC approval for a potential acquisition of the state-owned electricity generator Macquarie Generation;
  • Foxtel on its acquisition of Australian subscription TV provider Austar;
  • News Corporation on successfully obtaining ACCC clearance for the sale of its online directory business True Local to Sensis Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Telstra;
  • Wesfarmers on its acquisition of Coles, at the time the largest merger in Australian corporate history;
  • St. George Bank on its merger with Westpac Bank, the largest bank merger ever in Australia;
  • Oracle Corporation on its global acquisition of Sun Microsystems;
  • Cemex on its acquisition of Rinker and subsequent sale to Holcim; and
  • the Queensland Government on the privatisation of Queensland Rail's coal transport business, the second largest initial public offering ever conducted in Australia.

Jacqueline advises and acts for companies the subject of investigations into cartel and other competition and consumer law matters by the ACCC. She has been involved in key trade practices litigation, including litigation by Seven Network in relation to the acquisition of the AFL and NRL rights.

Jacqueline also has particular expertise in access matters under Part IIIA and Part XIC of the Competition and Consumer Act including acting for:

  • Foxtel on various arbitrations and exemption applications and appearing before the Australian Competition Tribunal;
  • Foxtel in obtaining ACCC acceptance of the first ever special access undertaking which was successfully defended in the Federal Court; and
  • Queensland Government advising on competition and access issues for its privatisation of Queensland Rail's coal transport business, the second largest initial public offering ever conducted in Australia.

Jacqueline has extensive experience in all aspects of consumer law, including unfair contracts, consumer guarantees and misleading or deceptive conduct. She advises clients on compliance with the Australian Consumer Law, including regularly reviewing and advising on marketing materials and acting in investigations by the ACCC, Fair Trading, Advertising Claims Board and Advertising Standards Bureau.

Jacqueline has been trained formally in Legal Project Management, most recently attending a full-day LPM workshop delivered by US legal project management expert Susan Raridon Lambreth. Jacqueline's LPM expertise drives efficient legal and business outcomes for her clients.

Jacqueline is also involved in policy matters being an active member of the Competition and Consumer Committee of the Law Council of Australia. She has assisted in preparing submissions, meeting with government and attending parliamentary inquiries on matters of competition policy. Jacqueline is regularly asked to speak at conferences and seminars on competition law issues, including most recently on the Federal Government's 'Root & Branch' review of competition law and policy.