Allens

Competition, Consumer & Regulatory

Our experienced Competition, Consumer & Regulatory legal team regularly publishes articles and updates – the full list of publications appears below. We profile some key cases and review recent findings of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). If you'd like to be notified when we add new competition, consumer & regulatory publications to the site, please go to our subscription page to sign up for email alerts or, alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed.

Allens has wide-ranging competition experience through its involvement in several landmark matters. Read about our impressive track record in competition law.

The Harper Review

Professor Ian Harper’s review of competition policy is the most significant review of Australia's competition laws and policy in more than 20 years.

In September 2016, the Federal Government released its much anticipated exposure draft. The proposed legislation is the next step in the Government's response to the Harper Review of competition law and policy. You can download our analysis of the key provisions.

Please feel free to contact a member of our Competition, Consumer & Regulatory team to discuss the Government's response in more detail and how it applies to your organisation.

Visit our Harper Review website

Competition, Consumer & Regulatory Publications

  • In touch: Competition news

    22 November 2017

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Harper reforms become law: implications for business

    6 November 2017

    Significant changes to Australia’s competition regime have become law. The changes implement key recommendations of the Harper Panel’s review of Australian competition law and policy. The Allens Competition, Consumer & Regulatory Team look at the key changes and the implications for your business.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    17 October 2017

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Federal Court sheds new light on public benefit test in Tatts/Tabcorp merger appeal

    11 October 2017

    The Federal Court's decision about the proposed Tabcorp/Tatts merger has provided significant clarification about the public benefit test for authorisations. This is timely in light of the legislation before the Senate that proposes to combine the Tribunal authorisation process with the formal ACCC merger clearance process. Partner Jacqueline Downes and Lawyer Hanna Kaci look at the key lessons from the decision.

    Read More
  • Unravelled: FX global code update

    4 October 2017

    The FX Global Code was launched in Australia earlier this year and applies to 'market participants', including most financial institutions, bank asset managers, brokers and E-trading platforms. The Code sets out 55 best practice principles and, although compliance is voluntary, it is expected that these principles will become the standard for the FX market industry.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    14 September 2017

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Full Court dismisses Port of Newcastle access appeal

    18 August 2017

    The Full Federal Court has dismissed the Port of Newcastle's application for review of the Australian Competition Tribunal's decision to declare the Port's shipping channel service under the National Access Regime. The Full Court's decision confirms the interpretation of the current declaration criteria adopted by the Competition Tribunal and previously by the Full Court in its 2006 decision concerning Sydney Airport. Partner John Hedge and Senior Associate David Mierendorff report on the decision and its implications, taking into account the Government's proposed changes to the declaration criteria currently before Parliament.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    15 August 2017

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Greater ACCC scrutiny of contentious mergers

    8 August 2017

    ACCC Chairman Rod Sims has outlined that the ACCC will adopt a more intensive information-gathering approach when reviewing contentious mergers. Partner Jacqueline Downes and Associate Lovelle D'Souza report. 

    Read More
  • Unravelled: Productivity Commission on super system competitiveness and efficiency

    7 August 2017

    With all the media attention on the Government's surprise announcement of its proposed package on improving accountability and member outcomes in super last week, you would be forgiven if the Productivity Commission's latest issues paper on competitiveness and efficiency in the super system had slipped under your radar.

    Read More
  • Client Update: First successful prosecution under Australian criminal cartel conduct provisions

    4 August 2017

    Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha has been fined $25 million in the first criminal cartel conduct prosecution commenced in Australia. The case provides the first guidance on how a court will determine penalties under the criminal cartel laws, including any discount available for 'cooperating' defendants. Partner Jacqueline Downes and Senior Associate Lisa Lucak report

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    19 July 2017

    Tobacco companies' boycott nipped in the bud, a major taxi merger, excessive payment surcharging ban, the Tatts/Tabcorp appeal, and the Productivity Commission and the financial system: read our take on the big issues in competition law this month.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Excessive payment surcharging reforms

    11 July 2017

    As of 1 September 2017, merchants will be prohibited from charging excessive payment surcharges for certain payment methods. Under the new rules, businesses can only pass on to customers what it costs them to process a payment. The Allens Competition team have put together a brief overview of the changes and what businesses should do to prepare for the new regime.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    26 June 2017

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

    Read More
  • Client Update: ACCC calls for comment on electricity retail supply and pricing

    7 June 2017

    The ACCC has taken the first major step in its inquiry into electricity retail supply and pricing in the National Electricity Market by releasing an issues paper and calling for submissions by 30 June 2017. The issues paper focuses on three broad areas: the pricing, costs and profits of electricity retailers, market structure and retail competition, and retail customers' interaction with the market. Partner Jacqueline Downes and Associate David Mierendorff report.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    12 May 2017

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

    Read More
  • Client Update: 2017 Budget: increased scrutiny on competition and accountability in the financial system

    10 May 2017

    Treasurer Scott Morrison this week announced that he has tasked the Productivity Commission to review the state of competition in Australia's financial system. The Budget has also included other measures focused on competition in the financial sector, including funding to establish a dedicated ACCC unit to undertake regular inquiries into specific financial system competition issues, an ACCC inquiry into residential mortgage pricing, and an open banking regime. The Government has also announced the introduction of a Banking Executive Accountability Regime. These measures follow a series of recent reviews and inquiries into the financial services industry. Partner Carolyn Oddie and Senior Associate Lisa Lucak report.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Australian Consumer Law Review - proposed reforms

    21 April 2017

    Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand has released its final report on the review of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), recommending a range of reforms to strengthen protections for consumers and businesses. We look at the proposed reforms and the implications for your business if they are accepted by the Federal Government.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Significant changes ahead for Australian competition laws

    31 March 2017

    The Federal Government's Competition Policy Bill, which contains its response to the Harper Review's broader recommendations on competition law and policy, will make significant changes to Australian competition laws.

    Read More
  • Client Update: House of Representatives passes misuse of market power Bill

    29 March 2017

    The House of Representatives yesterday passed the Government's Bill to broaden the misuse of market power prohibition and the Bill will be introduced to the Senate shortly. The Bill, as passed, removes the mandatory factors the courts would have had to consider in determining whether conduct was anti-competitive (as opposed to vigorous, competitive conduct). The new prohibition, if passed by the Senate, will not commence unless the ACCC has the power to authorise conduct that may otherwise breach the new prohibition. The Government proposes to introduce a further Bill shortly giving the ACCC this power. Partner Kon Stellios and Senior Associate Lisa Lucak report.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    8 March 2017

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

    Read More
  • Client Update: ACCC's Enforcement and Compliance priorities for 2017

    27 February 2017

    Criminal cartels, unfair contract terms, consumer guarantees and the health, construction and agriculture sectors are some of the ACCC's key enforcement and compliance priorities for 2017. ACCC Chairman Rod Sims released the ACCC's 2017 Compliance and Enforcement Policy on Friday, 24 February 2017.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Senate Committee supports proposal to broaden the misuse of market power prohibition

    17 February 2017

    The Senate Economics Legislation Committee has published its report supporting the Government's proposed reforms to broaden the misuse of market power prohibition, but recommended that the mandatory factors be removed. It is expected that the Government will now seek to expeditiously progress the Bill through Parliament.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    1 February 2017

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

    Read More
  • Report: Allens' response to ACL Review Interim Report

    20 January 2017

    Allens' submission in response to the Australian Consumer Law Review Interim Report. Although the Australian Consumer Law is generally functioning well, Allens considers that a number of provisions require amendment and clarification to ensure that the ACL meets its objectives.

    Read More
  • Focus: Take care with agency arrangements - Flight Centre decision

    14 December 2016

    The High Court today handed down its decision in the high-profile ACCC proceedings against Flight Centre. The High Court allowed the ACCC's appeal from the Full Federal Court, finding that Flight Centre competed with airlines in the sale of international airline tickets and attempted to induce three major airlines to enter price-fixing arrangements. Partner Carolyn Oddie, Managing Associate Robert Walker and Lawyer Darcy McLennan consider the implications.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Amending the misuse of market power prohibition

    1 December 2016

    On 1 December 2016 the Federal Government introduced a Bill to Parliament to amend section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), which prohibits the misuse of market power. The Bill adopts the recommendations of the Harper Review.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    17 November 2016

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    14 September 2016

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

    Read More
  • Client Update: LNG destination clauses under scrutiny by Japanese competition regulator

    7 September 2016

    Part of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's strategy for LNG market development, which aims to achieve stability in LNG supply and lower prices, is to 'abolish or relax' destination clauses with the view that this would lead to lower prices through increased reselling and arbitrage selling. Japan's Fair Trade Commission has since launched an investigation into whether destination clauses impede fair competition and contravene Japanese competition law. Certain types of destination restrictions have long been held to infringe EU competition law. Partner Ted Hill, Managing Associate Robert Walker and Associate Sophie Matthiesson consider the implications of this investigation in light of the approach taken in the EU.

    Read More
  • Paper: Government unveils proposed changes to competition laws

    5 September 2016

    The Federal Government today released its much anticipated exposure draft.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    5 August 2016

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

    Read More
  • Focus: Extending the reach of Australia's cartel laws and the first criminal prosecution

    28 July 2016

    Recent decisions handed down in separate cartel proceedings confirm that Australian courts will take a broad approach to the extraterritorial ambit of Australia's competition laws. This means that more foreign businesses could be caught by Australia's criminal and civil cartel laws. These decisions coincide with the commencement of the first criminal cartel case in Australia. Partner Kon Stellios and Senior Associate Amanda Richman report on these developments and their implications.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    19 July 2016

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

    Read More
  • Unravelled: Coming this spring: ACCC to monitor large merchants' payment surcharges

    2 June 2016

    The Reserve Bank has now released a Standard which sets out what payment surcharges will be permitted for the purposes of the new Part IVC of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth). The aim of the Standard is to improve competition and efficiency by providing to consumers price signals associated with the actual cost of using certain payment methods, with the ACCC given the power to monitor and enforce compliance with new laws.

    Read More
  • Focus: Glencore's Newcastle success opens the channel for further access regulation

    1 June 2016

    Glencore has succeeded in its bid to have the access to the Newcastle shipping channel declared under Australia's national access regime. The Australian Competition Tribunal's decision reversed the acting Treasurer's decision and has settled (for now) the uncertainty about the interpretation of the critical 'promotion of competition' criterion for declaration. Partner John Hedge and Lawyer Jessica Rusten consider the implications of this decision for the future application of access regimes to other infrastructure facilities. 

    Read More
  • Focus: Car rental agreement crashes out under the unfair contract terms regime

    27 April 2016

    In proceedings brought by the ACCC, the Federal Court declared a number of terms in Europcar Australia’s 2013 standard rental agreement to be unfair, and therefore void. Partner John Hedge and Lawyer Jessica Rusten review the unfair contracts terms regime, and consider the implications of this latest decision for business contracts to which the regime will extend later this year.

    Read More
  • Client Update: ACCC inquiry into the east coast gas market - key findings and recommendations

    22 April 2016

    The final report of the ACCC inquiry into the east coast gas market was released today. The ACCC has made recommendations about removing government moratoria on gas developments, revising the test to determine when a pipeline should be regulated and increasing consistency and transparency in information provided to the market. Partner Ted Hill and Law Graduate Darcy McLennan report.

    Read More
  • Focus: The ACCC will be watching you pass on the bucks

    14 April 2016

    The ACCC has been given powers to monitor and enforce compliance with new laws prohibiting merchants from charging excessive payment surcharges. Partner Carolyn Oddie, Associate Theodore Souris and Lawyer Emma Gorrie report.

    Read More
  • Client Update: ACCC successfully appeals air cargo cartel - the widening of 'market in Australia'

    23 March 2016

    The ACCC has won an appeal in the Full Federal Court in the air cargo cartel case against Air New Zealand and Garuda. Those airlines were found to have engaged in price fixing conduct within a 'market in Australia' even though the point of competition was outside the country. The case clarifies and potentially expands the circumstances in which conduct engaged in overseas may be caught by Australia's competition laws. Partner John Hedge and Lawyer Jessica Rusten report.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Federal Government amends section 46

    16 March 2016

    The Federal Government today announced it will amend section 46, which prohibits the misuse of market power. In doing so, the Government will adopt the recommendation of the Harper Review.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    1 March 2016

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

    Read More
  • Focus: Access regulation application sinks at the Newcastle shipping channel

    29 January 2016

    The acting Federal Treasurer has made a determination under Australia's national access regime to not declare access to the Newcastle shipping channel. The decision is a reminder of the limits of the national access regime in challenging the pricing of infrastructure owners. Partner John Hedge and Lawyer Jessica Rusten consider the implications for the future application of the national access regime to other infrastructure facilities in light of this decision.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    21 December 2015

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Significant High Court decision on settlement of regulatory proceedings

    9 December 2015

    The High Court today held that parties and regulators are permitted to put before the court an agreed position as to the value of a penalty reached as part of a settlement agreement. Our Regulatory team reports.

    Read More
  • Food Law Bulletin

    8 December 2015

    In this edition we look at the Federal Government’s proposed Country of Origin Labelling that may be rolled out next year; the impact on food producers of the broader reach for the health claims standard; how ACCC proceedings and a new enforcement guide will give producers and consumers a clearer understanding of what is meant by eggs labelled 'free range'; and a decision of the Western Australian Supreme Court of Appeal that examined whether a farmer of genetically modified crops owed a duty of care to prevent contamination of his organic neighbour’s land.

    Read More
  • Focus: Plugging the price drip

    30 November 2015

    The Federal Court has found that Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd and Virgin Australia Airlines Pty Ltd contravened the Australian Consumer Law by engaging in 'drip pricing'. In doing so, the Federal Court differentiated between the types of conduct that will be considered misleading or deceptive under the ACL. Partner Jacqueline Downes, Associate Lisa Lucak and Lawyer Jessica Rusten look at the implications for business.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    17 November 2015

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business. It's been a busy period at the ACCC and we have summarised the most important developments. Of particular note, the extension of unfair contract terms to small business will commence on 12 November 2016.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    29 October 2015

    Welcome to In Touch - the Allens Competition Team's regular round-up of developments in competition law and what it means for your business.

    Read More
  • In touch: Competition news

    7 October 2015

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

    Read More