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

    16 November 2018

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

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  • In touch: Competition news

    1 November 2018

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

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  • Client Update: Gift cards sold to Australian consumers must be valid for at least three years

    23 October 2018

    From 1 November 2019, gift cards sold in Australia must be valid for at least three years, under new legislation setting out a national framework for their regulation. This provides greater certainty for issuers of gift cards who might otherwise have to comply with different state and territory laws. Partner Jacqueline Downes and Associate Sarah Rodrigues report.

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  • In touch: Competition news

    18 October 2018

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

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  • In touch: Competition news

    3 October 2018

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

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  • Focus: Federal Court reverses systemic unconscionability finding against vocational education provider

    2 October 2018

    The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia has overturned a decision by a single judge of the Court which held that Unique International College had engaged in systemic unconscionable conduct under the Australian Consumer Law in connection with the supply of online vocational education courses to consumers in New South Wales. Partner Rosannah Healy and Lawyer Oliver Lloyd report.

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  • In touch: Competition news

    19 September 2018

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

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  • In touch: Competition news

    5 September 2018

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

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  • Client Update: Higher penalties for consumer law breaches come into effect

    4 September 2018

    New laws come into effect this week that substantially increase the maximum penalties for contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law. The changes were a headline recommendation of the Australian Consumer Law Review, and a range of other recommended reforms are currently before Federal Parliament. We take a look at the new penalties and at the status of other proposed changes to the Australian Consumer Law.

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  • Client Update: Competition in electricity and financial services markets - common issues, common solutions?

    30 August 2018

    The level of competition in both the electricity and financial services sectors has been closely scrutinised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Productivity Commission. While there are fundamental differences in market structures in both sectors, the respective commissions have identified common concerns and made common proposals to address those concerns.

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  • Paper: Vietnam reforms its competition law to bring it up to international standards

    27 August 2018

    Vietnam has recently voted to replace its Current Law for competition, which has been in effect for over 12 years, with a New Law. The New Law introduces substantial changes to the country's existing competition framework, with lawmakers striving to match Vietnam's competition governance to international standards. The New Law is effective from 1 July 2019, and various implementing regulations will be issued before then to guide its implementation.

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  • In touch: Competition news

    22 August 2018

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

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  • Client Update: National Energy Guarantee on hold in favour of interventionist powers

    21 August 2018

    In a sharp turnaround over the weekend, the Government announced yesterday it would not introduce the emissions component of the National Energy Guarantee into Parliament, but instead would focus on delivering greater powers to intervene in electricity markets to protect customers from the effects of anti-competitive conduct. Partners Anna Collyer, Rob Walker and Rosannah Healy provide an update of the latest currents in energy policy.

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  • Report: Summary of the ACCC's Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry Final Report

    7 August 2018

    In this publication We unpack some of the key issues raised by the ACCC in its recent Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry Final Report. We look at the ACCC's findings across the electricity supply chain relating to input gas prices, wholesale markets, network costs, retail prices and consumers switching behaviours.

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  • Client Update: ACCC brings first 'excessive surcharge' proceedings

    1 August 2018

    he ACCC has instituted Federal Court proceedings against Europcar for allegedly imposing excessive payment surcharges on customers. This is the first court proceeding commenced by the ACCC under the new prohibition, and serves as a reminder to businesses that card payment surcharges must be limited to the amount that it costs them to process that type of payment. This is a priority area for the ACCC, and follows a string of recent enforcement actions. 

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  • In touch: Competition news

    18 July 2018

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

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  • Client Update: ACCC cartel action against Cryosite is a strong reminder of rules prohibiting 'gun jumping'

    13 July 2018

    The ACCC has instituted Federal Court proceedings against Cryosite Limited for alleged cartel conduct. This is the first case brought by the ACCC alleging 'gun jumping' in a merger, and is a reminder to transaction parties who are competitors to carefully manage contact and pre-planning activities in M&A transactions. The use of external legal counsel, clean teams, pre-planning guidelines and carefully reviewing materials shared or exchanged between transaction counterparties can mitigate the risk of contravening the prohibition on cartels while achieving the transaction parties' objectives of engaging in permissible pre-transaction planning activities. Partner Jacqueline Downes and Managing Associate Felicity McMahon report.

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  • Client Update: ACCC makes 56 recommendations for sweeping energy sector reform

    11 July 2018

    The ACCC today released its final report on the Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry. The report finds the national electricity market is not functioning effectively and that extensive reform is required to bring down prices and restore consumer confidence. It makes 56 significant recommendations aimed at boosting competition in generation and retail markets, lowering supply chain costs and improving consumer and business experiences and outcomes.

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  • Focus: Clarity on what constitutes a misleading consumer guarantee representation

    4 July 2018

    The Full Federal Court has allowed in part the ACCC’s appeal against an earlier decision of the Federal Court by finding that LG Electronics Australia made false representations in two instances. The decision clarifies the obligations on suppliers and manufacturers when engaging with consumers regarding their consumer guarantee entitlements under the Australian Consumer Law. It reiterates the importance of providing staff with clear policies and training regarding consumer guarantees and the ACL. Partners Kon Stellios and Robert Walker, Senior Associate Theodore Souris, and Vacation Clerk Alex Neerhut report.

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  • In touch: Competition news

    27 June 2018

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

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  • In touch: Competition news

    30 May 2018

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

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  • Client Update: Misuse of market power - Court rejects ACCC allegations against Pfizer

    25 May 2018

    Today the Full Federal Court found against the ACCC and in favour of Pfizer.

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  • Focus: Federal Court imposes highest penalty to date

    22 May 2018

    The Full Federal Court has allowed the ACCC's appeal and imposed penalties of $46 million for cartel conduct on Japanese wire harness manufacturer Yazaki Corporation. The penalty was increased to $46 million from $9.5 million on appeal, and is the highest-ever penalty under the Competition and Consumer Act. Partner Kon Stellios and Associate Jack Ducommun look at the implications for business.

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  • Focus: Federal Government's bold vision for data availability and use

    4 May 2018

    The Federal Government's response to the Productivity Commission's report on data availability and use, released this week, outlines a bold vision but has a surprising lack of detail, suggesting implementation is likely to be some way off. If legislation is introduced, the new regime will result in a fundamental change to the way Australian consumers, businesses and government agencies interact with and think about data. Partner Gavin Smith, Senior Associate Jessica Selby and Lawyer Claudia Hall predict the key impacts.

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  • In touch: Competition news

    2 May 2018

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

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  • In touch: Competition news

    6 April 2018

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

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  • In touch: Competition news

    28 February 2018

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

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  • Client Update: ACCC's Enforcement and Compliance priorities for 2018

    22 February 2018

    A number of industries and issues are in the spotlight following release of the ACCC's 2018 Enforcement and Compliance Priorities by ACCC Chairman Rod Sims on 20 February 2018. The financial services, energy, commercial construction and agriculture sectors will be a focus in 2018, as well as the post-Harper misuse of market power and concerted practices provisions, digital platforms and large franchisors.

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  • Linklaters Insights: Asia Pacific Competition Law Bulletin

    21 February 2018

    Our global alliance partner Linklaters, with input from Allens and other expert local law firms around the region, look at the latest competition law and policy developments in the Asia Pacific region. As significant changes to the competition law regime in Australia came into effect in at the end of 2017, big changes are coming in Singapore as the competition authority take over consumer protection. There will also be a possible wave of legislative reforms coming in Asia, as South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong may be looking to review their regimes in 2018.

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  • Focus: Federal Government review into Open Banking

    14 February 2018

    The Federal Government has released its much anticipated Review into Open Banking in Australia. The Review makes 50 sweeping recommendations to implement Open Banking, including a new regulatory framework under which the regime would operate in the broader context of a new Consumer Data Right for all sectors. Partner Gavin Smith, Senior Associate Elyse Adams, Associate Leah Wickman and Lawyer Connie Ye report on some of the key elements of the report.

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  • Linklaters Insights: European Commission reaffirms tough stance on loyalty inducing rebates

    14 February 2018

    After a two-and-a-half year investigation, the European Commission has imposed a €997 million fine on Qualcomm for 'illegally shutting out rivals' from the market for LTE baseband chipsets using significant payments to an important customer, Apple, in return for exclusivity.

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  • Client Update: First round of proposed changes to Australian Consumer Law released

    6 February 2018

    The Federal Government has released exposure draft legislation and regulations that implement 14 recommendations from the final report on the Australian Consumer Law Review. Submissions on the draft reforms are due 28 February 2018. We look at the key reforms to the ACL and the ASIC Act, and analyse the implications for business.

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  • Client Update: Vietnamese competition law reform: what you need to know

    29 January 2018

    Vietnam is undertaking a major overhaul of its competition law framework to bring it into line with current international practice. The fifth draft Law on Competition has been submitted to the Standing Committee of the National Assembly for review.

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  • Focus: Court finds PZ Cussons spotless in alleged laundry detergent cartel

    19 January 2018

    Allens acted for PZ Cussons in successfully defending the first contested 'hub and spoke' cartel case brought by the ACCC. The ACCC alleged (among other things) that laundry detergent suppliers entered into an agreement via communications through an intermediary – initially, the industry association and, subsequently, a major customer, Woolworths. The other respondents in the proceeding - Colgate-Palmolive and Woolworths - settled with the ACCC in 2016, paying pecuniary penalties of $18 million and $9 million respectively. Partner Kon Stellios and Senior Associate Lisa Lucak, who worked on the case, report.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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. 

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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