Barrister

Suzanne Rab

Year of call 2013

CC&P

Competition and State Aid

Cartels

Advising on major cartel investigations, appeals and follow-on actions, including advising:

  • Air Canada on the European Commission’s investigation under Article 101 TFEU in relation to air freight and appeal to the General Court;
  • Dunlop Oil & Marine in relation to antitrust and criminal investigations into cartel activity in marine hoses in the UK, EU, US, Brazil, Japan and Korea.

Merger Control

Advising on multi-jurisdictional merger control investigations, notably advising:

  • ICI on its acquisition by Akzo Nobel and the related onsale of its adhesives and electronic materials business to Henkel;
  • Hewlett-Packard on numerous international merger control filings and strategy, including on its acquisition of EDS and Mercury Interactive;
  • BHP on the international merger control implications of its dual-listed merger with Billiton.

Energy and natural resources

Depth of experience advising on antitrust matters in the energy and natural resources sector.  She also advises on competition matters in specific energy product, infrastructure and services markets, including oil and fuel products.  This includes representations advising:

  • Noble Energy on the EU competition law, merger control and regulatory aspects of its investment in the natural gas and LNG sector in Cyprus including advising on State aid, public procurement and implementation of the Third Gas Directive;
  • the European Commission and conducting market analysis to inform the identification of criteria to evaluate projects of regional European interest – those projects which would benefit from special funding as being deemed of regional/ common European interest;
  • Gazprom on the EU regulatory and antitrust aspects of its participation in the South Stream pipeline including in relation to the unbundling and third party access requirements of the Third Energy Directive;
  • an Italian gas supplier, on EU competition law claims in an arbitration involving a State-owned energy company;
  • Shell on the merger control aspects of the disposal of its elastomers and resins business, including coordination of merger control filings worldwide;
  • Total on third party access issues in relation to its LNG investments in the UK;
  • Total on the European Commission’s sector inquiry in the energy sector;
  • the Commission for Electricity Regulation in Ireland on the EU law and regulatory aspects of a scheme to allocate scarce capacity in the Irish natural gas network;
  • RBS Capital Partners on its investment in a UK public gas transporter, requiring regulatory strategy advice on proposals for the securitisation of licensee assets;
  • Norilsk Nickel on the EU competition law implications of its long-term contracts.

Other regulated industries

Depth and breadth of experience of UK and EU sector regulation in the regulated sectors, notably advising:

  • the Legal Services Board and the Law Society on the barriers to the effective operation of the markets in which legal firms operate and the ways in which regulators or representative bodies could improve market functioning;
  • Wyeth on the European Commission’s inquiry into the pharmaceutical sector, including attendance at the dawn raid which initiated the inquiry;
  • Aguas de Barcelona on the merger control, competition law and regulatory aspects of its investments in the UK water sector, including handling relationships with the sector regulator Ofwat and negotiating licence modifications.

International

Expertise and reputation advising governments, regulators and businesses in emerging competition law regimes (both outbound in relation to EU law comparative expert opinions and inbound in relation to the application of EU and UK law to international practices).  Examples include:

  • advising on competition law issues arising under the Indian Competition Act 2002 in the context of an arbitration in the gas sector;
  • advising on the practical implementation of the Malaysian Competition Act, modelled on EU/ UK competition law;
  • advising Anadarko on the competition law implications of its energy investments in Mozambique involving both EU and the newly enacted Mozambique competition law of April 2013;
  • advising various multi-national organisations on the implications of new competition laws in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates).

EU Law

Suzanne has wide experience of EU law matters including competition law, public procurement, State aid, EU free movement rules and food regulation.  Suzanne’s practice has a particular focus on the interface between EU law and economic regulation.  She advises governments, regulators and businesses across the regulated sectors in relation to EU law matters and national law implementation.

Suzanne has significant experience of advising on the development, implementation and application of new regulatory regimes, including in emerging markets which have modelled their laws on EU law.

Representative experience includes:

  • advising a major US based pharmaceutical company on a challenge under EU law to a decision of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence;
  • advising an India-based food company on the EU and UK food labelling requirements for its UK business;
  • advising a non-EU broadcaster on potential claims against a UK broadcaster involving the interaction between EU law free movement rules, competition law and copyright.

Sports, Entertainment and Media

Broadcasting

  • Advising News Corporation on the UK and EU competition law and public interest aspects of its proposed acquisition of the shares in British Sky Broadcasting Group that it does not already own.
  • Advising on the competition, compliance, and audit issues relating to compliance with the Fair Trading Condition under the BBC’s Charter.

Online

  • Advising Hulu on the EU and UK competition law, regulatory and merger control issues relating to a potential JV in Video-on-Demand.
  • Advising NBC Universal on the EU merger control issues relating to its investment in Hulu.
  • Advising on the UK competition law, judicial review and economics issues relating to the formation and regulatory review by the Competition Commission of a UK JV in Video-On-Demand (Project Kangaroo).

Media and entertainment

  • Advising AEG on its participation in the UK merger control aspects of the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster, before the UK Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission.
  • Advising the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers on implementation of the European Commission’s CISAC decision.
  • Advising a French channel on the EU competition law issues relating to exclusive licensing of its movie rights.
  • Advising start-up film companies on the competition law implications of the UK Competition Commission’s investigation into pay TV movie rights.

Print

  • Advising a UK investor on the UK competition law and public interest aspects of its proposed investment in a major UK newspaper quality title.
  • Advising The Evening Standard on the competition law implications of its distribution arrangements.
  • Conducting a legal and economics analysis of competition and consolidation in the UK regional newspaper sector with PwC Economics.

Sport

  • Advising the English Cricket Board on an abuse of dominance complaint.
  • Advising various beverage suppliers on the competition law issues related to their sponsorship and distribution of products at sporting events.

Telecommunications

Representative experience includes:

  • advising O2 on licensing, competition, and regulatory aspects of the UK Competition Commission’s calls to mobiles investigation, through the reference, price control, and market investigation;
  • advising on the European Commission’s competition investigation into differential pricing of iTunes in the EU Member States;
  • advising BT on a number of strategic regulatory issues regarding its UK business;
  • advising a major satellite operator on the EU merger control aspects of a strategic acquisition;
  • advising a satellite operator on a challenge to an Ofcom decision before the Competition Appeal Tribunal;
  • advising CASBAA, an association of media organisations, on its submissions to the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India in relation to proposed reforms to regulation of ownership of communications and media enterprises.

Financial Services

  • Advising on competition law and regulatory matters in the financial services sector, both in relation to mergers, behavioural matters and market investigations, including advising:
  • The Payment Systems Regulator on its approach to the regulation of payment systems and services provided over payment systems including dispute resolution;
  • The Federation of Independent Practioner Organisations on its challenge to the Competition and Markets Authority's Private Healthcare Market Investigation (on matters of private healthcare insurance), before the Court of Appeal;
  • General Electric on the first ever market investigation in the UK (into store cards and insurance);
  • HBOS on the UK Competition Commission investigation into PPI.

Intellectual Property

Broad experience advising at the intersection between competition law and intellectual property.  Representative experience includes:

  • advising on the European Commission’s Reuters Instruments Codes investigation under Article 102 TFEU relating to abuse of dominance;
  • advising Hewlett-Packard on the European Commission’s investigation into printers and cartridges pricing and related intellectual property issues;
  • making representations to the European Commission on the Technology Transfer Block Exemption and Guidelines.

Arbitration

Suzanne acts as counsel and expert in international arbitrations in complex commercial disputes, particularly those with a regulatory or competition law dimension.  Many of these disputes relate to network industries and have an international dimension.

Examples of representative experience include acting in: 

  • a dispute between a telecommunications operator and a new entrant over access to fibre in the Channel Islands; 
  • a pricing dispute in a long-term gas distribution agreement raising issues of EU, Italian and Algerian law;
  • a dispute over profit entitlement in a production sharing contract in the Indian gas sector;
  • a dispute over a non-compete provision in a long-term distribution agreement covering multiple Member States;
  • a dispute between shareholders over compliance with directors’ duties and the distribution of assets and equity earn-outs relating to a business in the media sector;
  • a dispute over regulatory commitments entered into on the sale of a business in the natural resources sector in the Russian Federation.

Banking

Wide experience advising on UK and EU regulation and competition law in the banking and wider financial services sector.  

Suzanne’s work in the banking sector has involved representations in relation to sector regulation, mergers, behavioural matters, market investigations and State aid.  More recently this experience includes advising the newly established UK Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), a subsidiary of the UK Financial Conduct Authority, on its approach to regulation of the UK payments sector.  The new regime is ground-breaking in terms of the issues it raises as it represents the first time that the payments sector has been subject to dedicated regulation independent of the central bank.

Suzanne has advised on the main market and sector investigations into the banking sector at the UK and EU level, including advising General Electric on the first ever market investigation in the UK (into store cards and insurance) and Halifax Bank of Scotland on the UK Competition Commission investigation into Payment Protection Insurance.  In the area of abuse of dominance she has advised Dow Jones on the European Commission’s investigation into Reuters Instruments Codes (RICs) under Article 102 TFEU which focused on exclusionary practices in relation to the distribution platform for financial information.

Civil Fraud

Particular expertise advising in complex cases involving civil fraud which overlap with cartel practices and related areas of regulation including financial crime, market manipulation and anti-corruption.

Prior to her call to the Bar Suzanne worked as a director in the strategy (economics and forensics) practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she was involved in cases involving asset tracing and damages assessment.  Her high level of financial literacy is particularly valued by clients seeking counsel who can handle financial experts with ease.

Her representative experience includes advising on major cartel investigations, appeals and follow-on damages actions, including advising: 

  • Air Canada on the European Commission’s investigation under Article 101 TFEU in relation to air freight and appeal to the General Court;
  • Dunlop Oil & Marine in relation to antitrust and criminal investigations into cartel activity in marine hoses in the UK, EU, US, Brazil, Japan and Korea.

Insurance and Reinsurance

Wide experience and expertise advising on regulatory matters and disputes involving insurance and reinsurance companies.

Suzanne has particular experience advising on EU and UK regulatory and competition issues in the insurance sector including advising:

  • a major US-based company on the European Commission’s sector inquiry into business insurance;
  • the Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations on its challenge to the Competition and Market Authority’s report in its Private Healthcare Market Investigation (Competition Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal) on matters relating to the provision of private healthcare insurance;
  • General Electric on the first ever market investigation in the UK (into store cards and related insurance);
  • Halifax Bank of Scotland on the UK Competition Commission investigation into Payment Protection Insurance.

Administrative and Public Law

Experience and reputation advising on and representing clients as counsel in a range of administrative and public law matters, acting for public law defendants as well as private parties.  

Specific areas of expertise in administrative and public law include:

Constitutional Law, Data Protection and Freedom of Information, EU Public Law, Human Rights, Judicial Review, Media and Broadcasting, Medical and Pharmaceutical Regulation, Public Inquiries, Public International Law, Public Procurement and State Aid, Regulatory and Disciplinary Law and Transport Law.

Examples of representative engagements include:

  • advising a state on the public law and constitutional law implications of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union;
  • advising News Corporation on legal challenges to decisions of the Secretary of State to intervene in its proposed acquisition of the interests in British Sky Broadcasting that it does not already own;
  • advising data controllers and processors on their duties under UK and EU data protection law;
  • advising on compliance with the duties of public authorities under Article 4(3) of the Treaty on European Union and Article 106 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union including in challenges to decisions of the National Lottery Commission, NICE and the European Union Intellectual Property Office;
  • advising on human rights issues in relation to Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights in the context of judicial review of administrative action and court proceedings in the UK and other Member States;
  • appearing as counsel in judicial review of decisions of the UK competition authorities, including decisions of the Competition and Markets Authority;
  • advising the Payment Systems Regulator on the public law and human rights aspects of its dispute resolution and settlement procedures and its Policies and Procedures Guide, public consultations and policy statements on dispute resolution and investigatory procedures;
  • advising a potential investor on the State aid implications of a proposed investment in certain assets of Tata Steel in the UK;
  • advising a train operating company on the conduct of and potential challenges to its procurement of information technology services;
  • conducting an internal inquiry for a sports governing body into allegations of maladministration;
  • acting as adjudicator and Panel Chair in sports disciplinary proceedings for a UK sports regulatory body.

Human Rights

Wide experience of EU and international human rights law.  Suzanne has particular experience on human rights issues in regulatory investigations and enforcement by public authorities. Representative experience includes:

  • advising on human rights issues in relation to Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights in the context of judicial review of administrative action and court proceedings in the UK and other Member States;
  • appearing as counsel in judicial review of decisions of the UK competition authorities, including decisions of the Competition and Markets Authority;
  • advising the Payment Systems Regulator on the public law and human rights aspects of its dispute resolution and settlement procedures and its Policies and Procedures Guide, public consultations and policy statements on dispute resolution and investigatory procedures.

Private International Law

Expert in cross-border disputes, particularly raising issues of jurisdiction, choice of law, anti-suit injunctions, exclusive jurisdiction clauses, and recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, both under EU legislation and at common law.

Regulatory and Disciplinary

Economic regulation

Suzanne advises on economic and financial regulation in all the regulated sectors, including sector-specific licensing, and price control matters in the following sectors: communications, energy (electricity and gas), financial services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, transportation (including rail and road, shipping), and water.

Professional services regulation

Suzanne advises on professional services regulation with particular expertise in the regulation of solicitors and barristers.  Representative experience includes advising:

  • the Legal Services Board and the Law Society on the barriers to the effective operation of the markets in which legal firms operate and the ways in which regulators or representative bodies could improve market functioning;
  • the Legal Services Board on the cumulative impacts of changes to regulation following the Legal Services Act 2007 reforms.

In 2016 Suzanne presented to a delegation of the IBA and the Kazakhstan Bar Association on international regulation of lawyers.

Suzanne is author of Practical Law Company’s UK Guide to legal services regulation.

Disciplinary

Representative engagements include:

  • advising on the competition law and restraint of trade issues arising from potential sanctions imposed following breach of the SRA Code of Conduct;
  • conducting an internal inquiry for a sports governing body into allegations of maladministration;
  • acting as adjudicator and Panel Chair in sports disciplinary proceedings for a UK sports regulatory body.
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Testimonials

"Has significant knowledge of Indian competition law and is a published author on the subject. "

Chambers & Partners (2015)

‘An extremely able barrister and a master of her subject.’

Legal 500 (2017)