Competition between business’ is often seen as healthy, promoting lower prices and more efficiency within the industry. However, such competition can lead toward anti-competitive conduct, creating an unfair environment for your business. With this in mind, it is crucial that you know your rights as a business, as well as the boundaries for your own conduct. A competition lawyer can help protect you against anti-competitive behaviour, as well as allow you to stop and take action against this behaviour if it happens to you.
To start your process, be sure to check out Lawpath’s Lawyer Directory to be put in touch competition lawyers across Australia.
5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Competition Lawyer
What services do they offer?
There are a wide variety of services available within firms that deal with competition law. It is important that you choose a firm that specialises in the category/ categories that you are seeking. On each firm’s website, there is usually a list that outlines the areas they specialise in. Make sure to navigate through this section of the website and ensure that the firm you choose is best suited for your needs.
An example of services provided by firms include;
- Competition law and regulation
- Telecommunications and media
- Transport and infrastructure
What experience do they have?
Once you have found a firm that fits your needs, it is essential that you pick a lawyer that has appropriate experience. It is important you hire a lawyer that has had experience in competition law, as well as working with smaller to medium sized companies so that they are familiar with all aspects of competition law.
What are the legal costs?
Competition Lawyers are generally paid in two different ways.
Billable hours are when the lawyer charges for every hour spent on your issue. You should try and get an idea of how many hours the lawyer expects to take. Keep in mind that even a short five minute conversation can add much more than that into your final charge.
A flat fee provides a clearer picture of what you pay. The flat fee, however, may not cover all legal costs such as filing documents in court.
However, some firms may adopt a No Win, No Fee policy. Which all depends on the outcome of the proceedings. If you win, you pay and if you lose, you do not have to pay. This is a more uncommon approach to billing but can be found in some firms around Australia.
What should you aim to achieve when hiring a competition lawyer?
With the possibility of rapid changes in market conditions and a business’s competitive nature toward other companies, it is essential that you and your staff understand competition law. With a strong market, competition between companies can promote efficiency and cheaper prices, but can also prompt malpractice.
Your aim when hiring a competition lawyer should be to learn how to protect yourself and employees from engaging in conduct that may lead to legal action under Australian competition law. To ensure that you do not engage in malpractice, it is important to know where the line is for both you and your competitors. This is where hiring a Competition Lawyer will be of great benefit to your business.
What can happen if a breach in competition occurs for your business or a competitor of yours?
If a breach occurs, there are various fines and penalties that can be handed out as punishment for malpractice. Contraventions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) and the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) will attract fines and pecuniary penalties. These penalties and fines will vary upon the severity of the breach that has occurred.
Some examples of possible offences include;
- cartel conduct
- exclusionary conduct
- misuse of market power
- exclusive dealing
- resale price maintenance
- anticompetitive mergers
These 5 key questions will ensure you are ready to jump right into your competition issues confidently and efficiently. Ready to talk to someone about raising capital for your business then? LawPath can put you in touch with one of our lawyers from our Lawyer Directory
Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace or to get answers to your legal questions.