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Georgina Foster

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Georgina Foster is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Sydney office and leads the Firm’s Australian competition practice.

In Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions v Citigroup Global Markets Australia Pty Ltd [2021] FCA 511, the Federal Court has handed down an important decision which highlights the dilemma that may be faced by an immunity applicant in complying with its duty to provide full, frank and truthful disclosure and to co-operate under the ACCC’s Immunity and Cooperation Policy for Cartel Conduct (ACCC Policy) and maintaining legal professional privilege over witness accounts provided to solicitors at an early stage in an investigation.

On 19 March 2021, the Full Federal Court allowed an appeal in the matter of ACCC v Quantum Housing Group Pty Ltd [2021] FCAFC 40.  The Full Court judgment provides important clarification of the elements required to establish statutory unconscionable conduct under s 21 of the Australian Consumer Law (“ACL”).

The critical finding of the Full Court is that although some form of exploitation or predation upon some vulnerability or disadvantage will often be a feature of unconscionable conduct, it is not a necessary element of unconscionable conduct under s 21 of the ACL.

Yesterday, the Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Rod Sims, announced the ACCC’s compliance and enforcement priorities for 2021 and the market studies and advocacy work that the ACCC would continue this year.

Mr Sims identified a range of industry sectors, as well as specific competition and consumer law issues that will be the focus of the ACCC’s compliance and enforcement activities for 2021.

In brief Yesterday, the Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Rod Sims, announced the ACCC’s compliance and enforcement priorities for 2021 and the market studies and advocacy work that the ACCC would continue this year. Mr Sims identified a range of industry sectors, as well as specific…

In brief Yesterday, the Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Rod Sims, announced the ACCC’s compliance and enforcement priorities for 2021 and the market studies and advocacy work that the ACCC would continue this year. Mr Sims identified a range of industry sectors, as well as specific…

Yesterday, the Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Rod Sims, announced the ACCC’s compliance and enforcement priorities for 2021 and the market studies and advocacy work that the ACCC would continue this year.

Mr Sims identified a range of industry sectors, as well as specific competition and consumer law issues that will be the focus of the ACCC’s compliance and enforcement activities for 2021.

The NSW Fair Trading enforcement grace period for new disclosure obligations added to the Fair Trading Act 1987 (NSW) expires on 31 December 2020. The changes commenced on 1 July 2020 and imposed new disclosure obligations on affected businesses. The new disclosure obligations require:

suppliers to disclose terms or conditions of contracts that substantially prejudice consumers. The disclosures must be made before the business supplies the goods or services;1 and
intermediaries to disclose the financial incentives arrangements they have with suppliers. The disclosures must be made before the business acts under an arrangement where it may receive a commission or referral fee.2

As European competition authorities and international organizations like the OECD and ICN look to advance the debate on sustainability and antitrust, Baker McKenzie’s global antitrust knowledge lawyer Grant Murray and partner Georgina Foster explore the approach of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and ask if it can provide a…

ACCC enters multilateral framework to strengthen cross-border enforcement 
Guilty plea in first criminal charge for obstructing ACCC investigation
Merger review round up; non-publication of post merger investigations
Digital Platforms Inquiry update: draft bargaining code; platforms respond 

The new framework will facilitate coordination between the ACCC and competition agencies in the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand on cross-border competition investigations. For the first time, an individual plead guilty to a criminal charge of obstructing an ACCC investigation by inciting fellow employees to give false evidence to the ACCC. The ACCC remains active in assessing merger matters, while announcing that they will no longer place post-completion investigations on the public merger register. The ACCC also published a draft bargaining code-covering payment for news content; digital platforms have heavily criticized the code.