George Peretz

GP
Call 1990
Education

BA (Oxon)

Contact the Clerks

+44 (0)20 7405 7211 | chambers@monckton.com

George advises and represents clients over a wide range of EU and public law issues, with particular strengths in competition, VAT, agriculture, freedom of information and pharmaceuticals. He regularly appears in the European Court of Justice, Court of Appeal, High Court and specialist tribunals such as the Competition Appeal Tribunal, and is usually against Queen’s Counsel.

George Peretz has “an excellent depth of knowledge” (Legal 500, 2013) of competition law in both the United Kingdom and European Union, having practised in the area since 1992.  He advises and represents major private clients, regulators and Government departments over the whole field of competition law, including cartels, mergers, Article 102,  private actions for damages and injunctions and judicial review.  He frequently appears on competition issues before the Competition Appeal Tribunal and other UK courts, as well as the European Court of Justice and General Court.  In the past year he led, in the Court of Appeal, a leading pharmaceutical company’s successful defence against an application for an interim injunction under Article 102, in a case raising important and difficult issues as to the correct approach to market definition and abuse in pharma cases (Chemistree v Abbvie ): and he is currently acting for the European Commission in the appeal to the EU General Court against its high-profile Lundbeck decision (pay for delay agreements). He has extensive experience of guiding clients through investigations by the Competition and Markets Authority and its predecessors, including complaints, leniency applications, responding to dawn raids and demands for information, preparing responses to Statements of Objections, settlement negotiations and oral representations.

George has very considerable experience in advising and representing public and private sector clients on State aid issues, including appearances in the European Court of Justice and General Court.  He is Joint Convenor of the newly formed UK State Aid Law Association (http://uksala.org/).

George also practises extensively in the area of VAT, where he has extensive experience before UK and EU courts, and the First Tier Tribunal.   Recent highlights include leading HMRC’s successful appeals to the Court of Appeal and to the Upper Tribunal in different strands of the high-profile Rank case (fiscal neutrality and gaming machines) and his successful appearance for the UK in the ECJ in Case C-651/11 Staatssecretaris van Financiën v X (transfer of a going concern).

George has extensive experience of litigating EU and public law, in addition to those mentioned above. He has appeared in the High Court, Court of Appeal and European Court of Justice in a range of areas, including pharmaceutical regulation, agricultural law, intellectual property, human rights, pharmaceutical licensing and telecommunications. Recent highlights include his successful appearances for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in R(Roche Registration Ltd) v MHRA [2014] EWHC 2256 (Admin), for the UK in the ECJ in Case C-500/11 Fruition (agricultural producers organisations) and for the Statistics Board in the High Court on an application for a declaration that UK census legislation was contrary to the ECHR (R oao Ali v Statistics Board [2012] EWHC 1943 (Admin)).

George has frequently acted for both public sector and private clients in the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal on Freedom of Information Act issues, and co-authored the second edition of the Blackstone’s Guide to the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

His range of court experience and advisory work was recently recognised by his re-appointment to the Attorney General’s A panel.

George is a Director of Advocates for International Development (A4ID) and is a part-time Judge of the First-tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber).

Recent / Major cases

Competition

  • Chemistree Homecare Ltd v AbbVie (successfully resisting application for interim injunction under Article 102 in High Court ([2013] UKCLR 135) and Court of Appeal ([2013] EWCA 1338, 7/11/2013)
  • Acting for European Commission in ongoing appeals against the Lundbeck “pay for delay” decision
  • Association of Convenience Stores and National Federation of Retail Newsagents v OFT (Competition Appeal Tribunal, challenge to OFT prioritisation decision) [2013] CompAR 1.
  • Kerry Foods/Headland (successful defence before Competition Commission of completed merger in frozen ready meals)
  • NewsCorp/BSkyB (advising Avaaz)
  • LAN Chile v. Commission (T-41/11); Air Canada v. Commission (T-9/11) (acting for Commission in air cargo cartel appeals: ongoing)
  • Renew plc v. OFT; Robert Woodhead v. OFT (successful appeals to the CAT against penalties in the OFT’s construction cover pricing decision)
  • Oxley Threads v. Commission, T-448/05 (cartels; judgment of 28/4/10)
  • R (Dwr Cymru) v Ofwat (judicial review [2010 UKCLR 469: successful defence of Ofwat’s policy on inset appointments)
  • Fish Holdings v. OFT [2009] CAT 34 (time limit for appeal in CAT)
  • OFT construction recruitment investigation: acted for Select Holdings; applied for and obtained type A (100%) leniency (against a penalty which would otherwise have been over £100 million)
  • Freightliner v EWS (for claimant in CAT damages action: settled after CMC)
  • Transocean/Global Santa Fe: (successful negotiation of undertakings in lieu before OFT: oil rigs)
  • OFT tobacco investigation (for First Quench; negotiated early settlement)
  • OFT groceries investigation (for a manufacturer)
  • The Leaflet Company v Royal Mail (Art.82 damages action in High Court: settled)
  • Independent Water Company v. Ofwat [2007] CAT 6 (admissibility)
  • Scott SA v. Commission Case T-369/00 and Case C-290/07P (annulment of State aid recovery decision))
  • Stericycle v. Competition Commission [2006] CAT 21 and [2007] CAT 9 (appeals against interim and final remedies imposed by CC in merger case)
  • Advising in relation to the OFT’s investigation into price information exchanges by public schools (2006)
  • BCL Old Co v. Aventis (first CAT action for damages) [2005] CAT 1, [2005] CompAR 470
  • Replica Football Kit Appeals (first appeal in a contested cartel case) [2004] CAT 17 (liability), [2005] CAT 22 (penalty)
  • Claymore Dairies v. OFT [2003] CAT 3 (admissibility); [2003] CAT 12 (confidentiality); [2003] CAT 18 (stay of part of the proceedings); [2004] CAT 16 (disclosure); [2005] CAT 30 (abuse of dominant position); [2006] CAT 3 (conduct on withdrawal)
  • Lladro Comercial [2003] UKCLR 652 (Chapter I/resale price maintenance/fair procedure/no penalty imposed)
  • OFT v. X [2003] 2 All ER (Comm) 182, [2003] UKCLR 785 (compatibility of OFTs powers to “dawn raid” with the Human Rights Act 1998).
  • Recent merger/market investigations cases include: Kerry Foods/Headland; Transocean/GlobalSantaFe (oil rigs; undertakings in lieu of reference negotiated; amendments of undertakings obtained in light of subsequent developments); Osim/Yardem (kosher food, OFT); Delta 2/Qatar Investment Authority/Sainsbury (for potential acquirer); Supermarkets (advice to Cross-Cutting group on remedies); Game/Gamestation (video game retailing – for a third party: OFT and CC); Luxottica/Oakley (sunglasses); Stericycle v CC (first challenge to CC interim measures in the Competition Appeal Tribunal; followed by first CAT challenge to a CC merger report – withdrawn after acceptable remedies agreed); Acco/General Binding Corp (office equipment); Knauf/Superglass (insulation products; OFT and CC); Extended Warranties

VAT

  • Rank v HMRC: represented HMRC in successful appeal to Court of Appeal in major case concerning application of the principle of fiscal neutrality in the gaming industry [2013] EWCA Civ 1289, judgment of 30/10/2013: also represented HMRC in the ECJ (Case C-259/10, [2012] STC 23)) and Upper Tribunal ([2013] STC 420 (successful application for remittal of another aspect of the case to First-tier Tribunal)
  • Rapid Sequence v HMRC [2013] UKFTT 432 (TC) (exemption for supply of medical services applies to employment agencies supplying medical staff: Tribunal accepted HMRC’s case that it was possible to read words into VATA so as to comply with EU Directives)
  • Schoenimport (Case C-131/13) (right to deduct in MTIC cases) (ongoing)
  • X v Staatsecretaris van Financien (Case C-651/11, judgment of 30 May 2013, representing UK – ECJ agreed with UK that disposal of minority shareholding was not a part disposal of a totality of assets under Art.19 PVD)
  • SRI International v HMRC [2011] STC 1614 (ability to deduct input tax)
  • Arachchige v HMRC [2010] EWCA Civ 1255 (VAT treatment of phonecards)
  • Wheels v. HMRC (VAT on financial services; fiscal neutrality: ongoing)
  • RNLI v. HMRC (scope of zero-rating for supplies relating to sea-going vessels) [2009] UKFTT 39 (TC)
  • Ford v HMRC [2008] STC 83, CA (consideration and single/composite supply)
  • Hutchison 3G and others v. C&E, C-369/04 (ECJ reference of 3G mobile phone companies claim for repayment of £3.5 bn VAT on payments made for 3G Licences), judgment 27 June 2007

EU Law (General)

  • R(Roche Registration Ltd) v MHRA[2014] EWHC 2256 (Admin) (whether MHRA in breach of EU law and the ECHR in relation to an inspection of Roche)
  • Fruition PO v. DEFRA (ECJ and High Court; rules governing producers’ organisations)
  • Milk Supplies Limited v. DEFRA [2010] EWCA Civ 19 (Abuse of rights: Court of Appeal)
  • Case C-402/07 AHP Manufacturing, judgment of 3 September 2009 (pharmaceuticals: supplementary protection certificates)
  • DEFRA v. Asda [2003] UKHL 71 (whether UK law criminalised infringement of certain EC regulations)

Telecoms

  • The Number v OFCOM (CAT telecommunications appeal [2009] EWCA 1360 (referred to ECJ)
  • Jersey Telecom v. Jersey Competition and Regulatory Authority (first Jersey telecoms appeal)
  • United Pan-Europe v. Belgian State (C-250/06) (ECJ)
  • Arcor, C-55/06 (ECJ)
  • Mobistar, C-438/04 (ECJ)

Human Rights

  • R(Ali) v Minister for Cabinet Office [2012] ACD 89 [2012] EWHC 1943 (Admin) (successful argument that provision of census legislation permitting disclosure of census information to foreign criminal enforcement agencies was compatible with Article 8 ECHR)
Competition law

‘Excellent depth of knowledge.’ - Legal 500, 2014

George has extensive experience of UK and EC competition law, acting both for private parties and for regulators. George regularly appears before the Competition Appeal Tribunal, the European Court of Justice and General Court and before the OFT and Competition Commission, as well as the High Court and Court of Appeal. He has extensive experience of advising and representing major companies and public bodies in:

  • cases involving possible infringements of Article 101 or 102 of the TFEU (formerly Arts. 81 and 82 EC) or Chapter I or II of the UK Competition Act
  • merger and market investigations before the OFT and Competition Commission, and challenges in the CAT
  • appeals against Commission decisions to the General Court and ECJ
  • State aid issues

Competition Highlights Include:

(* indicates the party for whom he acted)

Private actions

  • Chemistree Homecare Ltd v AbbVie* (successfully resisting in the Court of Appeal application for interim injunction under Article 102) [2014] UKCLR 1
  • Freightliner* v EWS (for claimant in CAT damages action: settled after CMC)
  • The Leaflet Company v Royal Mail* (major Art.82 damages action in High Court: settled)
  • BCL Old Co v. Aventis (first CAT action for damages: for additional party) [2005] CAT 1, [2005] CompAR 470
  • Claritas* v Post Office [2001] UKCLR 2 (High Court: first application for an injunction under the Competition Act)
  • Synstar v ICL* [2001] UKCLR 982, High Court
  • Advised in several other cases settled before proceedings issued

Cartel investigations and investigations under CA98 and Articles 101/102

  • Arrow v Commission* (appeal against the Commission’s Lundbeck decision finding that pay for delay agreements in the course of patent litigation breached Article 101)
  • Association of Convenience Stores and National Federation of Retail Newsagents* v OFT (Competition Appeal Tribunal, challenge to OFT prioritisation decision)  [2013] CompAR 1.
  • Kerry Foods/Headland (successful defence before Competition Commission of completed merger in frozen ready meals)
  • LAN Chile v. Commission* (T-41/11); Air Canada v. Commission* (T-9/11) (air cargo cartel appeals)
  • Renew plc* v. OFT; Robert Woodhead* v. OFT (successful appeals to the CAT against penalties in the OFT’s construction cover pricing decision): advised other companies in relation to OFT investigation
  • Oxley Threads* v Commission, T-448/05 (cartels; judgment of 28/4/10)
  • Fish Holdings* v. OFT [2009] CAT 34 (time limit for appeal in CAT)
  • OFT groceries investigation: acted for well-known food manufacturer; OFT dropped case
  • OFT construction recruitment investigation: acted for Select Holdings; applied for and obtained type A (100%) leniency (against a penalty which would otherwise have been over £100 million)
  • OFT tobacco investigation (for First Quench: early settlement after Statement of Objections)
  • Independent Water Company v. Ofwat* [2007] CAT 6 (admissibility)
  • Advising in relation to the OFT’s investigation into price information exchanges by public schools (2006)
  • Replica Football Kit Appeals (first appeal to the CAT in a contested cartel case) [2004] CAT 17 (liability), [2005] CAT 22 (penalty)
  • Claymore Dairies v. OFT* [2003] CAT 3 (admissibility); [2003] CAT 12 (confidentiality); [2003] CAT 18 (stay of part of the proceedings); [2004] CAT 16 (disclosure); [2005] CAT 30 (abuse of dominant position); [2006] CAT 3 (conduct on withdrawal)
  • Lladro Comercial [2003] UKCLR 652 (Chapter I/resale price maintenance/fair procedure/no penalty imposed)
  • OFT* v. X [2003] 2 All ER (Comm) 182, [2003] UKCLR 785 (High Court: compatibility of OFTs powers to “dawn raid” with the Human Rights Act 1998)

Utilities/telecoms regulation

  • R (Dwr Cymru) v Ofwat* (High Court judicial review [2010 UKCLR 469: successful defence of Ofwat’s policy on inset appointments)
  • The Number v OFCOM* (CAT telecommunications appeal [2008] CAT 33; referred to ECJ by Court of Appeal)
  • Jersey Telecom*v. Jersey Competition and Regulatory Authority (first Jersey telecoms appeal: settled)
  • Arcor, C-55/06 (ECJ: telecommunications, 24 April 2008: for UK)
  • United Pan-Europe v. Belgian State (C-250/06) 13 December 2007 (ECJ: broadcasting: for UK)
  • Mobistar, C-438/04 13 July 2006 (ECJ telecommunications: for UK)

State aid

  • Harbinger Capital Partners* v Caldwell and HM Treasury (compensation claim by shareholders arising out of the nationalisation of Northern Rock)
  • Scott SA* v. Commission Case C-276/03P (ECJ: preliminary issue): Case T-369/00 (CFI) (annulment of State aid recovery decision; on appeal by Commission back to ECJ)
  • Frequent advice to private and public bodies (including Government departments, local authorities and financial investors) on application of State aid rules, including advice on major infrastructure projects and proposed tax measures

George is Joint Convenor of the UK State Aid Law Association (http://uksala.org/)

Mergers/market investigations

  • NewsCorp/BSkyB (advising Avaaz)
  • Kerry/Headland (successful clearance by CC of 2 to 1 merger in food industry))
  • Stericycle* v. Competition Commission [2006] CAT 21 and [2007] CAT 9 (judicial review in the CAT against interim and final remedies imposed by CC in merger case)
  • In the OFT/Competition Commission: Kerry/Headland; Transocean/GlobalSantaFe (oil rigs; undertakings in lieu of reference negotiated; amendments of undertakings obtained in light of subsequent developments); Osim/Yardem (kosher food, OFT); Delta 2/Qatar Investment Authority/Sainsbury (for potential acquirer); Supermarkets (advice to Cross-Cutting group on remedies); Game/Gamestation (video game retailing – for a third party: OFT and CC); Luxottica/Oakley (sunglasses); Acco/General Binding Corp (office equipment); Knauf/Superglass (insulation products; OFT and CC); OWL/Adastra (software); Extended Warranties
Consumer law

George has advised a number of clients, including the DTI and leading travel companies, on consumer law issues. The areas on which he has advised include the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, consumer credit issues and trading schemes. He has acted for licensees in appeals against licensing decisions by the OFT. George advised extensively on consumer law issues while at the OFT.

He has also advised on the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, and advised a leading travel company on action by the OFT.

European law

In addition to the particular areas of EC law set out above and below, George has acted in a number of major cases involving points of general EC law. He has acted in a number of agricultural law cases going up to the ECJ and Court of Appeal: see Fruition PO v. DEFRA (ECJ and High Court; rules governing producers’ organisations [link to 19 December 2013 news report]); R oao Speciality Produce v DEFRA (Court of Appeal) [link to 7 March 2014 report] and Milk Supplies Limited v. DEFRA [2010] EWCA Civ 19 (Abuse of rights: Court of Appeal).

In addition to the numerous ECJ and General Court cases mentioned under other heads, George also acted for the UK in Case C-402/07 AHP Manufacturing, judgment of 3 September 2009 (pharmaceuticals: supplementary protection certificates), and is currently advising and acting for the Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on a number of high-profile cases.

Freedom of Information

George frequently advises public and private clients on data protection and freedom of information issues, and regularly appears in the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) and Upper Tribunal.  He acted for the complainant in the early, and still leading, Information Tribunal case of Bellamy v. Information Commissioner (disclosability of legal advice relied on by the DTI): recent cases include Keene v. Information Commissioner and Central Office of Information (commercially sensitive information), Dunn v Information Commissioner and Department of Communities and Local Government (lawyer/client privilege and Law Officers’ advice), and Bell v Information Commissioner and MoD (Upper Tribunal: vexatious requests). Other cases raising disclosure/data protection issues in which he has recently acted include R oao Privacy International v HMRC [2014] EWHC 1475 (Admin) (HMRC powers of disclosure) and R oao Ali v Statistics Board [2012] EWHC 1943 (Admin) (powers to disclose census data).

He was one of the co-authors of the 2nd edition of the Blackstone’s Guide to the Freedom of Information Act.

Public law

Recent judicial review cases in which George has acted include R oao Privacy International v HMRC [2014] EWHC 1475 (Admin) (HMRC powers of disclosure, Art.10 ECHR and general principle of transparency), R oao Ali v Statistics Board [2012] EWHC 1943 (Admin) (powers to disclose census data, Art. 8 ECHR), Association of Convenience Stores and National Federation of Retail Newsagents v OFT, CAT, [2013] CompAR 1 (challenge to the OFT’s decision not to investigate magazine distribution), R oao Speciality Produce v DEFRA (Court of Appeal: costs in judicial review) and R(Fruition PO) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Other career highlights include: bringing the first judicial review of an interim measures decision by the Competition Commission, and the first challenge under the Enterprise Act to a Competition Commission finding of substantial lessening of competition in a merger case (Stericycle v CC) and acting for the OFT in the leading case on compatibility of the OFT’s “dawn raid” powers with the Human Rights Act (OFT v X).

George is a member of the Attorney General’s A panel.

Telecommunications law

George frequently advises Ofcom and private parties in relation to telecommunications issues. He is presently advising Ofcom on a number of issues arising from the implementation of the Universal Services Directive in the UK. He is also advising Jersey Telecom in the first Jersey telecomm’s appeal in relation to issues arising under Jersey competition and telecommunications law. George has acted for Ofcom and for the United Kingdom in a number of cases before the Competition Appeal Tribunal and ECJ, including:

In the Competition Appeal Tribunal

  • BT v Ofcom (powers of Ofcom in s.188 dispute resolution; ongoing)
  • The Number v Ofcom [2008] CAT 33; on appeal to Court of Appeal

In the European Court of Justice

  • Mobistar (for the UK) C-438/04 (interpretation of Universal Services Directive)
  • Arcor (for the UK) C-55/06
VAT

George has acted for HMRC in a number of leading VAT cases, including:

  • Rank v HMRC (Case C-259/10, [2012] STC 23) (principle of fiscal neutrality); [2014] STC 470 (successful appeal to Court of Appeal against first Tribunal decision) [2013] STC 420 (successful application to Upper Tribunal to set aside second Tribunal decision and remit the case to First-tier Tribunal)
  • Rapid Sequence v HMRC [2013] UKFTT 432 (TC) (whether exemption for supply of medical services applies to employment agencies supplying medical staff: extent to which possible to read words into VATA so as to comply with EU Directives)
  • Schoenimport (Case C-131/13) (right to deduct in MTIC cases) (ongoing)
  • X v Staatsecretaris van Financien (Case C-651/11, judgment of 30 May 2013) (successfully argued for UK that disposal of shareholding was not a disposal of a totality of assets)
  • SRI International v HMRC [2011] STC 1614 (ability to deduct input tax)
  • Arachchige v HMRC [2010] EWCA Civ 1255 (VAT treatment of phonecards)
  • RNLI v. HMRC (scope of zero-rating for supplies relating to sea-going vessels) [2009] UKFTT 39 (TC)
  • Ford v HMRC [2008] STC 83, CA (consideration and single/composite supply)
  • Vodafone and others v. C&E, C-369/04 (ECJ reference of 3G mobile phone companies claim for repayment of £3.5 bn VAT on payments made for 3G Licences), judgment 27 June 2007 (led by the Attorney General)
What the Directories Say

Competition Law: “Absolutely brilliant on paper and someone who has had great success in court recently.”Chambers UK, 2015

“George Peretz, has ‘an excellent depth of knowledge‘.” is ranked as a leading Junior in EU and Competition Law. Legal 500, 2014

Under Competition Law:Has a wide competition practice that encompasses all the major areas. Earns particular praise for his work on cartels and investigations at both the domestic and European level. “He is very creative and impresses with his knowledge of cartel cases.”Chambers UK, 2014

“George Peretz, who has ‘an excellent depth of knowledge‘.” is recommended as a leading Junior in EU and Competition Law. Legal 500, 2013

“George Peretz is seen as a great choice for those looking for “practical and easy-to-work-with” juniors who can offer extensive expertise in competition and EU law. He recently acted for Kerry Foods before both the Competition Commission and the OFT in an investigation into the proposed Headlands Goods and Kerry Foods merger.” Chambers UK, 2013

George Peretz is a recommended leading junior in EU and Competition Law. Legal 500, 2012

Competition/European Law – “George Peretz is a junior who acts unled much of the time, prompting many to speculate that he cannot be far off silk. He has been appearing in the construction industry price-fixing litigation as well as Oxley Threads v European Communities, an important case on cartel fines.” – Chambers UK, 2012

EU & Competition Law recommends George Peretz as a leading junior. Legal 500, 2011

Recommended in Competition/European Law in Chambers UK,2011, “the “proficient and experienced” George Peretz recently led legal teams for both Renew Holdings and Robert Woodhead Holdings, in appealing the OFT’s construction industry cartel decision.”

Under EU and competition the Legal 500, 2010 states that “all rounder George Peretz is very responsive and quickly gets to the heart of the issue.”

“George Peretz worked at the OFT for six years and is very highly regarded for merger cases. One interviewee praised him for “his versatility and ability to break down complex arguments.” ” – Chambers UK, 2010

Publications

George is one of the joint authors of the latest edition of Blackstone’s Guide to the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

George was a member of the team that prepared the current edition of Bellamy and Child on the European Community Law of Competition (chapter on enforcement and procedure), and also wrote the chapter on procedure before the OFT in Ward & Smith “Competition Litigation in the UK”. He is contributing to a number of other works dealing with the Competition Act. He is a consulting editor of the UK Competition Law Reports. He has written articles on competition law for the Competition Law Journal, European Competition Law Review, PLC and The Lawyer.

George has given talks on a wide variety of competition law issues to training conferences (such as IBC, Hawksmere and PLC), Government lawyers, the Solicitors’ European Group, and individual companies and firms of solicitors. He has also given talks on VAT and freedom of information issues to various audiences.

Additional Information

Languages

Good working knowledge of French and Spanish: he can accept instructions in, and read documents in, both languages, and has given talks on competition law in French. Basic knowledge of German.

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