Alison is a competition and public law specialist, recommended by Chambers, Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal. According to Chambers (2021) she is a “very clever competition lawyer”, while Legal 500 (2021) describes her as “a standout barrister”.
She is a highly experienced practitioner, having qualified as a solicitor in 1999 and been called to the bar in 2011. She represents clients across all areas of competition law, including in appeals and private disputes, follow-on damages claims, mergers, antitrust, procedural infringements, director disqualifications and sectoral regulation. She regularly advises regulators and government, including the CMA, FCA and BEIS, so has insight into both sides of the enforcement landscape.
Alison also practises in consumer law, information law (writing regularly in the Freedom of Information Journal) and human rights law. She has a busy advocacy practice across a variety of courts and tribunals.
She is co-author (with Alistair Lindsay) of The EU Merger Regulation: Substantive Issues (Sweet & Maxwell, 5th edition, 2017), a leading textbook on merger control issues, described in a recent review as “an indispensable authority”.
Highlights of merger work
- Representing Dasnpin on the CMA’s Phase I investigation into Danspin’s acquisition of Lawton Yarns.
- Advising The Stars Group on its acquisition of Sky Betting and Gaming, cleared at Phase I by the CMA.
- Advising TalkTalk on its intervention in the CMA’s Phase II investigation of BT’s acquisition of EE.
- Advising Arriva on its successful bid for the Northern Franchise, cleared at Phase II subject to remedies.
- Advising a third party in relation to the CMA’s Bako NW/ Bako Northern and Scotland merger inquiry.
- Advising a third party in relation to Muller’s anticipated acquisition of Dairy Crest.
- Advising BEIS on public interest aspects of Pfizer’s proposed acquisition of AstraZeneca (with Tom de la Mare QC).
- Advising the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority on the acquisition by La College Terminal of certain assets of Esso Petroleum Company.
- Advising Coopervision on the CMA’s investigation into its acquisition of Sauflon (with Daniel Beard QC).
- Advising Optimax on the CMA’s investigation of its acquisition of Ultralase, a competing provider of laser eye surgery, cleared at Phase II on “exiting firm” grounds.
- Advising the CMA on confidential merger issues in the healthcare field.
- Advising Virgin Money on EU merger control and State aid aspects of its acquisition of Northern Rock.
- Advising Handicare on its acquisition of Minivator, both active in the stairlift industry, securing clearance from the CMA.
- Advising DS Smith on its acquisition of cardboard packaging company Otor, cleared by the CMA.
- Advising Sun Microsystems on its merger with Oracle, a second phase investigation by the European Commission, and raising a number of novel issues regarding open source software. The acquisition was cleared unconditionally following informal commitments by Oracle.
- Advising Nationwide Building Society on its acquisitions of Cheshire, Derbyshire and Dunfermline Building Societies, including dealing with Banking Act issues, State aid, “failing firm” and local and regional market analysis. All three were cleared by the CMA (Dunfermline within a record 14 working days).
- Advising Somerfield on its merger with The Co-operative Group, involving an extensive review procedure by the CMA focussing on local markets.
- Advising Cable & Wireless on its acquisition of Thus, dealing with a number of telecoms markets, cleared by the CMA.
- Advising DTCC on its proposed merger with LCH.Clearnet in the clearing and settlement sector.
- Advising Macquarie on its sale of South East Water and various other projects in the water sector including the purchase of Wessex Water and the previous sale of South East Water.
- Advising the London Stock Exchange in the CMA’s second phase inquiries into potential acquisitions by Deutsche Börse and Euronext.
Highlights of competition litigation work
- Representing ComparetheMarket in its ongoing challenge to the CMA’s infringement decision regarding wide most favoured nation clauses (with Daniel Beard QC).
- Representing Mr Le Patourel in his £600m opt-out class action in relation to overcharging of voice only customers by BT (with Ronit Kreisberger QC).
- Representing a director in disqualification proceedings arising out of the CMA’s nortriptyline investigation, successfully securing leave to act.
- Representing JD Sports in its successful challenge to the CMA’s decision to impose a record penalty for breach of an Initial Enforcement Order.
- Representing Sabre in its challenge to the CMA’s decision prohibiting its proposed acquisition of Farelogix (with Tim Ward QC).
- Advising Northern Powergrid on its challenge to Ofgem’s RIIO – ED1 price control determination (with Daniel Beard QC and Alistair Lindsay).
- Representing Everything Everywhere Limited, Hutchison 3G UK Limited, TalkTalk Telecom Group plc, Verizon UK Limited and Vodafone Limited on their application to intervene in Colt Technology Services v Ofcom.
- Advising Spire on its challenge to the CMA’s approach to disclosure in its private healthcare market investigation (BMI Healthcare v Competition Commission) (with Daniel Beard QC).
- Advising the CC on its merger investigation into Ryanair’s minority stake in Aer Lingus and related challenges in the CAT and Court of Appeal (with Daniel Beard QC).
- Advising Sky and TalkTalk on their and BT’s challenges to Ofcom’s LLU/WLR 2012 price determination (with Meredith Pickford QC).
- Advising the Government of Iceland on EFTA Surveillance Authority v Iceland (the “Icesave case”) (with Tim Ward QC).
Competition Act and other regulatory investigations
- Advising a price comparison website on the CMA’s Chapter I/Article 101 investigation into the use of most favoured nation clauses in relation to home insurance products.
- Advising a party on the CMA’s market investigation into private motor insurance.
- Advising the FCA on its Competition Act investigation into potential information sharing between asset management firms.
- Advising uSwitch on Ofgem’s Chapter I CA98 / Article 101 EC investigation into “a supporting service for the energy industry”.
- Advising House of Fraser on the CMA’s investigation into the retail pricing of sports bras under Chapter I CA98 / Article 101 EC.
- Advising the CMA on its Chapter II investigation into the distribution of road fuels in the Western Isles of Scotland (with Kassie Smith QC).
- Advising the CMA on its Chapter II / Article 102 EC investigation in relation to the provision of bunker fuel card services (with Daniel Beard QC).
- Advising Monitor on competition enforcement under its new licensing regime (with Daniel Beard QC).
- Advising a major motor insurer on issues under Chapter I Competition Act.
- Advising Barclays on the CMA’s investigation into payment protection insurance.
- Advising Comet on the CMA’s monopoly inquiry into extended warranties on domestic electrical goods.
- Advising PSI on its complaint to the European Commission regarding abuse of dominance by IBM in mainframe servers and subsequent settlement.
- Advising Capital Meters Limited on Ofgem’s investigation into National Grid’s meter service agreements.
- Advising a client affected by a margin squeeze on potential courses of action including complaint to the CMA and or private action in damages.
- Advising Sony Pictures, Disney and On Demand Group on potential coordination issues arising out of a joint venture to provide on demand television services in the UK.
- Advising x-clear on its application for status as a Recognised Overseas Clearing House under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, and other exchange clients on issues arising under the FSMA jurisdiction.
- 15 Feb 2021Daniel Beard QC and Alison Berridge secure victory for JD Sports and Pentland in landmark merger penalty case
- 19 Jan 2021Ronit Kreisberger QC, Alison Berridge and Jack Williams act in £600m opt-out class action against BT
- 25 Feb 2019FCA issues its first decision under competition law
- 29 Jan 2019Court of Appeal rules on temporal scope of EU competition law
- Representation of a main party in a still confidential investigation in the transport sector.
- Advising a major provider on the CMA’s consumer law investigation into hotel online booking sites.
- Advising a party in the CMA’s consumer protection investigation into online endorsements, settled by undertakings.
What the directories say
Competition Law: “She is a very clever competition lawyer who knows the job of a solicitor inside out, which enhances her practice.” “She is a very flexible, helpful and sensible person to work with.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2021
Leading junior in Competition: ‘‘Alison is a standout barrister particularly on complex merger control matters. She is great both with her written advice and as an advocate before the CMA and Competition Appeal Tribunal. A go-to barrister.’’ – Legal 500, 2021
Competition Law: “Alison spent quite a few years in private practice, so has a real understanding of the timelines and availability that solicitors are required to give their clients.” “She gives practical and commercial advice,” and “has great tactical understanding in terms of knowing what the client wants to achieve and seeing how that can be delivered.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2020
Leading junior in Competition: ‘‘A class act – very shrewd.’’ – Legal 500, 2020
Competition Law: “Takes real time to understand the client’s objectives, and is clear in her delivery.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2019
Competition – “Top-notch.” – WHO’S WHO LEGAL (WWL), 2018
Leading junior in Competition: ‘‘Her thinking and analysis is clear and thorough and she has an easy manner with others.’’ – Legal 500, 2018
Competition Law: “She is a leading authority on merger control proceedings and is calm, authoritative, experienced and highly respected.” – Chambers UK, 2018
Leading junior in Competition: ‘‘Knowledgeable and experienced.’’ – Legal 500, 2017
Competition – Future Leaders 2017: Barristers Analysis: “Alison Berridge is commended for her “extensive merger experience”, with one interviewee stating, “She is really, really good; an absolutely excellent practitioner.”” – WHO’S WHO LEGAL (WWL), 2017
Competition Law: “She is very bright and very calm, and has particular expertise in merger control.” – Chambers UK, 2017
Leading Junior in EU and Competition: “Her knowledge of merger control regulation is tremendous.’’ – Legal 500, 2016
Competition: “A rapidly rising junior”, who has over a decade’s worth of experience as a solicitor before her call in 2011. She is regularly instructed in merger approvals and antitrust investigations by clients who find her “practical, discerning and responsive”. – WHO’S WHO LEGAL (WWL) UK BAR 2016
Competition Law: “Very able and went to great efforts to assist our client.” – Chambers UK & Chambers Global, 2016
“Very bright indeed – focused and shrewd.” Leading Junior in EU and Competition Law. Legal 500, 2015
Competition Law: “She is very bright, gets across all the material in a case and really mucks in with the client team, which makes a huge difference.” – Chambers UK, 2015
‘Analytical and commercial in her approach.’ Alison is ranked as a leading Junior under EU & Competition Law – Legal 500, 2014
“The ‘commercially aware‘ Alison Berridge is praised for her merger control expertise.” She is recommended under EU & Competition Law – Legal 500, 2013
- Freedom of Information Journal – Recent decisions of the Commissioner and Tribunal – November 2017 to January 2018, January 2018 to March 2018, June 2018 to September 2018
- Brexit, merger control and potential reforms, Monckton Brexit blog
- Brexit, merger control and the “one stop shop”, Monckton Brexit blog
- Co-author (with Alistair Lindsay) of The EU Merger Regulation: Substantive Issues (Sweet & Maxwell, 5th edition, 2017).
- Appearances as legal expert on The Money Channel.
- Articles in various publications including the Trade Mark Handbook (on franchising issues), Retail Week (on extended warranties) and The Times (on the implications of the Distance Selling Regulations for consumers).