Ben is an experienced litigator of heavy and complex disputes in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in England and also in the EU Court of Justice and arbitrations. He is also experienced in guiding clients through competition and other regulatory investigations. He also has an extensive advisory practice. He has a broad client base, acting for both private clients and public authorities. Particular areas of expertise include competition, consumer, procurement, state aid and international trade. Ben has been ranked as a leading practitioner in Chambers and Partners, Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal. According to clients Ben “brings clarity to very complex issues”. He is “noted for his strong advocacy skills”, “intricate knowledge of competition law institutions” and the fact that he is “user friendly” and “will work extremely hard to get the right result”. Work has included the following sectors: pharmaceuticals, water, energy, postal services, communications, satellite licensing, gaming and lotteries, organisation of sporting events, rules of professional associations, retailing (including e-commerce issues and after sales services), reciprocal licensing by collecting societies, construction, and banking and other financial services.
Ben is a former Legal Secretary at the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal. Ben has acted on numerous occasions as a consultant on competition law to the UN Conference on Trade and Development and worked on competition law in a number of different jurisdictions. Ben was called to the Bar of Ireland in 2018.
Recent / major cases
The mainstay of Ben’s practice comprises complex public and private law commercial and regulatory disputes before the English and European Courts, regularly involving novel points in developing areas of the law. His cases also often have an international element raising complex issues of jurisdiction and applicable law and are often brought on behalf of classes or large groups of claimants. Examples in the public domain include:
- Royal Mail and others v DAF Trucks and others – scope of binding findings and abuse of process in damages claims based on an EU Commission Decision
- Tempus Energy v Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise, Innovation and Skills – judicial review challenge to state aid measures adopted in relation to the UK’s electricity capacity market.
- Red & White Services Ltd v Anslow Ltd and the Prudential Assurance Company – alleged abuse of dominance claim in relation to access to transport facilities – cost budgeting in competition law claims.
- WH Smith v Mastercard and Visa – damages claim for losses caused by interchange fees for payment card services (Commercial Court).
- Arriva v Luton Airport Operations – abuse of dominance claim for injunction and damages in relation to access to infrastructure facilities (Chancery Division).
- Pinewood Pharmaceuticals v Reckitt Benckeiser – abuse of dominance damages claim re Gaviscon (Chancery Division).
- Siemens and Capital Meters v National Grid plc – abuse of dominance, claim for damages arising in the gas metering services market (CAT).
- Pfizer v AAH Pharmaceuticals – interim injunction application re pharma distribution arrangements.
- Exel Europe Ltd v University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust TCC – interim injunction application to remove stay on procurement award decision.
- British Aggregates Association v European Commission – appeal against state aid decision on UK Aggregates Levy.
- Lupin v European Commission – appeal against the Commission’s ‘pay for delay’ decision re Perindopril (EU Court of Justice).
- Alpharma v European Commission – appeal against the Commission’s ‘pay for delay’ decision re Citalopram (EU Court of Justice).
- LS Cable v European Commission – appeal against the Commission’s power cables cartel decision (General Court).
- HMRC v. Isle of Wight Council & others Case C-288/07 – preliminary reference re correct meaning of Article 4(5) 6th Directive, “significant distortions of competition” (Court of Justice Grand Chamber).
Cartel Damages Claims
- Ro-Ro Ferries – advising on claims arising out of the EU Commission’s Maritime Car Carriers decision.
- Thermal Systems – advising on claims in relation to automotive air conditioning and engine cooling components
- Trucks – defending claims based on the EU Commission’s Cartel Decision, including two applications for collective proceedings orders.
- Emerald Supplies and others v British Airways plc – bringing a cartel claim by over 500 shippers for breach of EU statutory duty and common law economic torts (Chancery Division/Court of Appeal).
- WH Newson v IMI & Boliden – defending cartel damages claim based on EU and common law economic torts.
- Nokia v. Hitachi & ors (LCD and CRT cartel claims, multi-Defendant, multi-jurisdictional High Court damages action).
- Bord na Mona and ors v BPI plc –industrial bags cartel claims.
- Moy Park Limited & Vion v Evonik Degussa GmbH – methionine multi-jurisdictional CAT damages claim) and related food phosphates cartel claim.
- EDF Energy v ABB and ors – Gas Insulated Switchgear cartel claim.
- Waha Oil Company v Dunlop Oil & Marine – marine hose cartel damages claim.
- Sintesi e Ricerca & ors v Shell & ors – candle wax cartel damages claim.
- Emerson Electric Co & Others v Morgan Crucible – electrical carbon cartel claims.
UK competition/regulatory public law disputes
- Groupe Eurotunnel v CMA – judicial review of CMA’s decision to prohibit acquisition of certain assets of the former SeaFrance (Supreme Court).
- BAA v. Competition Commission – judicial review challenge to decision to order BAA to divest Gatwick, Stansted and Glasgow/Edinburgh airports – (CAT/Court of Appeal).
- Stericycle International LLC v Competition Commission – Challenge to powers to impose a hold separate manager to manage an acquired business pending the outcome of inquiry into a completed merger (CAT).
- National Grid plc v Ofgem – appeal against abuse of dominance decision and penalty (CAT).
- Association of Convenience Stores v OFT successful judicial review before the CAT of a decision by the OFT not to refer the major supermarkets to the Competition Commission under the Enterprise Act.
- R(Thames Water Utilities Limited) v Ofwat – power of Ofwat to make inset appointments in relation to ‘brownfield’ sites such as King,s Cross – Administrative Court.
- R(ICO Satellite Ltd) v Ofcom – Challenge to decision to request the International Telecommunications Union to cancel satellite operator’s right to use certain frequencies (Court of Appeal).
- R (Cityhook Ltd) v OFT – legality of OFT case prioritisation policy (Administrative Court).
- Jersey Telecom Ltd v Jersey Competition and Regulatory Authority – introduction of mobile number portability to Jersey.
- H3G, BT and O2 v. Ofcom – mobile call termination (CAT).
Competition / commercial and EU
Ben has extensive experience in the following areas:
He has extensive experience of defending and prosecuting cartel infringements before the competition authorities and courts as well as follow on and standalone claims for damages.
Restrictive agreements and abuse of dominance
Ben had advised on a wide variety of horizontal and vertical agreements in a wide variety of sectors including cases involving technology and e-commerce. He has advised and litigated cases involving the interrelationship between intellectual property rights and competition laws (e.g. licensing standard essential patents and patent settlement agreements). He has also been involved in defending and prosecuting a significant number of abuse of dominance cases before the competition authorities and in the courts, including applications for interim injunctions. He has been involved in a number of cases involving access to ‘essential’ facilities.
Ben regularly advises in this area. Recent work has included advising on issues in the nuclear industry (Hinkley Point) as well as the application of the rules in relation to particular fiscal regimes (e.g. Aggregates Levy).
Mergers and Market investigations
Ben has extensive experience of EU and UK merger and market investigations, both at the administrative stage and on appeal. He has been involved in some of the most high profile cases in recent years: e.g. Eurotunnel v CMA (Supreme Court) and BAA v Competition Commission (Court of Appeal).
EU and UK business regulation
Ben has significant experience in advising on commercial/consumer regulation in areas such as unfair contracts, distance selling, advertising regulation. He has advised a number of significant retailers in this area. He was recently involved in advising companies involved in the CMA’s investigation in to children’s online apps and games.
Ben is an experienced procurement lawyer. He advises on cases under the public and utilities regulations and wider EU obligations that affect procurements. His work has included advising parties to major procurements such as the tender for search and rescue helicopters or issues around the procurement of rail franchises and associated services. His experience also includes cases in the fields of construction, transport, education and social services. He has appeared in reported cases in the field, for example on behalf of the Contracting Authority that was successful in obtaining the lifting of the automatic suspension in Exel Europe Ltd v University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.
He also has significant experience of cases that do not fall within the Regulations. His experience encompasses competitions for commercial licences, for example in relation to offshore electricity transmission services and major casino licences, where he has been instructed in related judicial review proceedings.
As an experienced competition lawyer and litigator he also has significant experience of the state aid and competition law issues that may arise in connection with procurement situations: see for example Arriva v Luton Airport where he acted on behalf of the successful claimant.
Ben is a member of the editorial board of one of leading publications in this area, the Public Procurement Law Review.
Tax, VAT & customs
Ben is part of our VAT team and was recently involved in the Isle of Wight v HMRC test case which is at the intersection of VAT and competition law. The question at issue was the correct legal approach to assessing when local authority activities will lead to significant distortions of competition with private sector operators if not subject to tax. He has also been involved in cases on the correct tax treatment of mobile phone top-up vouchers as well as confiscation proceedings, in addition to advising on issues arising under the EU customs code. He is also experienced in the application of the EU State Aid rules to fiscal measures, for example in relation to the Aggregates Levy introduced by the Finance Act 2001 (See British Aggregates Association v EU Commission).
Ben also has experience of dealing with anti-dumping duties.
Energy & utilities regulation
Ben has significant advisory and litigation experience in the regulated industries:
Communications – his experience covers issues such as mobile call termination, interconnection and spectrum disputes, and mobile number portability in the UK and in other jurisdictions. He has also advised on satellite licensing issues and the interrelationship between domestic and international law in this area such as the rules of the International Telecoms Union (see e.g. R(ICO Satellite Ltd) v Ofcom).
Water – his experience covers inset appointments (see e.g. R(Thames Water Utilities Limited) v Ofwat) , common carriage, licensing and pricing issues.
Gas and electricity – he has advised on code modification appeals, off-shore transmission issues and metering services (see e.g. National Grid plc v Ofgem). He has also advised on state aid issues in the context of nuclear energy.
Postal services – his experience covers issues arising under the rules established by the Universal Postal Union, issues regarding the universal service obligation and issues relating to the civil liability of postal operators.
Civil liberties & human rights
Recent Human Rights work includes giving advice in relation to proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights regarding the compatibility with the right to property (Art 1, Protocol 1 ECHR) of certain Spanish planning laws (the Valencian Ley Reguladora de la Actividad Urbanistica). Work also includes cases under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Ben’s experience in sports cases includes the competition law aspects of the organisation of sporting events and arbitral disputes under the rules of sporting organisations, including between national and international sporting bodies, and disputes over issues relating to promotion and relegation.
What the directories say
“Highly commended for his expertise in cartels and abuse of dominance matters, as well as his excellent knowledge of EU institutions.” – Competition, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2020
Competition Law: “Fully gets to grips with the detail of a case” and is “good at identifying the killer point.” “Thoughtful and academic, he’s interested both in the law and in the client’s business underlying the work.” “He is a really calming influence when you’re faced with large-scale, complex litigation.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2020
Leading junior in Competition: ‘‘Instructed across the range of competition matters.’’ – Legal 500, 2020
“Draws acclaim from peers as “a brilliant and dependable practitioner in the field”. He has over 20 years of experience in cartels, state aid, abuse of dominance and merger investigation matters” – Competition, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2019
“Draws high praise from market sources who consider him “intellectually very astute, knowledgeable, approachable and pragmatic” – Government Contract, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2019
Competition Law: “Fantastically experienced and someone with a deep knowledge of the sector.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2019
Leading junior in Competition: ‘‘Easy to work with, very commercial.’’ – Legal 500, 2018
Competition Law: “He has a great eye for detail and can draft in a way that explains technical issues to non-lawyers.” – Chambers UK, 2018
Leading junior in Competition: ‘‘He second-guesses the court and is a real team player.’’ – Legal 500, 2017
Competition Law: “Ben is a creative thinker and a very good strategist when it comes to planning litigation. He is exceptionally good at giving cases a more favourable angle that others have not seen.” – Chambers UK, 2017
Leading junior in EU and Competition: “He firmly stands his ground when challenged.” – Legal 500, 2016
Competition Law: “Has a huge intellect, and is both incredibly hard-working and very organised.” “He has a very thoughtful style and is able to deal with a variety of complex legal issues quickly.” – Chambers UK & Chambers Global, 2016
”Very knowledgeable and on top of the detail.” Leading Junior in EU and Competition Law. Legal 500, 2015
Competition Law: “He clearly knows this area of law extremely well.” “He is proactive, gets stuck into a matter, and is a real team player.” – Chambers UK, 2015
Under Competition Law: A popular choice either unled or as junior counsel particularly in damages claims. He has been involved in an impressive number of the most complex and high-value cases in that area. “Very user-friendly, accessible and helpful.” “He is very much part of the team and well liked by clients.” Chambers UK, 2014
‘The former Legal Secretary to the UK Competition Commission and Competition Appeal Tribunal.’ Ben is listed as a leading Junior in EU & Competition Law. Legal 500, 2014
“The ‘cerebral‘ and ‘incisive‘ Ben Rayment ‘knows competition law inside out‘.” He is listed as a leading Junior in EU & Competition Law. Legal 500, 2013
Ben Rayment was flagged up by interviewees several times as “one to watch” and is noted for his “intricate knowledge of competition law institutions.” Those instructing him confirm that he “will work extremely hard to get the right result.” Chambers UK, 2013
Ben Rayment is a recommended leading junior in EU and Competition Law. Legal 500, 2012
“Ben Rayment is seen as having a fine future ahead of him. “Exceptional and something of a rising star,” he has a background as the legal secretary to the UK Competition Commission and the Competition Appeal Tribunal, and is noted for his strong advocacy skills. He acted as junior in BAA Plc v Competition Commission, a judicial review challenge to the Commission’s decision to order BAA to divest itself of a number of its airports.” – Chambers UK, 2012
Ben Rayment “whom clients ‘only have good things to say about’ and who acted in Emerald Supplies Ltd and Anor v British Airways;” is recommended in EU & Competition Law. Legal 500, 2011
Recommended in Competition/European Law in Chambers UK, 2011 is “the “bright and user-friendly” Ben Rayment, who brings substantial experience to the table as a former legal secretary to the UK Competition Commission and the CAT. He acted for European wax blender Ser with regard to litigation surrounding an alleged paraffin wax price-fixing cartel.”
At the end of 2000 he was appointed as legal secretary (referendaire) to the President of the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”), Sir Christopher Bellamy (formerly Judge of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities).
As legal secretary to the CAT he was involved in all the first “landmark appeals against the decisions of the OFT and sectoral regulators under the Competition Act 1998, reviews of merger control decisions under the Enterprise Act 2002 and the first “follow on” claims for damages brought in the Tribunal under the 1998 Act. He was also closely involved in the first appeals brought against decisions of the Office of Communications under the Communications Act 2003, which implements the EC Commission’s new Electronic Communications Package.
At the CAT he also assisted in drafting the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Practice Directions and also liaised with central government departments in relation to legislation relevant to the operation of the CAT, including the operation of the European Commission’s “Modernisation” proposals embodied in EC Regulation 1/2003.
Administrative and Constitutional law Bar Association; Bar European Group; British Institute of International and Comparative law; Competition Law Association and Criminal Law Bar Association.
Fluent French; basic German; basic Italian.
Ben writes and speaks regularly on competition, public law and public procurement issues..
- Co-editor of the Competition Law Journal (Jordans)
- Competition Litigation in the UK (Sweet & Maxwell)
- Local Authorities and Human Rights ed. Drabble et al. (OUP)
- Bellamy & Child (OUP): Sectoral Regimes (Transport; Communications; Energy; Insurance; Public Services)
- A member of the Editorial Board of the Public Procurement Law Review
He regularly speaks on judicial review, competition law and human rights to various legal audiences. Examples are the United Nations’ training course on competition for developing countries, the Nottingham Trent University’s Competition Law Advocacy Course, the Law Society European Group, the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and professional education providers IBC, CLT etc.