Kassie Smith QC is one of the Bar’s leading specialists in competition, EU and regulatory litigation. She is described as “a “terrific advocate” who is “legally excellent” and “a real team player” …”.
Kassie regularly appears in the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, in the UK, as well as in the Competition Appeal Tribunal. She has also developed an international practice, working in jurisdictions from the Channel Islands to the BVI to Hong Kong, as well as in various high-value, international arbitrations. She has appeared in over 30 cases before the European Court of Justice. Before taking silk in 2013, she was a member of the Attorney General’s A Panel.
- NewsFebruary 25, 2019
Kassie Smith QC is recognised as a leading specialist in competition litigation. She acts for private clients and regulators in damages actions, JR challenges and infringement appeals. She is also regularly instructed in international arbitrations involving competition and regulatory issues. She is described as “An “extremely good barrister” and “a real team player”, … She stands out for her extensive experience handling competition-related matters”.
Damages actions in the UK in which Kassie is or has been involved, for both claimants and defendants, include:
- Power cables (NGET v Safran and others)
- Interchange fees (Hermes and others v Visa and Mastercard; Dune and others v Visa and Mastercard)
- ATM charges (Euronet v Visa and Mastercard)
- Air cargo (Emerald Supplies v British Airways plc)
- LCD screens (Beko v Samsung and others; TomTom v Samsung and others)
- Carbon graphite (Deutsche Bahn v Mrogan Crucible)
- LIBOR (Guardian Care Homes v Barclays)
- Synthetic rubber (Dow v ENI SpA)
- Copper tubes (KME v Toshiba and others)
Kassie has extensive experience in multi-litigant proceedings, involving all aspects of pre-trial preparation and interlocutory applications (including jurisdiction and applicable law issues) through to the start of full trial.
Kassie has acted in many appeals to the Competition Appeal Tribunal over the years, including, recently, the first trial under the new fast track procedure in the Competition Appeal Tribunal. CAT appeals include:
- Socrates Training Ltd v Law Society of England and Wales  CAT 10: first case under the fast track procedure in the CAT raising issues of abusive tying practices.
- Tesco v OFT  CAT 31: four-week CAT trial re price fixing on cheese
- Galliford Try v OFT  CAT 7: appeal against the OFT’s penalty decision on construction cover pricing
- National Grid plc v Ofgem  EWCA Civ 114: breach of the Chapter II prohibition in the gas metering market
- Argos and Littlewoods v OFT  EWCA Civ 1318: ‘hub and spoke’ price fixing cartel on toys
- James E McCabe Ltd v Scottish Courage Ltd  EWHC 538 (Comm): restrictive covenants and competition law
- Pernod Ricard and Campbell Distillers v OFT  CAT 9,  CAT 10: procedural issues including what constitutes an appealable decision and complainants’ rights
- JJ Burgess v OFT  CAT 25: refusal to supply under the Chapter II prohibition
- IIB & ABTA v Director General of Fair Trading (2001) Comp AR 62: the first case to be heard by the CAT under the Competition Act 1998.
- Director General of Fair Trading v PAGB and PATA  1 WLR 700 (“Medicaments”): resulted in the abolition of resale price maintenance on over-the-counter medicines.
Mergers and market investigations
Kassie has advised and acted in many merger and market investigation cases (for both private parties and regulators) including:
- Tobii v Competition and Markets Authority  CAT 1: appeal in digital merger of two AAC solutions companies.
- Fox/ Sky merger: advising DCMS on competition and media plurality issues
- Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations v Competition and Markets Authority  EWCA Civ 777,  CAT 8: appeal on various issues arising from the CMA’s private healthcare investigation.
- AXA PPP v Competition and Markets Authority  EWCA Civ 492,  CAT 23: appeals against the CMA’s private healthcare divestment decisions
- Skyscanner v Competition and Markets Authority  CAT 16: successful challenge to CMA’s decision to accept commitments in its investigation into price fixing in hotel online bookings
- Advising on issues arising from the CC’s investigation into the audit market
- HCA International Limited v Competition and Markets Authority  CAT 11;  CAT 10: issues of expert evidence and disclosure arising in appeals against the CMA’s private healthcare divestment decisions
- BMI Healthcare v Competition Commission  CAT 24: disclosure issues in the CC’s ongoing investigation into private healthcare
- Acting for OFT in payday lending market investigation
- Stagecoach v Competition Commission  CAT 14: bus company merger
- Barclays Bank plc v Competition Commission  CAT 27: market investigation into payment protection insurance (PPI)
- Tesco plc v Competition Commission  CAT 6: challenge to the Commission’s imposition of the “competition test” on Tesco following its investigation into the groceries’ market
Arbitration and other international
Kassie has recently acted in a number of lengthy and high value arbitration hearings in Stockholm representing subsidiaries of a Russian State owned gas company in cases relating to the transit of natural gas to Europe and raising issues of EU competition and energy law, and representing a mobile phone company in proceedings raising issues of FRAND and breach of Article 102 TFEU. She has also acted herself as an expert on EU competition law in arbitration proceedings.
She appeared for Cable and Wireless in various proceedings before the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal challenging decisions of the telecoms regulator in BVI.
She has advised clients in Guernsey and Jersey on competition and regulatory issues under Guernsey and Jersey law. In 2018, she was appointed by the States of Jersey to carry out an independent review of the Jersey Competition and Regulatory Authority (JCRA) following the Royal Court judgment in ATF Overseas Holdings Ltd v JCRA.
She is on the panel of counsel for the Hong Kong Competition Commission, and has recently been advising the Commission on the first case brought under its leniency regime. She is also advising private parties in Hong Kong on Commission investigations and issues arising under the HK Competition Ordinance.
- 23 Jan 2020Kassie Smith QC advising Hong Kong Competition Commission on first case brought under its leniency regime
- 25 Feb 2019FCA issues its first decision under competition law
- 29 Jan 2019Court of Appeal rules on temporal scope of EU competition law
- 06 Jun 2018Secretary of State announces decision and publishes CMA final report on Fox’s proposed acquisition of Sky
- 04 Jun 2018Kassie Smith QC appointed to carry out independent review of the Jersey Competition and Regulatory Authority
- 25 Jan 2018CMA provisionally finds Fox/Sky deal not in the public interest
Kassie has acted in a number of cases before the Patent Court and the CAT on telecoms issues, and is currently acting in arbitration proceedings, raising issues about the impact of competition law on standard essential patents for mobile phone technology. Other telecoms cases include:
- Advising on Ofgem’s Business Connectivity Market Review.
- Unwired Planet International Ltd v Huawei Technologies Co Ltd  EWHC 3422 (Pat): standard essential patents and mobile phone technology. Case raising issues about the interaction of IP and competition law.
- TCT v Ericsson: mobile telephony standard essential patents and FRAND
- Acting for LIME BVI in several judicial review challenges to British Virgin Islands telecoms regulator
- IPCom v Nokia and HTC  EWHC 407,  EWHC 1178: mobile telephony standard essential patents and FRAND
- BT & EE v Ofcom  CAT 24: dispute over BT’s mobile phone termination charges
- Samsung v Apple: competition law and standard essential telecoms patents
- Ericsson v Samsung: competition law and standard essential mobile technology patents
- C-190/06 Belgacom Mobile v Institut Belge des Services Postaux et des Telecommunications: Community rules on allocation of the radio spectrum to mobile network operators
- Hutchison (3G) Ltd v Ofcom  CAT 39: Ofcom’s designation of “3” as having significant market power (SMP) in the market for mobile voice call termination on its network
- BT v Ofcom  CAT 8: the first appeal to the CAT under the Communications Act 2003 re the Interconnection Directive and Radio Base Station (RBS) backhaul circuits
- C-438/04 Mobistar SA v Institut Belge des Services Postaux et des Telecommunications: concerning the Community rules on number portability
Kassie has also acted for Pacific Century Cyberworks (PCCW) in two disputes in Hong Kong. The first was a substantial claim in the Commercial Court regarding hijacking of incoming international calls. The second was an appeal to the Competition Appeal Board regarding predatory pricing in the business direct exchange lines (BDEL) services market.
Kassie has extensive experience of regulation of the electricity and gas industries. She has acted for and advised both regulated companies and regulators on issues arising from transmission charging; renewables obligations; the Third Energy Package; electricity trading arrangements in Great Britain; on electricity distribution losses, and on the RIIO and RIIO2 price controls. She is currently advising Ofgem on its regulation of embedded generation, its Transmission Charging Review and RIIO2. Cases include:
- R. (on the application of Peak Gen Top Co Ltd) v Gas and Electricity Markets Authority  EWHC 1583 (Admin): successfully defending Ofgem in a JR challenge to its embedded benefits decision.
- Western Power Distribution v GEMA : successfully defending Ofgem in a judicial review challenge to its distribution losses mechanism/ price control.
- R (Albion Water) v Ofwat  EWHC 2259: judicial review of bulk supply price
- R (Thames Water) v Ofwat  EWCA Civ 218: regulatory JR re water inset appointments
She has also advised the Office of the Rail Regulator on the interaction between EC and international law on infrastructure and track access agreements; and regularly advises Ofwat on various issues.
She has also advised Heathrow Airport Limited on various regulatory and related commercial matters, including its airline charging structure.
Kassie has exceptional expertise and experience before the European Courts and the English courts in cases raising issues of EU law (from the High Court to the Supreme Court). She has acted in over 30 cases before the CJEU. She has appeared in cases concerning a variety of issues, including free movement rights, insolvency, telecoms, industrial relations and social policy. She has particular expertise in EU environmental law, and is recognised in the Directories as having “an amazing knowledge of EU law”.
- Ryanair v Secretary of State for the Home Department: acting for Ryanair in a challenge to the Government’s air carrier liability scheme as being contrary to EU free movement rights.
- Hook v British Airways  UKSC 15: Montreal Convention and EU Access to Air Travel Regulation
- X v Mid Sussex CAB  UKSC 59: Supreme Court proceedings on the application of EU discrimination law to volunteers
- C-335/11 and 337/11 Jette Ring: on the meaning of “disability”
- C-245/11 K: on asylum and the application of the Dublin Regulation
- C-211/10 Povse: an urgent procedure case under the Brussels IIa Regulation
- C-325/09 Dias: EU law rights of residence under Directive 2004/38/EC
- C-256/09 Purrucker: enforceability of provisional judgments under the Brussels IIa Regulation
- C-340/08 “M” : on Council Regulation (EC) 881/2002 imposing sanctions and freezing orders on the Taliban and Al Quaida
- C-406/08 Uniplex: on when time starts to run for bringing proceedings under the Public Procurement Directive 89/665/EEC
- C-195/08 Rinau: one of the first cases under the ECJ’s accelerated procedure on the Brussels IIa Regulation
- C-47/08, 50/08, 51/08 and 52/08 Commission v Portugal, France, Belgium and Luxembourg: acting for the UK as intervener in infraction proceedings against a number of Member States regarding their implementation of the MRPQ Directive as regards notaries
- C-44/08 Akavan AEK: on the collective redundancies Directive 98/59/EC
- C-12/08 Mono Car Styling: on the collective redundancies Directive 98/59/EC
- C-278/05 Robins and Burnett v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions: claim for Francovich damages by pensioners of insolvent companies
- C-268/06 Impact v Ministry of Agriculture: concerning the pension rights of civil servants on fixed term contracts
- C-267/06 Tadao Maruko: on same a sex partner’s right to a survivor’s pension
- C-190/06 Belgacom Mobile v Institut Belge des Services Postaux et des Telecommunications: concerning the Community rules on allocation of the radio spectrum to mobile network operators
- International Transport Workers’ Federation and Finnish Seaman’s Union v Viking Lines (2006) 1 Lloyd’s Rep 303: whether EC Treaty rules on free movement prohibit the taking of industrial action by national unions in protest at the employment of low wage labour
- Rutherford & Bentley  UKHL 19, (2006) ICR 785: a challenge to the legislation imposing upper age limits for unfair dismissal and redundancy payments. Kassie acted at all stages in the litigation from the Stratford Employment Tribunal through to the House of Lords
- C-190/06 Belgacom Mobile v Institut Belge des Services Postaux et des Telecommunications: Community rules on allocation of the radio spectrum to mobile network operators
- C-437/05 Vorel v Cesky Krumlov Hospital: the application of the Working Time Directive to pay
- C-307/05 Del Cerro Alonso: the application of the Fixed Term Workers Directive to pay
- Alderson v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry  1 All ER 1148, CA: claim by 122 Liverpool refuse collectors for Francovich damages for the misimplementation of the Acquired Rights Directive
- R. (on the application of ClientEarth) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs  EWHC 2740 (Admin): challenge to the Government’s Air Quality Plan for nitrogen dioxide.
- R. (on the application of Greenpeace Ltd) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs  EWHC 55 (Admin): challenge to the Government’s fisheries policy.
- ClientEarth v SSEFRA  ECR 0000;  UKSC 25: CJEU and Supreme Court proceedings on breach of EU Air Quality Directive
- Bucks CC v S/S for Transport  UKSC 3: judicial review of high speed rail (HS2)
- UK Association of Fish Producers Organisations v S/S for Environment Food and Rural Affairs  EWHC 1959 (Admin): reallocation of fishing quota.
- Test Biotech: advising a German NGO on a challenge to a European Commission decision granting a European marketing authorisation to genetically modified soybean
- C-258/11 Sweetman: application of the Habitats Directive to a road development in Galway
- Case C-366-10 Air Transport Association of America and others: challenge to the lawfulness of the EU carbon emissions trading scheme
- Greenpeace v S/S for Energy And Climate Change: challenge to the Government’s energy National Policy Statement (NPS) on nuclear
- Lymington River Association v Wightlink and DEFRA: concerning the environmental impact of the Lymington to Yarmouth passenger ferry
- Edwards v Environment Agency and others  1 WLR 1587, (2008) Env LR 34: a challenge in House of Lords to the government’s implementation of the EIA Directive, also important issues of principle relating to a public body’s obligation to consult on “internal” documents
- OSS Group v Environment Agency and DEFRA  EWCA Civ 611: whether waste derived fuel was waste for the purposes of the EC waste regime under Directive 2006/12/EC
- Greenpeace v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (2007) Env LR 29: acting for Greenpeace in its successful challenge to the Govt’s decision to support new nuclear build
- Case C-6/04 Commission v United Kingdom  ECR I-9017: defending the UK Government before the ECJ in infraction proceedings alleging inadequate implementation of the Habitats Directive
- Blackland Park (Exploration) Limited v Environment Agency  Env LR 33, CA: successfully defending the EA in the Court of Appeal in a case on the interpretation of the Landfill Directive
- Public procurement
Kassie has experience of litigating procurement issues in the UK and European courts and on advising public and private bodies on such issues.
She has recently been:
- Advising a central government department on termination of/ change to a high value, ongoing procurement process
- Advising a local authority on the interaction between environmental law and procurement law
- Advising a local authority on issues, including TUPE matters, arising out of an ongoing procurement process
- Advising a private body on issues arising from the re-organisation of public sector responsibilities following a procurement process
- R (Unison) v NHS Wiltshire PCT and others  EWHC 624: standing of a trade union to bring a JR claim to enforce public procurement regime.
- R v Secretary of State for Health ex p UNISON: acting for the intervener, DHL, in judicial review proceedings challenging the Secretary of State’s procurement process for the contracting out of NHS logistical and buying functions.
- C-406/08 UniplexI when time for bringing proceedings under Directive 89/665/EEC starts to run.
- WD Meats Ltd v DEFRA: a tendering procedure in for the provision of slaughtering services in respect of cattle under the Over Thirty Months Scheme (“OTMS”) arrangement.
- What the directories say
“A “terrific advocate” who is “legally excellent” and “a real team player”, according to peers.” – Competition, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2020
Telecommunications: “She is sensible about what can be achieved and understands that clients can’t always deliver perfect evidence and information. A very good draftsperson who it’s enjoyable to work with.” – Chambers UK, 2020
European: “Her rapport with the client is very good; she is able to set the client at ease and be quite frank with them about the whole process.” – Chambers UK, 2020
Competition: “You can rely upon her to working incredibly well with the team when building a case.” “She is calm and level-headed in a crisis, tackling everything with a good deal of pragmatism.” “Clients really appreciate her advice as she can get across difficult issues and make them easy to understand.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2020
Leading silk in Competition: ‘‘A brilliant mind and able communicator with an easy manner.’’ – Legal 500, 2020
Leading silk in EU Law: ‘‘An excellent advocate, who also provides cogent and well-reasoned advice.’’ – Legal 500, 2020
“An “extremely good barrister” and “a real team player”, say sources. She stands out for her extensive experience handling competition-related matters” – Competition, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2019
Competition: “Very considered and practical. She has a good grasp of the detail in a case and is very tuned in to the client’s concerns and aims.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2019
European: “She is one of the leading silks for EU free movement rights, and her way of explaining things to the client and her client management skills have been excellent.” – Chambers UK, 2019
Telecommunications: “She has a very thorough grasp of the fundamentals in the telecoms area” and “she really has oodles of common sense.” “She works hard, is approachable and is flexible when it comes to attending to the client’s needs.” – Chambers UK, 2019
Leading silk in Competition: ‘‘Straightforward to work with and excellent at dealing with clients’’ – Legal 500, 2018
Leading silk in EU Law: ‘‘Straightforward to work with and excellent at dealing with clients and creating a favourable impression.’’ –Legal 500, 2018
Competition: “She is very responsive, writes clearly and is good at explaining English law concepts to US clients.” – Chambers UK, 2018
European: “She is very responsive, writes clearly, is commercial and has a real presence.” – Chambers UK, 2018
Telecommunications: “A hard-working and calm barrister with considerable expertise in telecoms regulatory matters as well as mainstream competition issues.” “She is extremely persuasive on her feet and a highly impressive barrister.” – Chambers UK, 2018
Leading silk in Competition: ‘‘Wonderfully pragmatic in her approach.’’ – Legal 500, 2017
Leading silk in EU Law: ‘‘A lateral thinker for complex regulatory matters.’’ – Legal 500, 2017
Leading silk in Environment: ‘‘Thoroughly recommended for high-profile air pollution matters.’’ – Legal 500, 2017
Administrative & Public Law: “A consummate professional, she knows everything there is to know about judicial review and has a real clarity and focus about her.” She brings simplicity to complexity.” – Chambers UK, 2017
Competition Law: “Very approachable and easy to get on with, she’s very fast, clear and someone who cuts to the chase.” – Chambers UK, 2017
Environment: “She has excellent legal qualifications and is very helpful to the solicitor in the preparation of cases.” – Chambers UK, 2017
European Law: “Her advocacy is effective and to the point.” –Chambers UK, 2017
Telecommunications: “She has a clarity and focus about her in court which brings simplicity to the complex.” “She’s very clever, extremely talented and very user-friendly.” – Chambers UK, 2017
Leading silk in EU and Competition: “Responsive and commercial, and she knows when not to overcook things.” – Legal 500, 2016
Leading silk in Environment: “She adopts a very practical approach to difficult issues and is a good team player.” – Legal 500, 2016
Administrative & Public Law: ”She is reserved and poised so when she speaks people listen.” “She’s very effective.” – Chambers UK, 2016
Competition Law: “An extremely good barrister who is legally excellent and has an abundance of common sense.” “She’s strong on strategic thinking and is user-friendly.” – Chambers UK & Chambers Global, 2016
Environment: “She is a really good advocate who is very thorough and easy to work with.” – Chambers UK, 2016
European Law: “She is brilliant and has two amazing skills; she knows everything about EU law and is the fastest worker I have ever met. Her written style is very straightforward and there is no messing around; she is really excellent.” – Chambers UK, 2016
Telecommunications: “She is able to bring clarity to complex issues and do it quickly.” “Very sensible and strategically unflappable.” – Chambers UK, 2016
Leading Silk in EU and Competition Law: ”An exceptional and fearless advocate.” Legal 500, 2015
Competition Law: “She knows her stuff and has a good head on her shoulders.” “She stands her ground and thinks hard about questions.” – Chambers UK, 2015
Environment: “She has an amazing knowledge of EU law and is an excellent member of the team.” “Her paperwork is very good and done at exceptional speed.” – Chambers UK, 2015
European Law: “Her paperwork is exceptional and she produces it at great speed.” “Very calm and measured when dealing with the judiciary.” – Chambers UK, 2015
Telecommunications: “Incredibly accessible, proactive and really down to earth.” “She has broad experience in telecoms and the broader competition field, and is destined to become one of the most sought-after QCs.” – Chambers UK, 2015
Under Competition Law: Viewed as highly deserving of her recent elevation to silk, she is routinely seen acting on behalf of regulators such as the OFT. Has also done several high-profile cases representing private clients, including Guardian Care Homes, which arose from the Libor fixing scandal. “Technically very good and a skilful advocate.” “She is very hard-working and client-friendly.”Chambers UK, 2014
Under Environment Law: A new silk with a strong reputation in environment cases, particularly those involving EU law. She has acted in a number of leading environmental challenges on behalf of NGOs, public bodies and private individuals. “She is measured, structured and clear, and gets the points across in an unfussy way.” Chambers UK, 2014
Under European Law: “Measured, structured and clear, she gets her points across in an unfussy way.”Chambers UK, 2014
The ‘hardworking, efficient and client-friendly’ Kassie Smith QC is recommended as a new Silk in Adminstrative and Public Law.Legal 500, 2013
Kassie is also recommended as a new Silk in Environmental Law and Telecommunications Law. Legal 500, 2013
“New silk Kassie Smith QC is a ‘clear and innovative thinker‘,” recommended under EU & Competition Law. Legal 500, 2013
Competition / European Law: “Kassie Smith is “a real team player” who is repeatedly applauded for her “strong and efficient” advocacy and “very clear and well-drawn submissions.” These attributes contribute to her continuing popularity with instructing solicitors, and her practice extends to both competition and EU law.” Chambers UK, 2013
Under Environment Law: “Kassie Smith has a good relationship with government departments and recently acted for DEFRA in successfully dismissing a judicial review concerning whether the government had failed to meet its air quality targets.” – Legal 500, 2012
Kassie Smith is recommended as a leading junior in Administrative and Public Law. Legal 500, 2012
Kassie Smith is recommended as a leading junior in EU and Competition Law. Legal 500, 2012
Kassie Smith is recommended as a leading junior in Environment Law. Legal 500, 2012
Under Competition/EU law – “Instructing solicitors seek him out … Kassie Smith, who brings to the table “a commonsense approach and all-round legal excellence.” She has been acting for the Competition Commission in Stagecoach Group Plc v Competition Commission.” – Chambers UK, 2012
Environment – “Kassie Smith has an excellent track record in both domestic and EU environmental law, and is currently representing a transatlantic coalition of environmental groups in an intervention to a case brought by a group of airlines and their trade association. The case concerns Europe’s right to tackle carbon emissions from aircraft that travel through Europe. Sources are quick to praise her “fine attention to detail and practical and pragmatic advice.”” – Chambers UK, 2012
Administrative & Public Law recommends Kassie Smith as leading junior. Legal 500, 2011
EU & Competition Law recommends Kassie Smith as leading junior. Legal 500, 2011
Monckton Chambers’ Kassie Smith is ‘exceptionally bright, approachable and willing to go the extra mile to find a solution’. Legal 500, 2011
Kassie Smith, recommended under Competition/European Law in Chambers UK, 2011 “is recognised for the fact that “she gets to the crux of a problem quickly.” Smith acted unled for Waitrose as intervener in Tesco’s appeal against the OFT’s decision to make various impositions upon it following an investigation into the groceries market.”
“Kassie Smith is recognised for her experience of EU and domestic environmental law. She has been particularly active in various matters on behalf of the Environment Agency, and also advised Greenpeace on a number of issues, including on the challenge to plans designed to increase air traffic at Stansted Airport.” – Chambers UK, 2011