find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Adelaide CBD · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
Freelance Project Finance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Australia
· Vario are looking for freelance lawyers with experience in project finance ideally within the renewable energy sector
View details
Vario Freelance Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Australia
· We are looking for lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Freelance Construction Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· We are looking for construction lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Banking Associate - 1-6PQE - Allen & Overy
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: United Kingdom
· Banking Associate - 1-6 PQE - Allen & Overy
View details
Firm calls for 'urgent' agency agreements reviews

Firm calls for 'urgent' agency agreements reviews

Airline

Kain Lawyers has urged its corporate clients who use distributors or agents to sell their products or services to review these arrangements, following Flight Centre’s significant competition laws breach.

The firm is advising its business clients to urgently review these agency arrangements, noting that they could be in breach of Australian competition laws and face prosecution.

This comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) recent win in its High Court appeal battle with Flight Centre.

The court ruled that the travel agency breached competition laws by attempting to induce three international airlines – Emirates, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines – to enter into price-fixing arrangements when air fares offered online by the three were cheaper than those offered by Flight Centre.

According to court documents, Flight Centre asked the airlines in a series of emails to stop selling tickets at lower prices than those available to travel agents, while threatening to stop selling tickets for the three airlines unless they agreed.

Kain Lawyers director Rebecca Halkett said the High Court ruling has significant ramifications that go well beyond the travel industry and could extend to all businesses that make offers directly to customers as well as using agents to sell their products.

“The key question facing the High Court was whether the airlines and Flight Centre were competing against each other in the same market,” Ms Halkett said.

“The Court found that principals and agents can be taken to be competing with each other in the same market, meaning that many vertical distribution arrangements could now potentially be in breach of competition laws.

“Until now, many principals and agents in vertical distribution arrangements have operated on the assumption that the prohibitions around price fixing and cartel conduct do not apply to their arrangements because they are not in competition with each other.

“The main reason for this assumption is that the agent is acting on behalf of the business – but with this ruling, the High Court has said that principals and agents can be taken to be competing with each other, putting them at risk of serious criminal penalties if their arrangements amount to prohibited anti-competitive provisions.”

Ms Halkett noted that the decision does not mean that principals and agents aren’t able to compete with each other. However, she said if they are, they need to clearly understand the application of the competition law to their commercial terms.

“As many supply and distribution agreements include price parity clauses, restrictions on the territories in which they operate or the customers to whom the principal and agent will sell, these are likely now to be anti-competitive,” Ms Halkett said.

“We would strongly advise any business that is party to an agency or distribution arrangement – either as the principal or agent – and where there is a risk that the principal and agent might sell in the same markets, to have these agreements reviewed as a matter of priority.”

Like this story? Read more:

Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

Firm calls for 'urgent' agency agreements reviews
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Debate rises over Victorian judiciary attack
Jan 24 2018
Debate rises over Victorian judiciary attack
The Victorian Bar has become the latest to go on record condemning recent political attacks on the V...
Michelle Quigley QC
Jan 24 2018
Vic Barrister who helped stop major heritage redevelopment joins Supreme Court
Michelle Quigley QC, who assisted a coalition to oppose the redevelopment of St Heliers villa estate...
Building, construction
Jan 24 2018
Building finish for NSW coroner’s complex slated for early 2019
Efforts to relocate the state coroner’s facilities from Glebe to Lidcombe are on track, according ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...