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Suzanne Rab

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Suzanne Rab

Areas of Expertise

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Year of Call: 2013 srab@serlecourt.co.uk
Direct Dial: +44 (0)20 7400 7117

Overview

Suzanne is accredited as a mediator by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR).  Suzanne’s core area of practice is EU and competition law where she has represented businesses, public authorities and NGOs for over 15 years.  She focuses on disputes in industries that are subject to sector regulation (communications, energy, financial services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, transport and water) or which relate to the interface between competition law and intellectual property. 

Suzanne will work with the parties and their advisors to design a process that will facilitate resolution of their dispute.  Where desired by the parties, she can deploy more evaluative approaches including through Early Neutral Evaluation.  Prior to her Call to the Bar Suzanne was a director in the economics and strategy practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers and is conversant with economic and financial issues arising in highly technical disputes.

Suzanne enjoys the flexibility to act as a lead-mediator or subject-matter expert co-mediator in cases which can benefit from her specialist competition law, regulatory and economics expertise. 

Reflecting the international focus of her practice, Suzanne is happy to travel out of London or overseas for the convenience of the parties.  She has acted as counsel in international arbitrations in complex commercial disputes with a competition law dimension.  As such, she is sensitive to the use and potential of alternative dispute resolution and the opportunities to create value through the settlement process. 

Suzanne also advises governments and regulators on the design and implementation of dispute resolution policy and procedures including mediation in competition law and economic regulatory matters.

Areas of Expertise and Cases


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Mediation

Style of Mediation

Suzanne is typically retained due to her innovative and creative approach to working with the parties and their advisors to design, develop and implement a workable settlement.  She is one of very few English mediators who focus on cases with a competition or regulatory angle.

She deploys strategic planning and risk analysis from the outset.  Where appropriate she will use pre-mediation private calls or meetings with the parties to prepare them for the mediation day.  In highly technical cases, this can help maximise the prospects for productive joint sessions by focusing on key interests.

Suzanne is a highly energised practitioner.  This factor combined with her resilience and technical proficiency can often help the parties to reach a solution and move on.

Mediation in Competition and Regulatory Cases

  • Legal and regulatory context:  With mounting interest in Europe in private enforcement of competition disputes in the courts, there is momentum for alternative forms of resolution beyond a complaint to a competition authority, including mediation.  This trend will continue with the implementation of the Consumer Rights Bill 2013 in the UK and the EU Directive on damages in competition cases which will need to be implemented in national law by 27 December 2016.  The UK is already one of the leading EU jurisdictions for bringing private competition cases.  In this context, the UK Government has sought to promote ADR as part of the national reforms, although not make it obligatory.
     
  • Benefits of mediation in competition cases:  Some of the benefits of mediation are particularly well suited to competition cases.  In particular, mediation can lead to more creative solutions than litigation or other alternatives in reaching a resolution beyond financial compensation.  This may allow the parties to continue doing business with each other on more flexible terms than could be ordered by a court.  This is likely to be useful in disputes over IPR and distribution agreements which often raise competition law questions.
     
  • Timing:  Cases before a competition authority can take several years to resolve and may be subject to a lengthy appeal process.  Mediation can offer an expedited ‘once and for all’ solution.  It can reduce costs and limit damage to the competitive position of the respective businesses when compared with the often protracted period of limbo before final determination by a regulator or court.
     
  • Avoiding a precedent:  Competition cases can raise untested points of law and controversial economic theories.  It can be in both parties’ interests to avoid a precedent that is binding in future cases.  This favours mediation which is a one-off solution that focuses on furthering the parties’ commercial and other interests, rather than their strict legal positions.
     
  • Highly contested:  Competition cases can often reach an impasse, for example where complex economics or IPR-related issues arise.  There can be plenty to argue about.  The involvement of a trained and expert ‘neutral’, that is to say a mediator with competition law and economics expertise can be a useful reality check on the strength of their claims.  Since this is a technical area, a mediator who is well-versed in competition law can build the parties’ confidence and create efficiencies in the mediation process by cutting through to the issues. 
     
  • Party control:  Some competition cases are more amenable to mediation than others.  So-called ‘bet the company litigation’ or cases where there are non-financial including reputational interests at stake can be particularly good prospects for mediation.  Mediation takes the dispute outside mainstream litigation with attendant costs, publicity and unpredictability.  The parties are in control of the decision to settle and the terms of settlement.
     
  • Relationship with investigation by a competition authority:  Some competition disputes will not be taken up by a competition authority simply because they are not treated as an administrative priority.  This may be because they do not involve clear-cut infringements or are not sufficiently high profile.  Mediation can present an alternative or parallel route towards a solution in such circumstances.

Representative experience

  • Advising a mobile operator on the alternative dispute resolution routes available to it in relation to a dispute with an incumbent telecoms provider raising competition law claims.
     
  • Advising on the competition law issues under Article 101/102 TFEU relating to patent settlement agreements in pharmaceutical ‘pay for delay’ cases.
     
  • Advising numerous international technology companies on the competition law issues arising from their patent settlement agreements including under the EU Technology Transfer Block Exemption.
     
  • Advising the Payment Systems Regulator on the design and implementation of its policy and procedures for handling disputes in relation to payment systems, including over access and terms and conditions.
     
  • Representing an Italian gas supplier on EU competition law claims and settlement in an arbitration involving a State-owned energy company.
     
  • Advising on competition law issues arising under the Indian Competition Act 2002 in the context of an arbitration in the gas sector.

All Quotes

"Solicitors praise her for her superior client service...." Chambers & Partners 2016

Suzanne Rab - Mediator

Suzanne Rab - Mediator

Year of Call: 2013
Email: srab@serlecourt.co.uk

Overview

Suzanne is accredited as a mediator by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR).  Suzanne’s core area of practice is EU and competition law where she has represented businesses, public authorities and NGOs for over 15 years.  She focuses on disputes in industries that are subject to sector regulation (communications, energy, financial services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, transport and water) or which relate to the interface between competition law and intellectual property. 

Suzanne will work with the parties and their advisors to design a process that will facilitate resolution of their dispute.  Where desired by the parties, she can deploy more evaluative approaches including through Early Neutral Evaluation.  Prior to her Call to the Bar Suzanne was a director in the economics and strategy practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers and is conversant with economic and financial issues arising in highly technical disputes.

Suzanne enjoys the flexibility to act as a lead-mediator or subject-matter expert co-mediator in cases which can benefit from her specialist competition law, regulatory and economics expertise. 

Reflecting the international focus of her practice, Suzanne is happy to travel out of London or overseas for the convenience of the parties.  She has acted as counsel in international arbitrations in complex commercial disputes with a competition law dimension.  As such, she is sensitive to the use and potential of alternative dispute resolution and the opportunities to create value through the settlement process. 

Suzanne also advises governments and regulators on the design and implementation of dispute resolution policy and procedures including mediation in competition law and economic regulatory matters.

Areas of expertise

"Solicitors praise her for her superior client service...." Chambers & Partners 2016

Mediation

Style of Mediation

Suzanne is typically retained due to her innovative and creative approach to working with the parties and their advisors to design, develop and implement a workable settlement.  She is one of very few English mediators who focus on cases with a competition or regulatory angle.

She deploys strategic planning and risk analysis from the outset.  Where appropriate she will use pre-mediation private calls or meetings with the parties to prepare them for the mediation day.  In highly technical cases, this can help maximise the prospects for productive joint sessions by focusing on key interests.

Suzanne is a highly energised practitioner.  This factor combined with her resilience and technical proficiency can often help the parties to reach a solution and move on.

Mediation in Competition and Regulatory Cases

  • Legal and regulatory context:  With mounting interest in Europe in private enforcement of competition disputes in the courts, there is momentum for alternative forms of resolution beyond a complaint to a competition authority, including mediation.  This trend will continue with the implementation of the Consumer Rights Bill 2013 in the UK and the EU Directive on damages in competition cases which will need to be implemented in national law by 27 December 2016.  The UK is already one of the leading EU jurisdictions for bringing private competition cases.  In this context, the UK Government has sought to promote ADR as part of the national reforms, although not make it obligatory.
     
  • Benefits of mediation in competition cases:  Some of the benefits of mediation are particularly well suited to competition cases.  In particular, mediation can lead to more creative solutions than litigation or other alternatives in reaching a resolution beyond financial compensation.  This may allow the parties to continue doing business with each other on more flexible terms than could be ordered by a court.  This is likely to be useful in disputes over IPR and distribution agreements which often raise competition law questions.
     
  • Timing:  Cases before a competition authority can take several years to resolve and may be subject to a lengthy appeal process.  Mediation can offer an expedited ‘once and for all’ solution.  It can reduce costs and limit damage to the competitive position of the respective businesses when compared with the often protracted period of limbo before final determination by a regulator or court.
     
  • Avoiding a precedent:  Competition cases can raise untested points of law and controversial economic theories.  It can be in both parties’ interests to avoid a precedent that is binding in future cases.  This favours mediation which is a one-off solution that focuses on furthering the parties’ commercial and other interests, rather than their strict legal positions.
     
  • Highly contested:  Competition cases can often reach an impasse, for example where complex economics or IPR-related issues arise.  There can be plenty to argue about.  The involvement of a trained and expert ‘neutral’, that is to say a mediator with competition law and economics expertise can be a useful reality check on the strength of their claims.  Since this is a technical area, a mediator who is well-versed in competition law can build the parties’ confidence and create efficiencies in the mediation process by cutting through to the issues. 
     
  • Party control:  Some competition cases are more amenable to mediation than others.  So-called ‘bet the company litigation’ or cases where there are non-financial including reputational interests at stake can be particularly good prospects for mediation.  Mediation takes the dispute outside mainstream litigation with attendant costs, publicity and unpredictability.  The parties are in control of the decision to settle and the terms of settlement.
     
  • Relationship with investigation by a competition authority:  Some competition disputes will not be taken up by a competition authority simply because they are not treated as an administrative priority.  This may be because they do not involve clear-cut infringements or are not sufficiently high profile.  Mediation can present an alternative or parallel route towards a solution in such circumstances.

Representative experience

  • Advising a mobile operator on the alternative dispute resolution routes available to it in relation to a dispute with an incumbent telecoms provider raising competition law claims.
     
  • Advising on the competition law issues under Article 101/102 TFEU relating to patent settlement agreements in pharmaceutical ‘pay for delay’ cases.
     
  • Advising numerous international technology companies on the competition law issues arising from their patent settlement agreements including under the EU Technology Transfer Block Exemption.
     
  • Advising the Payment Systems Regulator on the design and implementation of its policy and procedures for handling disputes in relation to payment systems, including over access and terms and conditions.
     
  • Representing an Italian gas supplier on EU competition law claims and settlement in an arbitration involving a State-owned energy company.
     
  • Advising on competition law issues arising under the Indian Competition Act 2002 in the context of an arbitration in the gas sector.

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