Frances Murphy focuses on competition law and antitrust matters. Frances currently serves as Managing Partner of the firm’s London office. She is a noted leading practitioner, with Chambers UK describing her as “a highly responsive, results driven, practical lawyer” who is a “consummate team player.” The Legal 500 describes her as “an elite performer with formidable powers of analysis.” Frances is singled out by clients in relation to complex, high value, bet the company matters.
Frances represents clients in complex, high value global cartel investigations, alleged abuse of dominance matters and civil proceedings for damages for breach of competition law/antitrust laws. She has experience defending investigations by the competition authorities, in particular by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the Financial Conduct Authority, and the European Commission and in leading actions in the Competition Authority Tribunal, the English Courts, and the European Courts.
Frances works across various industries, including aviation and maritime shipping, construction, financial services, retail, grocery, media, pharmaceuticals, and satellite communications. Her experience also includes mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, joint ventures, licensing of intellectual property rights, and other strategic alliances.
Frances has acted in a number of the leading cases which have shaped “follow-on” litigation in England. In 2003 she began to act for BASF in the vitamins litigation, a case which gave rise to what remains the leading judgment on jurisdiction in cases involving defendants from multiple jurisdictions (Provimi and Trouw) and the leading judgment on the remedies available to claimants in follow-on claims (Devenish). Frances has also acted in the leading case challenging the use by the CMA of interim injunctions in competition investigations (London Metal Exchange v. CMA) and in the leading case challenging the use by the CMA of search warrants in on-going investigations (Concordia v. CMA) in all of which the client prevailed. This last case was awarded Behavioural Matter of the Year—Europe by Global Competition Review (2018).
Frances is representing a number of claimants against Visa and MasterCard for an alleged violation of competition law for setting, together with their member banks, the level of the Multilateral Interchange Fees merchants must pay for purchases made using a Visa or MasterCard branded debit or credit card. In addition to McDonald’s and the Rail Delivery Group, comprising 21 train operators, Frances is representing Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited in these claims. The latter case is currently pending judgment by the Court of Appeal.
Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Frances led the antitrust and trade regulation practice of another international law firm.
Frances sits on the firm’s Advisory Board and on the firm’s International Leadership Team.
Acting for Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd. in its landmark victory at the Supreme Court against Visa. In June 2020, the Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal's 2018 judgment in favour of Sainsbury’s claim that Visa’s UK multilateral interchange fee was an unlawful restriction of competition under UK and EU law. Prior to the relevant proceedings there had been no English or European ruling that Visa’s interchange fee was a restriction of competition. (Acted for Sainsbury's at the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court.)
Acting for Concordia in connection with challenges to CMA Search Warrants at the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
Acting for Concordia in relation to an ongoing investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority into alleged excessive pricing.
Acting for Concordia in relation to a Statement of Objections by the Competition and Markets Authority in relation to an alleged pay-for-delay arrangement.
Represented Apple Inc. in connection with the investigations by the UK Office of Fair Trading and the European Commission of Apple and six publishers related to the pricing of e-books, and the successful closure of those investigations by way of agreed commitments with the European Commission.
Represented Durkan Holdings Limited, Durkan Limited, and Concentra Limited in an appeal to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal against findings by the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) regarding their alleged involvement in the construction cartels in the UK.
Defending Global Crossing in relation to a claim that it was party to a collective boycott of a service provider for the bringing ashore of deep sea cables for telecommunications.
Represented the London Metal Exchange in relation to an investigation and injunction imposed on it by the Office of Fair Trading for an alleged abuse of a dominant position for electronic trading in metals.
Represented AstraZeneca Plc in an appeal to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg of a European Commission Decision concerning ground breaking findings of abuse of dominance in the pharmaceutical sector.
Represented a global car manufacturer in connection with claims arising out of the car glass cartel.
Defended sanofi-aventis S.A. against a claim in the High Court for an alleged abuse of dominance through its refusal to supply pharmacy and homecare services provider Intercare Direct.
Defended Total S.A. in a follow-on claim for damages in the High Court in connection with the so-called candle wax cartel in Europe
Advised a major global bank on the antitrust aspects of lobbying activities in relation to the regulatory reforms proposed by the European Commission’s “Markets in Financial Instruments Directive” (MiFID II).
Advised the London Metal Exchange Limited on the competition issues relative to its £1.39 billion (US$2.16 billion) acquisition by Hong Kong Exchange & Clearing Ltd.
Advised Goodrich Corporation in its US$18.4 billion merger with United Technologies Corp., marking a major milestone for the company and strengthening its position in the commercial aerospace industry.
Advised Lakeshore Lending Limited, a subsidiary of American Greetings Corporation, Inc., on the acquisition of a substantial part of the Clinton Cards business and assets from its administrators Zolfo Cooper.
Represented W.L. Ross as lead investor in the £1 billion (US$1.55 billion) acquisition of Northern Rock plc from the UK Government.
Advised W.L. Ross & Co. LLC in the €1.123 billion (US$1.6 billion) minority stake investment in Bank of Ireland. Co-investors included Fairfax Financial Holdings, Capital Research, Fidelity Investment, and Kennedy Wilson.
Advised MPS Group, Inc., a professional staffing company, in its US $1.3 billion acquisition by Zurich, Switzerland-based Adecco Group, a provider of human resource solutions.
Defended sanofi-aventis S.A. against a claim in the High Court for an alleged abuse of dominance through its refusal to supply pharmacy and homecare services provider Intecare Direct.
Defended Total S.A. in a follow-on claim for damages in the High Court in connection with the so-called candle wax cartel in Europe.
Queen Mary University of London, 1992, Postgraduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law
College of Law, England, 1985, Law Society Finals
Queen Mary University of London, 1984, BA, Joint Honors
England & Wales (Solicitor)
Awards and Affiliations
Antitrust & Competition Lawyer of the Year, Euromoney Women in Business Law Awards EMEA (2022)
Highly Commended, Competition Team of the Year, The Lawyer Awards (2021, 2022)
Recognized, Best Law Firms for Merger Control, United Kingdom (Valuable Practice), Leaders League and Décideurs (2021)
Hall of Fame, Corporate and Commercial: EU and Competition, The Legal 500 UK (2021–2023)
Leading Individual, Dispute Resolution: Competition Litigation, The Legal 500 UK (2023)
Recognized, Competition Law, London, The Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom (2020, 2021)
Recommended, Dispute Resolution: Competition Litigation, The Legal 500 UK (2020–2022)
Recommended, Industry Focus: Life Sciences and Healthcare, The Legal 500 UK (2021–2023)
Recommended, Corporate and Commercial: EU and Competition, London, The Legal 500 UK (2019, 2020)
Recommended, TMT (Technology, Media and Telecoms): Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology, London, The Legal 500 UK (2019, 2020)
Ranked, Competition Law, Chambers UK (2015–2022)
Ranked, Competition Law: Private Enforcement: Claimant, Chambers UK (2020–2022)
Ranked, Competition Law: Litigation, Chambers UK (2019)
Ranked, Competition Law, UK, Chambers Global (2021)
Ranked, Competition Law: Private Enforcement: Claimant, UK, Chambers Global (2020–2022)
Ranked, Competition Law, UK, Chambers Europe (2009–2021)