Joanna Christoforou focuses on EU and UK competition law and antitrust, including competition law litigation in the European and English Courts. Joanna defends clients in complex, high-value cartel or abuse of dominance investigations and court proceedings, damages actions, competition disputes, dawn raids, director disqualification orders, merger control (including restructurings, joint ventures, and other strategic alliances), foreign direct investment filings (FDI), and advises clients on a range of compliance and competition law matters. She represents clients before the European Commission, European Courts, Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Financial Conduct Authority, Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, and antitrust authorities in other jurisdictions.
Joanna works across a broad range of industries, including life sciences, technology, retail, grocery, ecommerce, financial services, commodities, and healthcare.
Joanna has had a leading role in significant competition litigation matters in the High Court, the CAT, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court, including representing Sainsbury’s in the leading case against Visa in the interchange fee litigation in the English Courts (including the successful appeals to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court), and representing Concordia in its challenge to the CMA’s search warrants, in a first of its kind litigation, as well as representing clients in a number of cartel and abuse of dominance investigations by the CMA and European Commission, and appeals of infringement decisions. Joanna is a member of the Morgan Lewis team which was awarded Behavioural Matter of the Year—Europe, Challenges to CMA Search Warrants by Global Competition Review (2018). She was seconded to the Competition and Cooperation Panel (then Monitor), advising on the introduction of a competition law regime to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
Joanna leads Morgan Lewis’s initiatives in assisting Amicus, a not for profit organization helping provide representation to individuals facing the death penalty in the US. She is also a member of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Committee.
Acting for Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd. in relation to its claim against Visa for damages and 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 Search Warrants by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) under s.28 of the Competition Act 1998 (CA98) at the High Court and the Court of Appeal. This was the first challenge to a search warrant under the CA98.
Acting for Concordia in relation to its defence against the CMA’s investigation, Statement of Objections (SO), and Supplementary Statement of Objections (SSO) regarding an alleged pay-for-delay arrangement with respect to adrenal insufficiency drug Hydrocortisone. Joanna is acting for Concordia in its appeal in the Competition Appeal Tribunal against the CMA’s infringement decision on the same.
Acting for Concordia in its defence against the CMA’s investigation, SO, SSO, and further SSO in relation to alleged unfair and excessive pricing of thyroid drug Liothyronine. Joanna is acting for Concordia in its appeal in the Competition Appeal Tribunal against the CMA’s infringement decision on the same.
Acting for Focus Pharma in its defence against the CMA’s investigation and SO in relation to an alleged market exclusion arrangement in respect of anti-nausea drug Prochlorperazine. Joanna is acting for Focus Pharma in its appeal in the Competition Appeal Tribunal against the CMA’s infringement decision on the same.
Acting for Advanz in its defence against the CMA’s investigation and SO in relation to an alleged market sharing arrangement in respect of antibiotic Nitrofurantoin.
Acting for a Fortune 500 company in its internal investigation into suspected market-sharing and price-fixing, and its application for immunity or leniency to enforcement agencies, including the European Commission.
Advised a Statement of Objections addressee in relation to the European Commission’s investigation into Credit Default Swaps.
Advised one of the world’s largest investment banks in relation to investigations by the European Commission, the Financial Conduct Authority, and the US regulators in relation to LIBOR and Euribor.
Advised one of the world’s largest investments banks in relation to investigations by a number of regulatory authorities (including the European Commission and the Financial Conduct Authority) in relation to Forex.
Advised a global tobacco manufacturer in its successful appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal in 2011 against the OFT’s decision and record fine in respect of alleged anti-competitive retail pricing practices. The infringement decision was annulled by the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
Advised a leading Private Equity House in obtaining unconditional merger clearance from the European Commission in relation to the combination of two entertainment groups, creating the second largest visitor attraction business in the world.
Advised a leading European dairy cooperative, in relation to its acquisition of a UK dairy cooperative. The merger was cleared by the European Commission subject to a divestment.
Seconded to the NHS Cooperation and Competition Panel (then, Monitor), advising on the introduction of a competition law regime to the UK National Health Service (NHS).
Advised on merger clearances in relation to the creation of the largest global aluminium producer, and subsequently advised on multi-jurisdictional filings regarding its acquisition of an interest in a producer active on other commodities markets.
Advised a global US Headquartered Car Rental Company in relation to the acquisition of an EMEA car rental company, involving merger clearances in a number of jurisdictions including the UK.
Was a stagiaire at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition.
Leading a Morgan Lewis team providing pro bono support to US counsel representing an individual on death row for Amicus, a not for profit organization helping provide representation to individuals facing the death penalty in the US. As a result of the successful representation, prosecutors dropped the death penalty.
Leading Morgan Lewis teams providing pro bono assistance on a number of matters for Amicus, including providing support to US counsel representing individuals on death row, as well as the Missouri Project, a large research project focused on the application of the death penalty.
Co-led a team assisting Reprieve, a human rights not-for-profit organization, in relation to a pro bono study on the appeals system in a jurisdiction.
Cambridge University, Downing College, 1994, LLM
Cambridge Judge Business School, 1993, Postgraduate Diploma, Management Studies
Cambridge University, Downing College, 1992, BA and MA (Cantab), Law
England and Wales (Solicitor)
Awards and Affiliations
Highly Commended, Competition Team of the Year, The Lawyer Awards (2021, 2022)
Recommended, Corporate and Commercial: EU and Competition, The Legal 500 UK (2016–2022)
Recommended, Dispute Resolution: Competition Litigation, The Legal 500 UK (2020–2022)
Member, Behavioural Matter of the Year—Europe, Challenges to CMA Search Warrants, Global Competition Review (2018)
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Competition, Law360 (2017–2020)
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Antitrust Law, US News & World Report/Best Lawyers (2017)
The Lawyer Competition/Regulatory Team of the Year award (2012) and the Legal Business Competition Team of the Year award (2012) team member for advising a global tobacco manufacturer in its successful appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal in 2011
Awarded a stage to the Directorate General for Competition by the Law Society’s European Group (now the Law Society’s Competition Section) (2000)