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James Aitken

Partner, Head of London Antitrust, Competition and Trade Group

Antitrust and competition | Foreign direct investment and national security | Investigations | Technology | Telecommunications |

James has a wide range of experience in complex mergers and behavioural investigations before the CMA and EC. Clients praise his "calm approach and his ability to break down technical questions."

Chambers UK 2023

Profile details

About James Aitken

James leads our London antitrust, competition and trade group. Much of his work involves dealing with fast-moving investigations, many of which involve behavioural issues with significant implications for the clients’ commercial conduct and strategic objectives.

His experience in working in the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) is invaluable as it enables him to approach cases with practical insight gained from first-hand experience of seeing complex evidence and arguments tested. His clients value his calm professionalism and practical approach in handling what can sometimes be stressful situations.

He also handles obtaining regulatory clearances for mergers, both before the European Commission (EC) and UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), as well as co-ordinating obtaining necessary clearances worldwide. He is also one of the partners with particular experience of advising regulated utilities and on litigation challenges to regulatory decisions in court and the UK CAT.

Sectors he specialises in include: telecoms, media and technology, energy and natural resources, financial institutions, and infrastructure and transport. He has become particularly well known for his strategic advice to leading players on the intersection of antitrust law with patent law and digital business models. 

Many of the cases James deals with involve working across more than one jurisdiction. In addition to handling the EC or CMA aspects of a matter James often finds himself managing a team of lawyers across continents. As a result, his ability to manage collaboratively but purposefully is the key to success.

James is ranked as a leading individual in the Competition/European Law section of Chambers UK, Europe and Global, and in Who's Who Legal.

As well as regularly speaking at seminars, James has co-authored a chapter in the seventh edition of the leading publication Bellamy and Child: European Union Law of Competition.

James speaks English, French and Norwegian.


Professional qualifications

  • Solicitor, England, Wales and Scotland