Caroline Coops practices in the Competition and Regulatory team and guides clients through complex merger clearance matters, abuse of dominance, regulatory investigations, competition litigation and pricing and distribution strategies. She is described by market commentators as “the best in her field”, "the pre-eminent practitioner in Australia for advertising work", "very intelligent and capable lawyer" with "exceptional knowledge and experience in merger clearance", possessing "a depth of understanding of competition law issues that is second to none" and by clients as being "professional, work[ing] well under pressure", "very commercial in her approach", “extremely pragmatic” and as “understandi[ing] the internal temperature at [client] without needing to be told and tailor[ing] her manner… appropriately.”
Caroline’s expertise is particularly evidenced by her work on the following matters:
- Samsung – acting for Samsung to defend the ACCC’s Federal Court proceedings alleging misleading conduct and false representations in relation to the water-resistant capabilities of its Galaxy smartphones.
- National Australia Bank – acting for Nab in relation to the ACCC’ Foreign Currency Conversion Services Inquiry, Home Loan Price Inquiry and Residential Mortgage Products Price Inquiry.
- Trivago – acting for Trivago to defend the Federal Court ACL proceedings issued by the ACCC alleging misleading conduct and false representations in relation to trivago’s Top Position Offers and algorithm factors.
- Medibank Private – successfully defending Medibank in the Federal Court proceedings issued by the ACCC and the subsequent ACCC appeal alleging misleading and unconscionable conduct regarding changes to diagnostic services arrangements.
- Telstra - successfully defending Telstra in the Federal Court proceedings issued by the Australian Olympic Committee’s alleging misleading conduct and breach by Telstra of the Olympic Insignia Protection Act (OIPA). The case garnered widespread media interest and was the first case brought under the OIPA Act since its inception.
- Asciano - advising Asciano on the ACCC issues associated with the A$9bn takeover bids by Brookfield Infrastructure Partners and the Qube Consortium. This was the largest public takeover matter at the time in Australia and involved some of the most complex issues ever considered by the ACCC.
- Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC): advising Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) on its acquisition of Energy Australia’s Iona Gas Plant valued at $1.78 billion and successfully obtaining ACCC clearance.
- Lochard Energy – advising Lochard Energy on its acquisition of the Heytesbury Assets and successfully obtaining ACCC clearance.
Expertise and industry roles
Caroline is the former Chair of the Law Council’s Competition and Consumer Committee (Business Law Section) - the key representative body of the leading competition lawyers and practitioners in Australia. Caroline is only the second female Chair appointed in the Committee’s 40 year history. This position demonstrates Caroline’s distinguished reputation in her practice area. As Chair, she led the response of the profession to the Government’s Competition Policy (being the most significant review and proposed reform of competition policy and laws in the last 20 years) and the Government’s review of the Australian Consumer Law.
Caroline is also an invited member of the ACCC’s Performance Consultative Committee.
Caroline is recognised as a notable practitioner in Chambers & Partners 2019-2020 (Band 1), as a leading lawyer - highly regarded in IFLR1000 (2019 – 2020), Asialaw Leading Lawyers 2018-2020, in Who’s Who Legal for competition law (2018-2020) and a leading individual in Asia Pacific Legal 500 (2020) for Competition & Trade. She is also listed in Euromoney’s Women in Business Law Expert Guide (2017), as a Best Lawyer in Doyles Guide (2018 - 2020) and a leading competition lawyer (2018), as one of Australia’s top competition lawyers, as judged by peers, in the Australian Financial Review since 2011 and has been named in Best Lawyers as Regulatory Lawyer of the Year (2018), Telecommunications Lawyer of the Year (2020) and a listed lawyer 2020-2021.
Caroline was also a finalist in the AFR/Beaton Client Choice Awards 2017 ‘most client focused lawyer’ category, is recognised as a stand out star lawyer in Acritas Stars (2018- 2020) (nominated by General Counsel) and was a finalist in Lawyers' Weekly Partner of the Year Awards in 2019 in Competition, Trade and Regulatory.
- 1996: Bachelor of Laws (Hons)/Bachelor of Arts degree, Monash University
- 1996 - 2001: Solicitor, Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Melbourne
- 2001 - 2006: Senior Associate, Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Melbourne
- 2006 - present: Partner, Competition & Regulatory, King & Wood Mallesons, Melbourne
- 2011-2013: Managing Partner, Corporate Advisory, TMET and People & Development, King & Wood Mallesons
Competition and Consumer Committee of the Business Law Section of the Business Council of Australia