Derek Spitz has a broad commercial litigation, competition and international arbitration practice, with particular expertise in private actions for damages in competition law cases. He has appeared in the CAT, High Court and the Court of Appeal, and is recommended by Chambers UK as a leading junior (Competition Law) and by The Legal 500 (Commercial Litigation and EU and Competition).
Recent work includes acting for Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited in substantial and high-profile claims against Visa and MasterCard concerning interchange fees implemented in breach of EU Competition law (judgment by the Court of Appeal in July 2018 following a 13-week trial against Visa and a 7-week trial against MasterCard. The case is currently on appeal to the Supreme Court); for Ryder Limited in another substantial and high-profile private action against the major European Truck manufacturers and distributors involved in a long-running Europe-wide cartel; for defendants in a breach of warranty and fraud claim involving alleged restrictive practices and abuse of dominance in relation to the supply of hydrocortisone tablets; for defendants in a complex fraud and conspiracy trial in the Commercial Court relating to the Iraqi oil and gas industry; for BMW in substantial “Elida-Gibbs” VAT repayment claims involving the proper construction of VAT and EU law; in a hard-fought trial concerning contractual construction and estoppel; in a lengthy arbitration under AFSA Rules, and advising on complex issues arising in derivative contracts under the ISDA Master Agreement.
Derek has also acted in a number of substantial international commercial arbitrations under ICC, LCIA, and AFSA Rules and in several banking and finance related matters.
Comments in Chambers & Partners and Legal 500:
Advises claimants and defendants on private actions for competition law damages, particularly those arising from cartels. Spitz also assists clients with abuse of dominance cases. "He is easy to work with, pleasant and very good in cross-examination." (Chambers UK 2019, Competition)
“Meticulous in his preparation and a careful advocate.” (Legal 500 2018/19, Commercial Litigation)
“While very good at pure competition law work, he is extremely knowledgeable with crossover competition and commercial law issues.” (Legal 500 2018/19, EU and Competition)
“He is a very bright individual, who stays calm under fire and is a reliable member of the team.” (Chambers UK 2018, Competition)
"A calm and measured advocate, who gets to the heart of the case." (Legal 500 2017, EU and Competition)
"Very knowledgeable and thorough in his approach, and easy to work with." (Legal 500 2017, Commercial Litigation)
“Particularly experienced in cartel damages litigation, he acts for both claimants and defendants. He has experience of acting in some of the leading cases in this field “He is very experienced and very able.” (Chambers & Partners 2017, Competition)
“Handles a wide range of commercial cases, and has a particular focus on private enforcement when it comes to competition law matters. He also has experience of handling international arbitration. “He is a careful advocate who’s meticulous in his preparation.” (Chambers & Partners 2016, Competition)
“An exceptionally clear thinker, a silent assasin in court, and very good at getting to the heart of the detail in a case.” (Legal 500 2016, EU and Competition)
“He operates at the level of leading counsel and has a really inquiring mind.” (Legal 500 2016, Commercial Litigation)
“A barrister who is advancing his reputation within the competition law field due to his work on high-profile cases…” “He is very bright and he drafts well.” “A fantastically calm presence in court and a strong technical lawyer” . (Chambers & Partners 2015, Competition)
“He is appreciated for his careful advocacy style.” (Legal 500 2015, EU and Competition)
“His ability to go through documents in a forensic way is outstanding”. (Legal 500 2015, Commercial Litigation)
“Has a growing reputation in competition work having come to the area via his commercial practice. He is now highly sought after by leading silks, and has handled a number of complex damages claims. “He is adept at handling novel situations and contributing reliable and incredibly responsive advice.” “He’s technically highly accomplished and very diligent.” (Chambers & Partners 2014, Competition Law)
“He has an excellent grasp of complex legal matters.” (Legal 500 2014, Commercial Litigation)
Before being called to the Bar in England and Wales, Derek was a leading junior at the Johannesburg Bar, practising in commercial, competition and public law, and was an author and co-editor of Constitutional Law of South Africa (the leading work in the field). He continues to be a member of the Johannesburg Bar with expertise in South African law. Derek was educated at the University of the Witwatersrand (BA (Honours) LLB cum laude); Cornell University (MA) (Fulbright Scholarship); and Columbia University (JD) (Harlan Fisk Stone Scholar).