State Aid

The European Union rules on State aid apply to a wide range of types of financial assistance granted to businesses by central or local government or by other types of State entity.

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EU law prohibits the grant by any State entity in an EU Member State of financial assistance to businesses if that financial assistance favours only certain businesses and could distort competition. The types of financial assistance covered range from simple grants or special tax breaks to more complex schemes such as loans or investments on favourable terms or State backed guarantees. Where financial assistance qualifies as State aid it is unlawful unless it falls within a European Commission exemption regulation or is approved by the Commission following notification by the Member State. Approval can be for a scheme involving multiple grants or for a single specific grant of aid.

At DWF we have in-depth experience of all aspects of State aid, from funding applications and projects, through to public-private collaborations and partnerships, including major regeneration and PFI projects.

We work across the many different strands of the public sector, acting on behalf of both public bodies and the many private partners that work with them.

Our public sector clients include over 100 local authorities, education and healthcare providers, Local Enterprise Partnerships and many central government agencies.

We also act for private businesses seeking public financial assistance and businesses concerned that competitors may have received illegal State aid. We have advised on numerous European Commission State aid investigations and actions in national courts involving State aid.

Jonathan Branton

Partner - Head of EU/Competition

I lead the firm in EU/Competition issues, specialising in behavioural antitrust, merger control, public procurement and State aid, and all related issues of public funding, including the UK’s Regional Growth Fund, ERDF and ESIF. I also head up the firm’s Brussels office and the firm’s cross-discipline Public Sector group.

Jay Mehta

Senior Associate

I specialise in European Funding (ERDF, Horizon 2020, ESF and State aid) and Information Access (FOI/EIR) law.

Howard Cartlidge

Head of EU/Competition (London)

I advise on all aspects of EU and UK competition law. I help businesses to deal with the legal and policy aspects of regulatory disputes and investigations.

Dr. Daisy Walzel, LL.M. (oec)

Partner - Head of Competition (Germany)

I advise on all aspects of German and EU competition law, specialising in merger control, competition law compliance and provide advice on competitor co-operations and cartel proceedings.