Michael-James is a Director of Primerio and co-founder of
the Primerio South African practice.
Mike’s regulatory and commercial law practice is pan-African
and he has practiced across several countries and regional blocs including
Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa,
Eswatini, Tanzania, COMESA and CEMAC, for the better part of a decade.
Mike has consistently been recognised as a “Best Lawyer in
South Africa” and also serves as the Global Law Expert for competition law in
In addition to his practice areas, Mike is a regular speaker
and author who has published several journal articles, papers and opinion
As active member of the American Bar Association and the
International Bar Association, Mike’s practice also includes a substantial
amount of advocacy work – particularly in promoting competition law best
practice across Africa.
Representing Conservatorium/Centerbridge in
civil proceedings in South Africa following the Steinhoff share price collapse
(in what was the largest civil claim instituted in South Africa).
Representing Oryx Energies before the
Competition Tribunal in relation to the cylinder deposit investigation.
Obtained merger approval from the Nigeria
Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in relation to
Providence Equity Partner’s proposed acquisition of Marlink.
Representing a fibre company in relation to
several proceedings before the South African competition authorities.
Advising a client in relation to the Judicial
Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in South Africa.
Successfully advised Premier FMCG in obtaining
merger approval in relation to its acquisition of Mr Sweet from Lodestone
brands in South Africa, Eswatini, Namibia and Botswana.
Representing Takata Corporation before the
Competition Tribunal in relation to price fixing and market allocation
Assisted an international non-profit
organisation repatriate funds from following fraudulent wire transfers.
Assisted Eris Properties with project
development advice in Nigeria, Kenya, Malawi and South Africa.
Counselling a construction company in what is
understood to be the largest money laundering scam in South African history.
Assisting an FMCG company in relation to the
grocery Retail Market Inquiry and Code of Conduct.
Assisting a Japanese automotive company in
relation to the Competition Commission’s draft Code of Conduct.
Successfully represented Aristotelian College of
Marketing Management in arbitration proceedings before the Arbitration
Foundation of South Africa against the IMM.
Assisted the Monsanto Company in obtaining
merger clearance in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and COMESA in respect of
Bayer AG’s acquisition of Monsanto.
Assisted Samsung Electronics Company Limited and
Harman International Industries Incorporated in obtaining unconditional merger
approval in South Africa.
Assisted Samsung Electronics Company Ltd in the
disposal of its printer business to Hewlett-Packard (HP) Inc.
Advised Premier FMCG in obtaining merger
approval in Swaziland re its acquisition of Swazi Mahewu.
Assisting a major international airline in
relation to its regulatory and competition affairs across Africa including an
Assisting international clients in relation to
the Competition Commission’s investigation into the LPG sector, automotive
parts sector, milling industry, the oil & gas sector and motion picture
Representing clients in relation to the
Competition Commission’s market inquiry into the Grocery Retail sector.
Currently assisting clients in relation to the
South African competition authorities’ investigation into the automotive parts
Assisted Premier FMCG in a precedent setting
case before the Supreme Court of Appeal in relation to an antitrust class
action for follow-on damages.
Assisted a chemicals company in relation to
competition law matters in Ethiopia.
Assisted a major automotive OEM in relation to
various commercial and regulatory matters in Southern Africa.
Competition law | Antitrust
Mike practices in all areas of competition law enforcement
and merger control across sub-Saharan Africa in several sectors such as FMCG;
Oil and Gas; Telecoms; Automotive; Aviation; Retail; Financial; Pharmaceuticals
and Agri-processing. Specialities include:
cartel conduct, abuse of dominance and general
restrictive practices litigation;
merger control (including cross border complex
market inquiries and exemptions;
follow-on damages; and
Mike is well regarded as a leading competition lawyer in
South Africa and Nigeria.
Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Practice expertise includes complex commercial litigation
(including cross border) and dispute resolution before the superior courts
Mike recently represented a consortium of banks’ claims in
what remains among the largest civil claims ever instituted in South Africa.
Other notable areas of expertise relate to class action
litigation where Mike was part of the legal team which successfully represented
the leniency applicant in the first ever class action brought in South Africa
in relation to follow-on damages for breaches of the Competition Act.
Mike has and continues to assist several local and foreign
firms and individuals in various commercial litigation proceedings before
various courts and arbitrations.
Anti-bribery and Corruption | Asset Recovery
As an active member of the ICC’s Fraudnet, the world’s
leading asset recovery group, Mike is well versed with the anti-corruption laws
in Southern Africa as well as international oinstrumnents such as the UK
Bribery Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Mike has advised international and local firms and
individuals in relation to Judicial Commission of Inquiries; money laundering
and corruption investigations; internal and external investigations; civil and
criminal asset forfeiture proceedings.
Best Lawyers South Africa - Competition Law
Global Legal Expert: Nigeria - Competition law
Nominated for Advisory Excellence: Compliance
Expert for South Africa 2021
Hosted a Fireside chat with the Nigerian Federal
Competition and Consumer Protection Commission on competition enforcement
policy and trends, November 2021.
Panellist at the “Trade Law Remedies in Africa”
International, October 2021.
Panellist on the Webinar titled “Risk and
Investment Management in Africa” hosted by Primerio International and Franklin
société d'avocats, October 2021.
Panellist in the Webinar titled “Zambian
Competition Law Enforcement Trends, Due Process and Restrictive Practices
Update” June 2021.
Presented at the American Bar Association’s
“Unpacking the Competition Act”, August 2021.
Guest speaker at Stellenbosch University’s
Centre of Competition and Policy on Digital Markets in South Africa in June
Participated on a panel discussion, Competition
Law Developments Across Africa, hosted by Primerio, 2020.
Panel member at the Fraudnet Conference,
Participated in a panel discussion on Insolvency
Law at the African INSOL event, Namibia, 2019.
Presented a paper at CRESSE’s 14th International
Conference on Competition and Regulation in Greece, 2019.
Participated at the Fraudnet Conference in
Presented a paper on follow-on damages at the 11th Annual
Competition Conference, South Africa, 2017.
Chaired the International Competition Networks
teleseminar on “Monitoring and assessing the results of advocacy efforts”, 2017.
Presented at the Indian Ocean Pacific Rim and
Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business “Digital Literacy Symposium”
conference on ‘Competition Law and Regional Integration – An African Snapshot’,
Presented on the impact of the Financial
Intelligence Centre Act at the “3rd Annual Money Transfers & Cross
Border Payments Conference” in Johannesburg, 2016.
Presented at the French South African Chamber of
Commerce Conference “The regulatory dynamics of doing business in South
Africa today: costs, consequences and promoting competition – the
impact of criminalisation for cartel conduct”.
Presented at the ASM “Social Media Law
Conference” on the Protection of Personal Information Act and Protection of
State Information Bill, Windhoek, Namibia in 2015
Presented on the Protection to Personal
Information Act to the Ekurhuleni North Chamber of Commerce & Industry
(ENCCI) conference, Johannesburg, 2015
Co-authored “Role of Economic Recovery in
Stimulating Economic Recovery” presented by Business at OECD at the OECD
Competition Week, December 2020.
Co-authored “COVID-19 Price Gouging Cases in
South Africa: Short-term Market Dynamics with Long-term Implications for
Excessive Pricing Cases”, published in the Journal of European Competition Law
& Practice (COVID-19 Price Gouging Cases in South Africa: Short-term Market
Dynamics with Long-term Implications for Excessive Pricing Cases | Journal of
European Competition Law & Practice | Oxford Academic (oup.com)).
Thompson Reuters: Financial Crimes in
South Africa, 2019-2021.
Thompson Reuters: Business crime and
investigations in South Africa, 2019-2021.
Thompson Reuters: Cartel leniency in
South Africa: Overview, 2019-2021.
South African Chapter for the American Bar
Association’s Antitrust law Developments, (2020).
Global Competition Review: The African
and Middle Eastern Antitrust Review, 2016.
Michael-James also contributes to the Concurrence’s
Contributor to the American Bar
Associations What in the World Did I Miss?- Africa (2020).
Contributor to JUTA’S “Class Action Litigation
in South Africa”, 2017.
Co-authored the Extraterritorial Application of
Asset Forfeiture Proceedings in South Africa, Fraudnet Annual Report, 2021.
Co-authored, “Competition Law Provisions in
Trade Agreements”, presented by Business at OECD at the OECD Competition Week,
Paris, December 2019.
Co-authored, “South African Competition Law -The
role of non-competition factors in enforcing unilateral conduct: Forging ahead
or falling behind?”, presented at the CRESSE 14th International
Conference on Competition and Regulation, Greece, 2019.
Co-authored the paper titled “Collective Redress
outside the United States for Losses Caused by Antitrust Infringements”,
presented at the American Bar Association Spring Meeting, 2018.
Dichotomy Of Powers But Confluence In Policy Interplay
Between Intellectual Property And Competition Law published by the South
African Institute of Intellectual Property Law, 2018.
Follow On Damages for Anti-competitive Conduct:
A Need for Legislative Intervention? presented at the 11th Annual
Competition Law, Economics and Policy Conference held in Johannesburg, 2017.
Developments in South African Merger Control
– Ministerial Interventionism and the Impact on Timing & Certainty, 2016.
South Africa Excessive Pricing: An Evaluation
of the Sasol Chemical Industries Case – A New Dawn or the Continuation of the
Status Quo?, 2015.
Predatory Pricing and the South African
Competition Act: A False Positive?, 2015.
Articles and Blog
Authored the article “COMESA Competition
Commission Publishes Draft Guidelines For Public Comment”, for the ABA
Antirust Law Section: International Committee’s International Bulletin,
Contributions to Concurrences e-Competition
Regular contributor to Africanantitrust a
leading resource for competition law developments across Africa.
Member of the American Bar Association:
Member of the International Bar Association:
Regional Forum Committee
A member of the ICN Advocacy Strategy Project on
"Planning an effective advocacy strategy” (2016-2018) as well as
part of the drafting team for the ICN’s Advocacy Working Group’s ‘Competition
Benefits Project’ (2015-2016).
A member of the American Bar Association team
for Africa on the Section of Antitrust Law: “Procedural Transparency Task
LLM: Economics in Competition Law: Kings
College, London (2020)
LLB: University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Erasmus exchange to the University of Antwerp,
B.Com: University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Current Position: Director at Primerio Law Inc.
Previous Position: Director at Nortons Inc.
Sectors and Services
Fast Moving Consumer Goods
Mining & Resources
Oil & Gas