Darren Grondal Consultant

Meet Darren

Darren specialises in competition, third party access regulation, economic regulation, and arrangements for the development and use of infrastructure.

With over 30 years’ experience as a lawyer and in related commercial roles, he is recognised for his expertise and experience across a wide range of industries. This includes the rail, gas, electricity, LNG, port, transport, mining, water, primary and FMCG sectors. He has worked across Australia and Asian jurisdictions, which has given him deep industry know-how, and is known for being strategic and pragmatic.

Darren’s work in competition law has covered all forms of anti-competitive conduct, including cartels, M&A, misuse of market power and exclusive dealing, as well as authorisation, clearance and notification processes. His experience in third party access and economic regulation is extensive, covering Federal and State based regimes as well as prescriptive industry specific regimes.

In addition, Darren has advised on major projects, transactions and contracts. He has been involved in market reform and privatisation processes and has advised extensively on utility regulation and commercial contracting arrangements for the use of rail, gas, electricity, water and port infrastructure.

Darren has been consistently recognised by independent ranking directories as a leading lawyer in competition, energy and natural resources law. He has lectured at Curtin University in Competition Law and Policy, served on the inaugural Curtin Law School Advisory Board and has been a Deputy Chair of the Law Council of Australia’s Competition and Consumer Law Committee.

Experience

General

Co-operative Bulk Handling

Acting in seeking and negotiating a long term rail access contract under the Western Australian Rail Access Regime, including complex pricing and capacity issues, regulatory processes with the Economic Regulation Authority, and Supreme Court litigation.

Infrastructure Authority and Global Commodity Producer

Acting as an independent expert in relation to a substantial contractual issue about the interpretation and application of wide ranging “most favoured customer” provisions.

Major commodity producer

Advising on competition law issues associated with the international joint marketing of substantial amounts of a major commodity into various Asian jurisdictions, including Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, India and China.

Western Australian retail gas market operator (REMCo)

Acting in relation to the transfer of its ACCC authorisation to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

EnerNOC

Acting in a Supreme Court challenge to the validity of amendments to the Western Australian Wholesale Electricity Market Rules in relation to the participation of demand side management in the wholesale electricity market’s “reserve capacity mechanism”.

Energy supplier

Advising on complex competition law issues associated with a potential long term and substantial “take or pay” supply contract.

Utility company

Acting in relation to pipeline capacity trading reform amendments made to the National Gas Law and National Gas Rules.

Port user

Advising on a proposed third party access regime for the Port of Fremantle by reference to the regimes that apply to other Australian ports.

Power and Water Corporation

Acting in opposing an application made to the ACCC seeking the authorisation of joint marketing by two gas producers.

Major rail user

Preparing extensive submissions to the Western Australian Government in response to its review of the Western Australian Rail Access Regime.

Project Sponsor

Drafting a complex foundation customer and funding contract to facilitate participation in a substantial inland water desalination plant.

Aurizon

Acting on a joint takeover with Baosteel of Aquila Resources, focussing on the key infrastructure development principles agreement intended to underpin the development of a multi-billion dollar heavy haul railway and port, including negotiations in China.

Recognition

“An excellent strategic competition lawyer with a keen grasp of regulatory frameworks” and "a good eye for the risks in any transaction"
Client feedback, Chambers Asia-Pacific
Listed as a leading lawyer in energy law
Best Lawyers, since 2014
Listed as a leading lawyer in natural resources law
Best Lawyers, since 2014
Listed as a leading lawyer in competition law
Best Lawyers, since 2009
Ranked as a leading lawyer in competition/anti-trust law
Chambers Global, 2011
Ranked as a leading lawyer in competition/anti-trust law
Chambers Asia Pacific, 2012 – 2017

Career & qualifications

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Commerce, Curtin University
  • Bachelor of Laws (Merit Honours), Murdoch University

Memberships

  • Law Society of Western Australia
  • Law Society of South Australia

International experience

  • Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Indonesia and China

News

Publications

  • “Competition Law – the next big things – where are we going?” – chaired and then presented on the new “Concerted Practices Law” at a seminar held by the Law Society of Western Australia on November 2017
  • “Developments in Competition Law (2017)” – advanced seminars given to in-house legal teams of corporate clients

  • “Competition Law and Policy Unit (LAWS3004)” (2015), Curtin University Law School – developed the unit structure and gave lectures in “Introduction to Competition Law and Policy”, “Cartel Conduct and Anticompetitive information disclosure”, “Exclusionary Provisions and Anti-competitive arrangements”, “Mergers and Acquisitions”, and “Access to Services”

  • "Drafting contracts in line with the Unfair Contract Terms Regime", presented at the "Australian Consumer Law in Practice: Reflections and Implications" seminar held by the Law Society of Western Australia on March 2012

  • "Recent Developments in Energy Infrastructure Access – the New National Gas Law" (co-authored with Jane Ellis), paper presented to the AMPLA Annual Conference in 2008 and published in the AMPLA Yearbook 2008

  • "New Clothes for an Old Emperor? The New Clearance and Authorisation Regime for Mergers", paper presented to a Law Society of Western Australia and Law Council of Australia (Business Law Section) joint seminar in Perth on September 2007