Government lawyer of the year

Glenn Owbridge

AGS's Glenn Owbridge was awarded the title of Government Lawyer of the Year in the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association (ACLA) Australian In-house Lawyers Awards 2011.

Glenn was nominated for his work on high-profile litigation matters, as well as his coaching, mentoring and training of practitioners within AGS and in-house lawyers in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and other government clients, and his dedication to practising law, on behalf of government departments, in the public interest.

Glenn has been with AGS for 30 years, and has practised principally in competition and consumer law for more than 15 years. As Deputy General Counsel Competition and Consumer Law, he provides the professional leadership of our national competition and consumer law team. During the year we represented the ACCC in complex competition law litigation involving conduct both in Australia and overseas. The team's most significant matter is the ongoing proceedings arising from price-fixing arrangements in air cargo, which have resulted in civil penalties exceeding $58m to date.

The competition and consumer law team, which includes David Ablett, Matthew Blunn, Katrina Close, Matthew Garey, Lici Inge and Jody Marshall, brought successful results for the ACCC during the year in cases involving some of the ACCC's highest priority areas of cartels, the telecommunications industry, and protecting vulnerable consumers. These included:

  • ACCC v Apple – in which penalties of $2.25m were imposed for the marketing of one of the new models of iPad as the 'iPad with WiFi + 4G' when in fact it could not connect to a 4G network in Australia
  • ACCC v E Direct – in which penalties of $2.5m were imposed for the telemarketing of mobile phone contracts targeting Indigenous communities in areas with no mobile phone coverage
  • ACCC v TPG Internet – in which penalties of $2m were imposed for false and misleading advertising and failing to prominently specify the minimum charge in relation to a national advertising campaign
  • ACCC v Metricon Homes Qld – in which penalties of $800,000 were imposed for misleading promotion of house and land packages
  • ACCC v Harvey Norman – in which penalties of $1.25m were imposed for misleading catalogues with fine print disclaimers, advertising 3D televisions were widely available for sale when they were not
  • ACCC v Optus – in which penalties of $3.61m were imposed for misleading advertising by Optus of its 'Think Bigger' and 'Supersonic' broadband internet plans.

This is an extract from the 2011–12 AGS annual report