Practice

Lara joined Chambers in October 2016 following the completion of her pupillage. As a pupil, Lara gained experience across a broad spectrum of commercial chancery work, both inside and outside the jurisdiction.

Lara is building a busy and successful practice across all areas of Chambers’ work. She has been instructed as sole counsel and as part of a team being led by more senior barristers, both in and out of Chambers.

Prior to pupillage, Lara volunteered pro bono at Willesden County Court, advising and appearing for parties on the repossessions list. As a tenant she has volunteered pro bono in the Company Insolvency Scheme in the Companies Court.

Practice areas

Commercial dispute resolution

Lara has experience in a wide range of commercial litigation matters, both in the Commercial Court and the Chancery Division. Her experience includes:

  • Drafting the Defence to a disputed debt claim in relation to work undertaken for a university provider.
  • As a pupil, assisting Andrew de Mestre in defending a claim in the Commercial Court for £1.3m arising from the termination of a profit share agreement.
  • As a pupil, Tom Gentleman in a successful application in the Commercial Court for summary judgment on the basis that the claim had already been settled under a comprehensive Settlement Agreement.
  • Assisting (during pupillage) Andrew de Mestre in defending a claim brought in the Commercial Court for breach of a shared network agreement.
Chancery: commercial

Much of Lara’s work engages commercial chancery elements. She is currently instructed on a major group litigation claim in the Chancery Division involving shareholders suing directors of a bank in the context of a merger. As a pupil she also assisted in a number of cases in the Chancery Division, including an interpleader claim arising out of an escrow deed and preparation for a trial arising from a petition for unfair prejudice.

During pupillage Lara also gained a great deal of experience in claims concerning alleged breach of fiduciary duty. She assisted Andrew de Mestre and Gregory Denton-Cox in a claim for dishonest assistance of a breach of a director’s fiduciary duties and negligence involving a major international securities broker; she also assisted Andrew de Mestre in advice concerning fiduciary and other duties of a discretionary investment manager.

Banking & finance

During pupillage, Lara successfully assisted in a number of cases concerning banks and financial institutions. Her experience includes:

  • Assisting (as a pupil) Gregory Denton-Cox in a claim against an investment bank’s alleged abuse of position in entering a series of derivative trades on behalf of a client.
  • Assisting (as a pupil) Gregory Denton-Cox and Andrew de Mestre in pursuing a claim by a company against a securities broker for negligence and dishonest assistance of a breach of a company director’s duty in relation to the making of substantial payments on behalf of a client.
  • Assisting (as a pupil) Gregory Denton-Cox in defending a claim brought by liquidators against the parent company of a failed investment company for alleged breach of duty in over-use of repo financing.
  • Assisting (as a pupil) Andrew de Mestre in defending a claim concerning the correct interpretation of a profit share agreement relating to the trading of CFDs.
Company law

Lara is interested in all areas of company law. She has a particularly strong background in dealing with shareholder disputes:

  • Lara is currently instructed on a major claim brought by shareholders against directors following a bank merger.
  • Both as a pupil and as a tenant, Lara has had experience drafting a number of s. 994 petitions and advising in relation to those petitions. As a pupil she also assisted Orlando Fraser QC and Paul Greenwood in preparing for a s. 994 trial.
  • As Tom Gentleman’s pupil, Lara also assisted in dealing with a multi-jurisdictional shareholder dispute in a BVI company, concerning issues relating to requisition and court-directed AGMs. In the course of this work Lara gained particular experience and knowledge of securities settlement systems.

During pupillage, Lara also gained wide-ranging experience in cases involving breach of directors’ duties, both for the company and for directors, including:

  • Assisting Gregory Denton-Cox in several claims concerning directors’ rights to an indemnity from the company;
  • Assisting Sharif Shivji in advising as to the underlying claims giving rise to a right under the DIFC Companies Law;
  • Assisting Gregory Denton-Cox and Andrew de Mestre in a claim for dishonest assistance of a breach of a director’s fiduciary duties.
Insolvency & restructuring

Lara has a strong interest in insolvency work and was a contributor to Lexis Nexis’s Insolvency Rules 2016 forms, replacing the prescribed forms under the 1986 rules.

She regularly deals with proceedings under the Insolvency Act 1986, in the context of both company and personal insolvency. Her experience includes:

  • Advising on, preparing and defending liquidators’ claims under the avoidance provisions of the Insolvency Act 1986.
  • Appearing alongside Nicholas Cox on behalf of Ofgem in the case of Gas and Electricity Markets Authority v GB Energy Supply Limited [2016] EWHC 3341 (Ch), successfully obtaining a declaration of insolvency for a distressed energy supply company.
  • Acting (instructed by the Bar Pro Bono Unit) for a debtor in his bankruptcy petition, addressing issues relating to the debtor’s centre of main interests (led by Sharif Shivji).
  • Assisting (as a pupil) Tom Gentleman in advice concerning a petition for unfair prejudice by a director potentially excluded from management by phoenix company provisions.
  • Assisting (as a pupil) Gregory Denton-Cox in defending a major claim brought by liquidators of a Guernsey company against its former directors and parent companies, raising, in particular, questions of where an indemnity by a company ranks in its insolvency.
Financial services

Lara has strong financial regulation experience, having undertaken a secondment to the Financial Conduct Authority in the context of regulating peer-to-peer lending firms. Her experience of financial regulation work includes:

  • Advising in relation to the scope of activities caught by the Regulated Activities Order, including as to whether firms’ activities fall to be regulated as collective investment schemes.
  • Advising as to whether firms’ activities fall to be regulated under the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive.
  • Assisting (as a pupil) Tom Gentleman in advice in relation to claims under the Financial Services Act and FCA Handbook.
  • Assisting (as a pupil) Sharif Shivji in DIFC proceedings arising out of a bank’s breach of statutory duty in the provision of investment advice and mis-selling of investment products.
  • Assisting (as a pupil) Andrew de Mestre in advising an investment company as to the standard of care to be applied in managing retail clients’ investment portfolios by discretionary investment managers.
Trusts

Lara has a keen interest in all work relating to trusts and trust principles. Her experience includes:

  • Assisting (as a pupil) Robert Miles QC and Gregory Denton-Cox in advising a trustee as to its duties under the trust deed to obtain consent for its actions from its beneficiaries.
  • Assisting John Brisby QC and Joe Wigley (as a pupil) in a trial on s. 188 of the Law of Property Act 1925, resisting an application to sever joint ownership of chattels.
  • Assisting (as a pupil) Gregory Denton-Cox and Tom Gentleman in claims and advice relating to the holding of shares through a securities settlement system.
  • Assisting (as a pupil) Andrew de Mestre in an interpleader claim concerning the correct interpretation of an escrow and trust deed, including an application for the trustee’s costs in the proceedings.
Offshore litigation

Lara has experience of claims in a range of jurisdictions.

  • Advising on and drafting a claim for unfair prejudice in Singapore.
  • Assisting (during pupillage) Sharif Shivji in drafting a claim for mis-selling in Dubai.
  • Assisting (as a pupil) Tom Gentleman in dealing with a shareholder dispute in relation to a Bermuda company, shares in which were publically traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
  • Assisting (as a pupil) Tom Gentleman in an application to set aside an ex-parte injunction in the BVI.
  • Assisting (as a pupil) Gregory Denton-Cox in defending a claim for breach of directors’ duties in Guernsey.
  • Assisting (during pupillage) Gregory Denton-Cox in an appeal from Guernsey concerning the correct construction of BVI law.
  • Assisting (during pupillage) Andrew De Mestre in advising on discretionary investment managers’ standard of care in Jersey.
  • Assisting (during pupillage) Sharif Shivji in advising lawyers in Dubai on the correct construction of a DFIC Companies Law provision.

Additional info

Education and awards

BA (Hons) Historical Tripos – Girton College, University of Cambridge
Graduate Diploma in Law (Distinction) – City Law School
Bar Professional Training Course (Outstanding in Civil Litigation and Cross Examination) – City Law School
2013-2014 Astbury Scholarship – Middle Temple
2nd prize in the 2012 Times Law Awards
3rd prize in the 2013 Times Law Awards

 

Career & appointments

Member of the Chancery Bar Association

Publications

‘Commercial Law and Financial Regulation’, United Kingdom Supreme Court Yearbook vol. 7 (2016) (co-authored with Jonathan Crow QC and Emma Horner)
“Investigations by BIS”, Tolley’s Company Law Service (Co-contributor with Donald Lilly)
Contributor to Lexis Nexis Insolvency Rules 2016 forms