Lara transferred to the Bar in 2012. Before that, she qualified as a solicitor in 2007. She worked in the dispute resolution departments of a top tier US law firm (in London) and a leading offshore firm (in the Cayman Islands).
Lara has a thriving commercial chancery practice with experience in all of Chambers’ key specialisms. She appears regularly in the High Court, County Courts and in the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) both in her own right and led by more senior barristers, including Romie Tager QC and Ian Clarke QC.
Lara has significant experience in international commercial arbitration, having represented clients in matters heard under ICC, LCIA, SIAC, SCC and UNCITRAL rules, as well as in ad hoc arbitrations.
Recent instructions include acting for one of the respondents to a multi-party LCIA arbitration in relation to a long-running dispute allegedly worth over £20m.
Lara also accepts appointments as arbitrator. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb) and is listed as an arbitrator on the panel of the Asian International Arbitration Centre (formerly the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration).
Lara is instructed by and against banks, institutional lenders and finance companies to advise and draft pleadings in disputes concerning mortgages and charges, as well as personal and company guarantees. Current instructions include acting for a lender in relation to a claim under a personal guarantee (involving issues of alleged undue influence by a third party) and representing a finance company in proceedings concerning alleged mis-selling of financial products.
In early 2017, Lara was seconded to the enforcement division of the Financial Conduct Authority, where she assisted with cases and investigations involving financial misconduct and market abuse.
Lara’s experience as a solicitor included:
- Acting for Maybourne Finance Limited in its successful appeal of a decision concerning the correct interpretation of a clause within a loan agreement which sought to restrict transfer and whether the same would fetter the National Asset Management Agency: McKillen v Maybourne Finance Ltd  EWCA Civ 864;
- Acting for subsidiaries of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LBHI) in Commercial Court proceedings concerning the construction of a letter of credit and the 1992 ISDA Master Agreement respectively: Lehman Brothers Commodity Services v Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (formerly Calyon)  EWHC 1390 (Comm) and Lehman Brothers Special Financing (LBSF) v Carlton Communications  EWCA Civ 419;
- Representing a number of firms and individuals in investigations by the Office of Fair Trading and the Financial Services Authority (as it then was), including representing an individual in a two-day mediation involving the FSA and representing an individual in his successful appeal against the OFT’s decision to withdraw his consumer credit licence.
Lara advises and acts in all aspects of commercial litigation including disputes concerning the construction and effect of contractual terms, the sale of goods and supply of services.
Recent work has included acting for a defendant company in a claim concerning the enforceability of a limitation of liability clause in its standard terms and conditions; acting for a company suing a former employee for breach of restrictive covenants in the employment contract; and acting for the defendant in a claim relating to alleged faulty installation of factory machinery.
Lara’s experience as a solicitor included:
- Representing Lehman Brothers Commodity Services (LBCS) in a High Court (Commercial Court) claim for EUR 11 million relating to the construction of an English law letter of credit and a New York law ISDA Master Agreement, involving complicated cross-border issues: Lehman Brothers Commodity Services v Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (formerly Calyon)  EWHC 1390 (Comm).
- VTB v Nutritek  EWHC 3107 (Ch): representing Nutritek in a major 6 day jurisdiction challenge, requiring extensive Russian law expert evidence, in relation to a US$250m civil fraud and deceit claim. The case produced a landmark ruling on the circumstances in which the corporate veil may be pierced, as well as on issues concerning the applicable law, forum non conveniens and loss in tort claims. Jurisdiction was successfully resisted and the decision was upheld on appeal to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
- Representing Porton Capital Inc. in its claim against 3M UK Holdings Limited in relation to obligations in a share sale agreement to develop certain technology after the sale.
Company & Partnership
Lara has acted for and advised clients in relation to a wide range of company and partnership matters, including shareholder disputes, unfair prejudice petitions, matters involving breaches of directors’ duties and disputes concerning partnerships and quasi-partnerships.
Recent instructions include:
- A dispute between the principal directors and shareholders of a substantial world-wide business offering training in entrepreneurship and concerning the creation of share classes and transfer of shares, serious allegations of misconduct and, ultimately, a battle for control of the company and its business (led by Ian Clarke QC).
- Acting for a shareholder in High Court committal proceedings against another shareholder arising from a claim concerning ownership of the company (led by Romie Tager QC)
- Advising directors of a company in relation to potential breaches of fiduciary duty by a fellow director.
Notable cases include:
- Appearing for the successful defendant director in Madoff Securities International Limited (In Liquidation) v Raven and Ors  EWHC 3147 (Led by Ian Clarke QC), a five-week Commercial Court trial, concerning claims alleging fraudulent breaches of fiduciary duty brought by the liquidators of the Madoff UK corporate entity.
- (As a solicitor) Representing Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay and their interests in a high profile shareholders’ dispute concerning Coroin Limited, the company which owned Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Berkeley hotels: Re Coroin Limited  EWHC 2343 (Ch); McKillen v Misland  EWHC 521 (Ch); Re Coroin Limited  EWHC 3466 (Ch); McKillen v Misland (Cyprus) Invstments Ltd  EWHC 505 (Ch).
- (As a Cayman Islands attorney) Representing the plaintiffs in an eight-week trial in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands concerning an alleged oral shareholder agreement and the exclusion of minority shareholders from meetings of a company: Tempo v Fortuna  2 CILR 191
Lara’s practice includes acting and advising in relation to corporate and personal insolvency matters of all sizes, including: administration applications; applications for validation orders; challenges to officeholders’ remuneration and expenses; appeals of liquidators’ rejections of proofs of debt; contested winding up petitions and bankruptcy petitions; applications to set aside statutory demands and injunctions to retrain the presentation of winding up petitions. She appears for both debtors and creditors.
Current and recent instructions include:
- Acting for trustees in bankruptcy in an application pursuant to s339 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (transactions at an undervalue);
- Representing a large national company seeking an urgent High Court injunction to prevent the advertisement of a winding up petition, where the company’s reputation would have been damaged irreparably by such advertisement;
- Acting for creditors in several contested bankruptcy petitions in which the debt has been substantial (in each case, between £1m-£4m);
- Acting for directors of an insolvent company in a successful application for validation orders to allow a company to carry on trading (by paying employee salaries and suppliers) while a winding up petition was pending.
As a solicitor, Lara advised and acted for a number of financial institutions in relation to matters arising from high-profile insolvencies, including: representing Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LBHI) and various of its subsidiaries in UK proceedings related to their US Chapter 11 bankruptcies; acting for the Icelandic bank, Kaupthing, in relation to various litigation and recovery proceedings in the UK; advising and acting for creditors of Madoff “feeder funds”. She represented Lehman Brothers Special Financing in one of the four conjoined appeals regarding (among other things) whether the operation of s2(a)(iii) of the ISDA 1992 Master Agreement in an insolvency context engaged the anti-deprivation principle or infringed the pari passu principle: Lomas v JFB Firth Rixson  EWCA Civ 419.
Landlord & Tenant
Lara frequently advises and represents both landlords and tenants in opposed and unopposed lease renewal claims under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. She also acts in disputes concerning forfeiture, service charges, trespass, nuisance, breach of covenant, dilapidations and rent reviews.
Current and recent work includes:
- Acting for a tenant of commercial premises in a trial concerning whether, on its true construction, a contractual licence was in fact a commercial lease. Judgment was given for the tenant;
- Acting for a commercial landlord in relation to a £2 million dilapidations claim. The case settled on beneficial terms after a one-day mediation (at which Lara represented the landlord);
- Lara is currently instructed on several cases involving the landlord’s opposition to the grant of a new lease under grounds 30(1)(f) and (g) of the 1954 Act;
- Representing a commercial landlord in proceedings in which over £200k of unpaid rent is claimed. The case raises issues of estoppel.
Lara appears regularly in the courts and the First-tier tribunal in relation to residential landlord and tenant disputes, including disrepair claims, service charge disputes, claims involving the interpretation and rectification of leases and possession claims.
Recent instructions include acting for a long leaseholder in a claim concerning the true construction of a parcels clause of a lease and acting for a landlord claiming forfeiture of the long leases of three high value London residential properties.
Lara frequently appears in the County Court, High Court and First Tier Tribunal in disputes involving: adverse possession, trespass, co-ownership, boundaries, easements, rectification of the register of title.
Current and recent instructions include:
- Acting for the vendor in High Court proceedings concerning the breach of an overage agreement;
- Acting for the purchaser in High Court proceedings involving the breach of an option agreement to purchase land;
- Defending a commercial developer in proceedings seeking an injunction to tear down a building built in breach of a restrictive covenant;
- Acting for a party to a boundary dispute concerning agricultural land;
- Appearing as sole counsel (unled) in the four-day trial of an adverse possession claim brought under the old regime (where the right was acquired before 2003) before the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chambers).
- Appearing as sole counsel (unled) in a one-week trial concerning the beneficial ownership of residential property;
- Acting for a seller claiming rectification of a contract for sale of land.
As an advocate:
Ernst & Young v The Immigration Department of the Cayman Islands (interlocutory injunction granted in February 2015) – representing Ernst & Young and other corporate plaintiffs in an interlocutory application in the context of judicial review proceedings for prohibitory non-disclosure injunctions against unknown defendants and “the world” (i.e., anyone with notice of the injunction) in respect of a spreadsheet containing sensitive confidential commercial information (led by Mac Imrie).
In the matter of the Shiu Pak Nin Discretionary Trust (2014) 1 CILR 173 – representing the trustee (an HSBC entity) in a complex two-day application by a trustee of a discretionary trust for directions in respect of the interpretation of a trust deed and Benjamin orders (led by Colin McKie QC)
Madoff Securities International Limited (In Liquidation) v Raven and Ors  EWHC 3147 (Popplewell J) – in a five week trial, together with Ian Clarke (leading), successfully represented one of the defendant directors against claims alleging fraudulent breaches of fiduciary duty brought in the Commercial Court by the liquidators of the Madoff UK corporate entity. This case was listed as one of the Lawyer’s top ten cases of 2013.
As an instructing solicitor/Cayman Islands attorney:
Tempo v Fortuna (judgment given in March 2015) – representing the plaintiffs in a shareholder dispute in respect of a very substantial Cayman Islands company in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands.
In the matter of Coroin Limited  EWHC 2343 (Ch) – successfully represented Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay and their interests in a very high profile 30 day expedited trial concerning a dispute over the ownership of Coroin Limited, which owned Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Berkeley hotels.
VTB v Nutritek  EWHC 3107 (Ch) – represented Nutritek in a major 6 day jurisdiction challenge, requiring extensive Russian law expert evidence, in relation to a US$250m civil fraud and deceit claim. The case produced a landmark ruling on the circumstances in which the corporate veil may be pierced, as well as on issues concerning the applicable law, forum non conveniens and loss in tort claims. Jurisdiction was successfully resisted and the decision was upheld on appeal to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
Lehman Brothers Special Financing (LBSF) v Carlton Communications  EWCA Civ 419 – Acted for LBSF in the High Court and the Court of Appeal in a claim relating to the construction of the ISDA Master Agreement, including whether reliance on s2(a)(iii) against an insolvent swap counterparty was contrary to English insolvency law. The appeal was heard together with three other appeals on a similar point of law and attracted considerable attention from the legal and financial press, due to its impact on global derivatives trading.
Lehman Brothers Commodity Services (LBCS) v Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (formerly Calyon)  EWHC 1390 (Comm) – represented LBCS in a Commercial Court claim for €11 milllion relating to the construction of an English law letter of credit and a New York law ISDA Master Agreement, involving complicated cross-border issues.