Lara Kuehl

Call: 2012

Lara has a thriving commercial chancery practice with experience in all of Chambers’ key specialisms, particularly in property (including construction) and insolvency litigation. She appears regularly in the High Court, County Courts and in the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) and in international commercial arbitrations.

Lara also accepts instructions to act as an arbitrator.  She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb) and is a panellist arbitrator for the Asian International Arbitration Centre.

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).

She accepts instructions on a direct access basis in appropriate circumstances.

 

  • Arbitration

    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.

    Example cases include:

    • Represented the Second Claimant in High Court proceedings challenging an arbitration award under section 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (in relation to the substantive jurisdiction of the tribunal) – NWA v NVF [2021] EWHC 2666 (Comm)
    • Acting for one of the respondents to a multi-party LCIA arbitration in relation to a long-running dispute allegedly worth over £20m
    • Arbitration in Singapore (SIAC) relating to a dispute between a global manufacturing conglomerate and a Chinese company regarding breach of a confidentiality agreement relating to certain production and development technology.
    • Representing a major shipbuilding company in a LMAA arbitration governed by English law with the arbitration seated in London regarding consequential loss issues.
    • Representing an international financial institution in an UNCITRAL arbitration governed by Czech law with a London arbitration seat relating to a shareholders’ dispute.

     

    Lara also accepts instructions to act as an arbitrator.  She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb) and is a panellist arbitrator for the Asian International Arbitration Centre.

  • 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 and disputes concerning partnerships and quasi-partnerships.  She has a particular interest in claims concerning breaches of directors’ duties and matters which involve insolvency issues.

    Recent instructions include:

    • Representing a claimant in an unusual application to rectify the register of members under section 125 of the Companies Act 2006
    • Advising an insolvency-holder in relation to payment of an unlawful dividend by directors at a time when the company may have been insolvent
    • Advising a defendant director in relation to proceedings brought under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986
    • Acting for a director/shareholder 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
    • Neil v Henderson – Acting for the claimant in successful High Court committal proceedings against another shareholder arising from a claim concerning ownership of the company

    Notable cases include:

    •  Appearing for a successful defendant director in Madoff Securities International Limited (In Liquidation) v Raven and Ors [2013] EWHC 3147 (Comm) (Led by Ian Clarke QC), a 5-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 [2012] EWHC 2343 (Ch); McKillen v Misland [2012] EWHC 521 (Ch); Re Coroin Limited [2011] EWHC 3466 (Ch); McKillen v Misland (Cyprus) Invstments Ltd [2012] EWHC 505 (Ch).
    • (As a Cayman Islands attorney) Representing the plaintiffs in an 8-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 [2014] 2 CILR 191
  • Construction

    Lara is frequently instructed to represent and advise clients in a variety of construction matters.  She is familiar with and has acted in and advised on matters involving all the standard forms of contract, including JCT, NEC, FIDIC and FMB, as well as many ad hoc contracts.  Lara has particular expertise in disputes involving detailed, technical expert evidence in construction-related matters.

    Recent experience as sole counsel includes:

    • Representing the successful claimant in Maypole Dock Ltd v Catalyst Housing Ltd [2021] EWHC 1742 (TCC), [2021] B.L.R. 534 in which the High Court granted an urgent interim injunction to restrain an expert appointed by the defendant from making a determination in relation to the matters raised in the claim.
    • Acting for the seller of a substantial plot of land against a developer in a High Court (TCC) claim in relation to breaches of an obligation in an overage agreement to act as a reasonable and prudent developer.
    • Acting for a developer to defend several claims brought by purchasers of very high value apartments in relation to alleged construction defects.
    • Advising a landlord regarding a claim by residential long leaseholders for noise nuisance caused by an alleged failure to install adequate soundproofing during the construction of commercial premises within the same building.
    • Representing a defendant to a claim relating to a party wall award in which it is alleged that the party wall surveyor exceeded his statutory jurisdiction.

     

    Lara is a member of TECBAR, the specialist bar association for barristers who practise in the Technology and Construction Court.

  • Insolvency

    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:

    • Randhawa v Bridgeco Ltd [2019] EWHC 1811 (Ch) – Appearing for the successful creditor in opposition to a one-day hearing of an application by a debtor to set aside a statutory demand for £4.5 million.
    • Representing trustees in bankruptcy in an application pursuant to s339 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (transactions at an undervalue)
    • Several matters in which Lara successfully obtained urgent injunctions from the High Court to prevent the advertisement of a winding up petition
    • 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 [2012] EWCA Civ 419.

     

  • Landlord & Tenant

    Lara has considerable experience of representing both landlords and tenants across a range of residential and commercial disputes.  She regularly advises and acts in opposed and unopposed lease renewal claims under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 and in matters concerning forfeiture, service charges, breaches/enforceability of leasehold covenants, dilapidations and rent reviews.

    Given her experience in insolvency matters, Lara is often instructed by landlords, tenants and insolvency office-holders in relation to the consequences of landlord/tenant insolvency.

    Current and recent work includes:

    • Appearing as sole counsel in Samantha Aspey v Bartley Way Limited CHI/24UG/LAM/2020/0008 (11 & 19 May 2021), a 2-day trial in the First Tier Tribunal (Residential Property) in which Lara acted for the leaseholders of 57 flats in a successful application for the appointment of a manager in respect of block of flats on the basis of a number of very serious breaches of covenant by the landlord.
    • 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.

     

  • Real Property

    Lara accepts instructions in relation to all real property matters, including co-ownership disputes, applications under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996, claims concerning proprietary estoppel, easements, nuisance, trespass, disputed boundaries and party wall litigation.  Lara has particular expertise in relation to adverse possession matters.

    She is also often instructed by and against institutional lenders and finance companies in relation to disputes concerning mortgages and charges over real property.

    Recent cases include:

    • Together Commercial Finance v Rhodes (unrep.) Acted for the successful defendants in a 3-day trial in January 2021 concerning whether a mortgagee had become entitled to enforce a charge over commercial property
    • Acting for the claimants in a High Court claim for specific performance of an option agreement to purchase land, or damages in lieu
    • Representing the defendant in the 4-day trial of a claim for a declaration as to the beneficial ownership of property registered in joint names
    • Defending a commercial developer in proceedings seeking an injunction to tear down a building built in breach of a restrictive covenant
    • Appearing as sole counsel in the 4-day trial of an adverse possession claim before the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)

     

    Lara is a member of the Chancery Bar Association and the Property Bar Association.

  • Notable Cases

    NWA v NVF [2021] EWHC 2666 (Comm) – appeared for the Second Claimant in this significant case regarding whether the failure of a party to comply with a contractual term requiring mediation before arbitration affected the jurisdiction of an arbitral tribunal in the context of an international commercial arbitration.

    Maypole Dock Ltd v Catalyst Housing Ltd [2021] EWHC 1742 (TCC), [2021] B.L.R. 534 – represented Maypole Dock Ltd before the Technology and Construction Court in its successful application for an urgent injunction to restrain an expert determination.

    Randhawa v Bridgeco Ltd [2019] EWHC 1811 (Ch) – appeared for the creditor in opposition to an application by a debtor to set aside a statutory demand for £4.5 million

    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 [2013] EWHC 3147 (Comm) (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:

    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 [2012] 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 [2011] 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 [2012] 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) [2011] 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.

     

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