Lara has a commercial Chancery practice, which encompasses all aspects of commercial litigation and arbitration, company law, insolvency, civil fraud and real property matters.
She is recommended as a leading junior in the current editions of both the Legal 500 UK Bar (Commercial Litigation and Property Litigation) and Chambers and Partners UK Bar (Real Estate Litigation). She is described as “a bright and hardworking junior with a good grasp of company law and a zest for commercial litigation. Her pleadings are excellent and she is an assured performer in court”, “incredibly diligent”, “determined, tenacious and gets to the heart of an issue with practical solutions” and “an intelligent tactician”. Previous editions have said that she “covers every angle and has brilliant drafting abilities”.
Lara has appeared in Court litigation and arbitrations in England and internationally in disputes relating to a range of industry sectors, frequently with a technological focus. Lara also has considerable experience of claims relating to the conduct of fiduciaries such as directors and trustees and shareholder/partnership disputes. Her clients include corporations, insolvency office holders, litigation funders, company directors, private individuals and the UK Government.
Lara is on the Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown and represents the Government in commercial, company and insolvency matters.
Before coming to the Bar, Lara was previously a solicitor in the London commercial disputes team of Weil, Gotshal & Manges (a US firm) and a Cayman Islands attorney in the Dispute Resolution and Insolvency group at Maples and Calder.
Lara has significant experience in international commercial arbitration, having represented clients in high-value and complex matters heard under ICC, LCIA, SIAC, SCC and UNCITRAL rules, as well as in ad hoc arbitrations.
Example of recent and ongoing instructions 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  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 has a Diploma in International Arbitration from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Lara has a broad commercial disputes practice under English and international law. She has appeared in the English Courts and offshore in disputes relating to a range of industry sectors, frequently with a technological focus and involving cross-border issues.
Lara’s practice covers all the key areas of contractual disputes, including the sale of goods and supply of services; joint venture and shareholder disputes; and claims arising from guarantees and indemnities. She also has significant experience of arbitration-related applications to the Commercial Court. Her clients include individuals, large corporate entities, the UK Government and litigation funders.
Notable Commercial Disputes cases include:
- Acting (both as sole counsel and led) for the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in relation to several disputes (ranging in value from £10 million to over £250 million) concerning contracts for the manufacture and sale of Covid lateral flow tests.
- Acting (led by Clifford Darton KC) for a water undertaker in relation to a £10million claim arising from the supply of defective water meters.
- Acting (as sole counsel) for a property developer in its misrepresentation claim for substantial damages arising from the purchase of a plot of development land.
- NWA v NVF  EWHC 2666 (Comm) – appeared for the Second Claimant in this widely reported case in relation to 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.
- Sinel v Kent (unreported) – representing a defendant director in a successful application to strike out a proposed derivative claim brought by a minority shareholder.
- Advising a litigation financing company in relation to several High Court claims concerning substantial payments made by directors at a time when a company may have been insolvent.
- Acting for the claimant in a number of claims concerning breaches of a joint venture agreement/breaches of trust relating to a group of companies and their assets.
- Madoff Securities International Limited (In Liquidation) v Raven and Ors  EWHC 3147 (Comm) (Popplewell J) – in a 5-week trial, led by Ian Clarke, 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.
Company & Partnership
Lara regularly acts for 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 regularly appears in the Companies Court.
She is regularly instructed by the Secretary of State for Business and Trade in claims for disqualification against company directors.
Lara has a particular interest in claims concerning breaches of directors’ duties and matters which involve insolvency issues.
Recent and ongoing instructions include:
- Representing a defendant director in a successful application to strike out a proposed derivative claim brought by a minority shareholder
- Advising a litigation financing company in relation to several High Court claims concerning substantial payments made by directors at a time when a company may have been insolvent
- Acting for the claimant in a number of claims concerning breaches of a joint venture agreement/breaches of trust relating to a group of companies and their assets
- Acting for a partner seeking an account in relation to 10 years of partnership affairs
- Acting in 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
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 a litigation financing company in relation to several claims relating to preferences/transactions at an undervalue
- Representing trustees in bankruptcy in an application pursuant to s339 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (transactions at an undervalue)
- Randhawa v Bridgeco Ltd  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
- 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  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:
- Representing the Government in terminal dilapidations proceedings relating to premises previously occupied by Government entities
- 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 a block of flats on the basis of a number of serious breaches of covenant by the landlord
- Lara is currently instructed on multiple cases involving the landlord’s opposition to the grant of a new lease under grounds 30(1)(f) and (g) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954
- Acting for the tenant of commercial premises in a complex case relating to the application of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 to the freeholders of a severed reversion
- 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 and, if so, whether it was excluded from the protections of Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. 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 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.
Recent cases include:
- Acting for the claimant property developer in a High Court claim relating to misrepresentations made by a seller during the sale of a development site
- Acted for Maypole Dock Limited in its claim against a housing developer, Catalyst Housing Limited, for breaches of an overage agreement in relation to land. Reported interim decisions in these proceedings include Maypole Dock Ltd v Catalyst Housing Ltd  EWHC 1742 (TCC) (injunction to restrain an expert determination) and  EWHC 701 (TCC) (security for costs)
- Led by Justin Kitson, appeared in the Court of Appeal in Demetriou v Mapara  EWCA Civ 1001, a claim related to the nature of burial rights over land
- Acting in a number of cases involving easements by prescription for both claimants and defendants
- Represented a developer and freeholder of a high value Central London development in a claim relating to alleged defects in the construction of certain apartments and an alleged easement over a parking space
- Appeared for the successful claimants in a 3-day trial in November 2021 concerning the beneficial ownership of a central London house
- 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
- Lara is currently instructed in relation to several adverse possession claims
Lara is a member of the Property Bar Association.
Demetriou v Mapara  EWCA Civ 1001 – together with Justin Kitson (leading), appeared for the Appellant before the Court of Appeal in proceedings relating to the burial rights of a Sunni Muslim association.
Maypole Dock Ltd v Catalyst Housing Ltd  EWHC 701 (TCC) – application for security for costs.
NWA v NVF  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  EWHC 1742 (TCC),  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  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  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  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.
The Decentralised Governance of Bitcoin: Truth or Myth? – Society for Computers and Law, May 2023
Case Note on Piroozzadeh v Persons Unknown & Ors – Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, July 2023
- LLB (Hons), Durham University
- LLM Corporate and Commercial Law, King’s College London
- Admitted as a solicitor – 2007
- Higher Rights of Audience (All Courts) – 2008
- Diploma in International Arbitration, CIArb – 2017
- Chancery Bar Association
- Property Bar Association
- Technology & Construction Bar Association
- COMBAR (The Commercial Bar Association)
BSB & VAT Information
Registered Name: Lara Kuehl
VAT Information: 220373841