Laura Phillips

Laura Phillips

Call: 2009

recommendations

"Personable and very good in court." "She has a great style with clients and always delivers good results".

Chambers UK Bar Guide [2019]

Education

BVC, City Law School (2009), Middle Temple Diplock Scholarship
GDL, College of Law (2008)
MSc Violence, Conflict and Development, SOAS (2006) 
MA (Hons) Philosophy and Politics (First Class) University of Edinburgh (2005)

Overview

Laura joined Chambers in 2011 upon completion of pupillage. She maintains a busy and varied practice with a strong focus on regulatory (including health and safety and food), environmental and planning law.

She advises and acts for local authorities and other regulatory authorities, the CPS, individuals and companies across proceedings in the civil, criminal and appellate courts, and at tribunals, inquiries and inquests.

Laura accepts instructions on a direct access basis, particularly in relation to food law and planning enforcement.

 

Regulatory and Criminal Law

Laura’s experience as a criminal advocate is fundamental to her strength as a regulatory lawyer. She accepts instructions in all aspects of regulatory enforcement and criminal law.

She is acutely aware of the need to provide timely, clear, practical and commercially sensitive advice to those faced with enforcement action or prosecution.

Health and Safety and Fire Safety

Laura prosecutes and defends offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and associated regulations, and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. She has acted for both individuals and defendant companies across a broad range of offences, including accidents and near misses on construction sites, garages, shops, hotels and boats.

She acted as junior to Stephen Hockman QC representing a company prosecuted in relation to a serious electrical injury on a construction site for an Olympic venue (click here for news report).

She has provided training to local authority lawyers and officers and IOSH members on preparing for health and safety trials.

Food

Laura accepts instructions in all areas of food law regulation and has a particular expertise in food hygiene and food safety offences.

She acts primarily for local authorities but has represented a wide range of defendants from sole traders to shops and restaurant chains at all stages of enforcement from proceedings relating to Hygiene and Improvement Notices to prosecutions.

She acted as junior to David Travers QC representing the defendant company in a fatal food poisoning that was the longest ever food safety trial (click here for news report)

She has also represented slaughterhouses in relation to breaches of regulations relating to animal cruelty and BSE.

Planning Enforcement

Laura prosecutes and defends planning law related prosecutions including breaches of planning enforcement notices and related confiscation proceedings. As an experienced planning lawyer as well as a criminal advocate, she is able to advise local authorities and defendants on working towards a pragmatic resolution in planning disputes.

Statutory Nuisance/Environmental Crime

Laura acts for local authorities, individuals and companies in relation to statutory nuisances, including appeals against noise abatement notices.

She is regularly instructed to appear in environmental prosecutions for offences including fly-tipping, breach of byelaws, permit breaches and breaches of enforcement notices.

Her practice in this area is complemented and strengthened by her specialist knowledge of environmental and planning law.

Consumer Protection/Trading Standards

Laura has undertaken two local authority secondments and has experience of a wide range of local authority enforcement action/prosecutions including high value fraud (such as car-clocking, illegal loans, rogue traders and benefit fraud), underage sales, consumer protection and licence breaches.

She was recently instructed to act for a national firm of estate agents at a First Tier-Tribunal appeal which involved lengthy legal submissions on the interpretation of government guidance.

She acted (as junior to Stephen Hockman QC and Mark Watson) for Ofgem in a miss-selling investigation against one of the ‘Big Six’ electricity and gas suppliers (click here for news report)

Laura’s practice in this area is complemented by her knowledge and expertise in licensing matters.

CPS Crime

Laura acts for both the CPS and defendants across a wide range of criminal offences including GBH and drug and people trafficking. Her background in criminal law is fundamental to her strength as a regulatory advocate.

She recently represented the driver of a tour bus that collided with a tree in Bloomsbury (click here for news report)

Laura also acts in related proceedings including applications for/variations of Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and Domestic Violence Prevention Orders and confiscation and forfeiture hearings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Disciplinary/Regulatory Proceedings

Laura acts for the Nursing and Midwifery Council at disciplinary hearings for allegations of misconduct by nurses.

 

Environmental and Public Law

Laura accepts instructions in relation to all areas of environmental and public law, including judicial review, and has significant experience of civil claims which raise environmental law issues such as Rylands v Fletcher, nuisance/negligence claims arising from noise and odour nuisance and water pollution including a historic multi-million pound claim arising from pollution from a factory which involved complex arguments about limitation and causation.

Laura has specific expertise in disputes involving private rights of navigation and riparian/fishing rights.

She is a contributing author to Garner’s Environmental Law Encyclopaedia.

 

Planning and Highways

Laura accepts instructions in all areas of planning law including judicial and statutory review. She is regularly instructed to advise on technical issues and appeals and to appear at planning inquiries and appeals against enforcement notices as well as in relation to related issues such as TPOs.

She is a contributing author to Atkins Court forms on Planning Law and a regular contributor to Chambers’ Planning Law Update. She trains local authority officers on planning appeals procedure.

Laura has been instructed in a wide range of cases involving highways issues, including the statutory review of a multimillion pound cycling scheme (click here for news report).

 

Licensing

Laura accepts instructions in all areas of licensing law. Recent instructions have included the prosecution of a private car driver for ‘taxi-touting’ and in relation to the variation of a premises licence following the service of a noise abatement notice.

 

Inquests

In consequence of her regulatory practice, Laura is instructed to appear at inquests investigating potential breaches of health and safety law breach of duty.

She represented a police force at an Article 2 inquest investigating the death of a young mother who was murdered by her abusive husband. The inquest involved legal argument about causation and the scope of the investigation under the CJA 2009 (click here for news report).

She represented a local authority at an inquest into a death at a lakeside leisure complex. After the inquest the company who owned the complex were successfully prosecuted for inadequate risk assessments and failing to ensure the safety of non-employees (click here for news report).

During pupillage Laura acted as junior to David Travers QC at a highly unusual inquest into the disappearance of an employee at a metal recycling plant (click here for news report).

 

Civil

Laura has specific expertise in civil disputes involving environmental issues including nuisances, pollution, private rights of navigation and riparian/fishing rights and breaches of health and safety legislation.

She maintains a broad common law practice and accepts instructions in all areas of civil and personal injury law.

 

Publications, lectures and memberships

Laura is a contributing author to Garners’ Environmental Law Encyclopaedia, Atkins Court Forms, Westlaw Insight and Lexis Nexis Practice Guides.

She is an occasional lecturer in planning law at the Bartlett School of Planning at UCL and regularly provides seminars and lectures to solicitors, planners, local government departments and industry bodies on regulatory and planning law. She is a frequent contributor to Chambers’ Planning Law Update.

She member of UKELA, the South Eastern Circuit and the Food Law Group.

 

Background and other interests

Prior to commencing her practice at the Bar, Laura worked in New York for a Women’s Prison Charity and in Aceh, Indonesia, in post-conflict reconstruction after the civil war and the tsunami in 2004.

She graduated with first class honours from Edinburgh University and has a Masters in Violence, Conflict and Development.

In her spare time, she is a qualified yoga teacher and, when her practice permits it, occasionally teaches for charity.

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