Laura Phillips

Call: 2009

recommendations

“Her naturally relaxed demeanour and her poise hide a steely core, a ferocious appetite for work, and absolute mastery of the detail on any case”.

Legal 500 [2020]

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

Chambers UK Bar Guide [2019]

Overview

Laura is an experienced advocate specialising in all aspects of regulatory law, health and safety and consumer protection law in particular.

She represents defendants and regulatory authorities in proceedings in the civil, criminal and appellate courts, and at tribunals, inquiries and inquests.

She has been appointed to the List of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in Health & Safety and Environmental Law (List B).

She is ranked for consumer law (London Bar) in both the Chambers UK Bar Guide (Band 3) and the Legal 500 (Band 3).

Please click on the links below for more detail or contact Ryan Barrow or Dan Jenkins.

 

Health and safety and fire safety

Consumer/housing/HMOs

Food

Nuisance/environment

Inquests

Licensing

Planning/TPOs/POCA

HGV Operator’s Licences/Traffic Commissioner Inquiries

Regulatory and Disciplinary

 

Health and safety and fire safety

Laura acts for regulators, companies and individuals in all aspects of health and safety and fire safety law. She has been appointed to the List of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in Health & Safety and Environmental Law (List B).

She has acted for a very wide range of regulators and the regulated, from national retailers and VLOs to sole traders, including in cases involving fatalities and serious injuries.

She is the author of ‘A Practical Guide to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005’.

Past cases include:

  • Representing the successful appellant in R v Butt [2018] EWCA Crim 1617, the leading case on sentencing fire safety offences.
  • Advising a property and construction company in relation to a fire safety investigation following the renovation and refurbishment of a hotel.
  • Advising a property management company on refurbishment and fire safety liabilities.
  • Defending a major supermarket chain prosecuted in respect of health and safety liabilities (as junior to Stephen Hockman QC).
  • Defending a company prosecuted in relation to a serious electrical injury on a construction site for an Olympic venue (as junior to Stephen Hockman QC).
  • Numerous health and safety prosecutions and investigations in a wide variety of contexts including construction sites, hotels, boats, factories and warehouses, leisure facilities and shops.
  • Defending or advising in relation to a wide range of fire safety enforcement investigations, actions or prosecutions.
  • Inquests concerning breaches of health and safety legislation.

Laura’s practice also encompasses environmental, planning, building, and HMO/housing legislation and she has a thorough understanding of how this interacts with health and safety and fire safety legislation.

See also consumer/housing/HMOs and inquests below.

 

consumer/housing/HMOs

Laura is ranked as a leading junior for consumer law in Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500. She advises and acts for local authorities, individuals, and companies in relation to a wide range of consumer protection, housing and HMO issues including in high value fraud (such as car-clocking, illegal loans, rogue traders and benefit fraud) and breaches of consumer protection and HMO legislation. Her practice encompasses all aspects of enforcement, including criminal investigations and prosecutions, civil claims related to consumer protection, and civil appeals, for example, against enforcement notices or civil penalties, or applications for RROs.

Past cases include:

  • Advising a local authority in relation to a significant national ‘rogue trader’ investigation.
  • Advising a company in relation to COVID-19 related medical devices/IVDs.
  • Advising a company on labelling requirements and advertising for a new type of facemask for consumer use as a COVID-19 related face covering.
  • Advising on package travel related claims.
  • Defending a trader prosecuted for miss-selling loft insulation.
  • Defending traders prosecuted for consumer protection breaches arising from construction work resulting in serious damage to a consumer’s home.
  • Acting for a national firm of estate agents at a First-Tier tribunal appeal against civil penalties.
  • Advising and acting for Ofgem in a miss-selling investigation against one of the ‘Big Six’ electricity and gas suppliers (as junior to Stephen Hockman QC and Mark Watson (now Mark Watson QC)).

 

Food

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

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

Past cases include:

  • Defending a national neighbourhood retailer prosecuted in relation to a serious rodent infestation.
  • Defending a national pub bar and restaurant chain prosecuted in respect of food safety offences arising from a fatal food poisoning (lead by David Travers QC).
  • Numerous food safety/hygiene prosecutions including in relation to rodent or insect infestations, contaminated food and poor hygiene at restaurants, shops and factories.
  • Numerous appeals against enforcement notices and RANs.

 

Nuisance/environment

Laura acts for regulators, companies and individuals in all aspects of nuisance and environmental enforcement and related proceedings. She has been appointed to the List of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in Health & Safety and Environmental Law (List B). She is regularly instructed to act in environmental prosecutions for offences including fly-tipping, permit breaches and breaches of enforcement notices. She also acts in civil disputes involving environmental issues including nuisances, pollution, private rights of navigation and riparian/fishing rights.

Past cases include:

  • Numerous abatement notice appeals appearing for and against local authorities.
  • Representing an angling club in a successful claim for damages following negligent works to a fishing lake resulting in the death of numerous fish.
  • Advising on a historic multimillion-pound nuisance/negligence claim arising from pollution from a factory which involved complex arguments about limitation and causation (lead by Stephen Hockman QC).
  • Multiple civil disputes involving private rights of navigation and riparian/fishing rights.

 

Inquests

Laura acts for individuals and companies at inquests, including Article 2 inquests, including inquests concerning deaths apparently arising in connection with breaches of health and safety legislation.

Past cases include:

  • Inquests investigating deaths in custody.
  • An inquest into the death of a vulnerable individual following a fire.
  • Inquests into the deaths of vulnerable individuals at nursing homes.
  • An inquest into the death of a vulnerable patient at a hospital following injury caused by restraint by security guards.
  • An inquest investigating the death of a young mother who was murdered by her abusive husband.
  • An inquest into a death at a lakeside leisure complex.
  • An inquest following a disappearance at a scrap-metal recycling plant.

 

Licensing

Laura advises and acts for and against local authorities in relation to applications for licences, licence variations and reviews, and licensing appeals.

Past cases include:

  • Numerous alcohol and taxi/PHV appeals.
  • Prosecutions for ‘taxi-touting’.
  • Advising a local council on the lawfulness of licensing fee schemes for licensed sex establishments.

 

Planning/TPOs/POCA

Laura accepts instructions in all areas of planning law including judicial and statutory review. She is regularly instructed to advise on technical planning issues and appeals and appears at planning inquiries and appeals against enforcement notices and in prosecutions under the TCPA 1990. She is a contributing author to Atkins Court forms on Planning Law.

Past cases include:

  • Numerous planning enforcement appeals.
  • Numerous planning enforcement prosecutions and related confiscation proceedings.
  • Defending a well-known housebuilding company in relation to a prosecution for damage to protected trees.
  • Statutory review of a multimillion-pound cycling scheme.

HGV Operator’s Licences/Traffic Commissioner Inquiries

Laura represents licence holders and applicants at public inquiries and hearings before Traffic Commissioners.

 

Regulatory and Disciplinary

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

 

Public Access Scheme

Laura is qualified to accept direct instructions from members of the public under the Public Access Scheme.

Information about the Public Access Scheme and how it works can be found on our Public Access page.

Certain specific Public Access services are subject to price and service transparency regulatory requirements. By clicking the link below you will be directed to the required information for those specific categories of work in respect of which Laura accepts instructions.

Licensing Applications for Business Premises

Publications, lectures and memberships

Laura is the author of  A Practical Guide to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005’. She is a contributing author to Garners’ Environmental Law Encyclopaedia, Atkins Court Forms, Westlaw Insight and Lexis Nexis Practice Guides. She has lectured at the Bartlett School of Planning at UCL and provides regular training to solicitors, planners, local government departments and industry bodies on regulatory and planning law. She is a member of the Health and Safety Lawyers Association, the Food Law Group, UKELA, the South Eastern Circuit.

 

Education and background

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)

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-disaster and post-conflict reconstruction after the civil war and the tsunami in 2004.

 

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