Laura Elizabeth John

LEJ
Call 2007
Education

BCL (European and Comparative Law), BA (Hons), (Oxon)

Contact the Clerks

+44 (0)20 7405 7211 | chambers@monckton.com

“A star of the future, no doubt.” “exceptionally good – she’s succinct and could really go far.” “very professional and did everything well.”  (Chambers UK, 2016)

“An excellent lawyer who is very poised in court.” (Chambers UK, 2015)

“very good tactical judgement, strong case management skills and powerful drafting abilities” (Chambers UK, 2014)

“gives me confidence that the job will be done properly.” (Chambers UK, 2014)

“a very able barrister whose combination of legal expertise, clarity of mind and understanding of the commercial objectives proves invaluable” (Legal 500, 2014).

Laura is a highly sought after junior who works across Chambers’ core areas of practice, and has particular expertise in Competition, Information, and Environmental law.   She is responsive, fiercely analytical and strategic, and a compelling advocate.  She has appeared in all manner of courts and tribunals, ranging from the Information Tribunal to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, as well as the Court of Justice in Europe.  She regularly appears in her own right, and also acts as an integral and highly valued part of the team in larger cases.

She is the Updates Editor for the leading EU Competition law text, Bellamy & Child European Union Law of Competition, producing the producing the annual supplementing text, as well as being a contributor to the 7th Edition.

Laura is security cleared and can handle sensitive cases.  She is also direct access qualified, and can accept instructions directly from clients.

Competition

“A star of the future, no doubt.” “She is excellent and very user-friendly” (Chambers UK, 2016, Competition Law)

An excellent lawyer who is very poised in court.” (Chambers UK, 2015, Competition Law)

“Very good tactical judgement, strong case management skills and powerful drafting abilities.” (Chambers UK, 2014, Competition Law)

Laura advises and represents private clients and regulators across the full spectrum of Competition law. She was part of the team which won GCR’s global ‘Litigation of the Year – Cartel Prosecution’ team in 2015 for National Grid Electricity Transmission v ABB and others.

Laura is Updates Editor of Bellamy & Child European Union Law of Competition, producing the annual supplementing text, as well as having been a contributor to the 7th Edition.

Laura is currently involved in:

  • Microsoft Mobile Oy –v- Sony Europe and others:  for the claimant in stand-alone proceedings in the Chancery Division, concerning the supply of lithium ion batteries for mobile telephones.
  • National Grid Electricity Transmission –v- ABB and others:  for the claimants in follow-on proceedings in the Chancery Division, concerning the power cables cartel.
  • Welsh Ministers –v- Servier: for the Welsh claimants in proceedings in the Chancery Division, concerning the supply of the ACE inhibitor Perindopril (inc. [2014] EWHC 2720 (Ch) [2015] EWHC 647 (Ch)).
  • Emerald Supplies – v – British Airways: for the Part 20 Defendant, Cargolux, in proceedings in the Chancery Division concerning the supply of air freight services.

Recent work and significant cases include:

  • National Grid Electricity Transmission–v- ABB and others: for the claimant in follow-on proceedings in the Chancery Division, concerning the gas insulated switchgear cartel, which won GCR’s global ‘Litigation of the Year – Cartel Prosecution’ award (inc. [2013] EWHC 822 (Ch); [2013] EWCA 1234 (Civ))
  • Welsh Ministers –v- Reckitt Benkiser: for the Welsh claimants in follow-on proceedings in the Chancery Division, concerning the supply of Gaviscon.
  • BCL Old Co. Ltd –v- BASF plc [2012] UKSC 45: for the claimant in the first competition case to come before the Supreme Court; concerning the date on which time begins to run for limitation purposes under section 47A Competition Act 1998, and whether it complies with the EU principles of effectiveness and legal certainty.
  • Emerson Electric –v- Morgan Crucible [2012] EWCA Civ 1559: jurisdiction of the Competition Appeal Tribunal under s.47A Competition Act 1998 to hear damages claims against subsidiary companies within infringing undertakings.
  • Electrical Waste Recycling Group and City Electrical Factors -v- Philips Electronics and others: a stand-alone damages action in the Chancery Division, alleging breach of competition law in the manner in which the lighting industry implemented their obligations under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (Directive 2002/96)
  • BA / Virgin, OFT decision of 19 April 2012: advising the OFT on its decision regarding passenger fuel surcharge pricing.
  • Association of Convenience Stores and National Federation of Retail Newsagents –v- OFT [2012] CAT 27: judicial review in the Competition Appeal Tribunal of an OFT prioritisation decision
  • Carphone Warehouse –v- OFCOM [2010] CAT 26: review of an Ofcom price control, set for access to BT’s voice and broadband network (‘LLU and WLR’)
  • Campaign for Real Ale (‘CAMRA’) –v- OFT: judicial review in the Competition Appeal Tribunal of an OFT refusal to refer a super-complaint under s.11 Enterprise Act to the Competition Commission.
  • National Grid –v- Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) [2010] EWCA Civ 114: leading authority in the UK on abuse of dominance.
Information Law

‘She is exceptionally good – she’s succinct and could really go far.’ ‘very professional and did everything well.’  (Chambers UK, 2016, Information Law)

a very able barrister whose combination of legal expertise, clarity of mind and understanding of the commercial objectives proves invaluable’ (Legal 500, 2014, Information Law).

‘gives me confidence that the job will be done properly.’ ‘She is analytical in her style and is not afraid to throw out questions. She has a real grasp of environmental law in particular.’ (Chambers UK, 2014, Information Law)

Laura frequently appears in the Upper Tribunal and First Tier Tribunal in information rights cases, for the Information Commissioner and for requestors, and she regularly advises on FOI/EIR/data protection issues.

Significant cases include:

  • Savic v IC, Attorney General, and Cabinet Office (GIA/2074/2015 and GIA/2075/2015) (ongoing):  the legal advice by the Attorney General, and other information, about the UK’s decision to participate in the NATO bombing of Kosovo.
  • Ministry of Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Office v IC (EA/2015/102 and EA/2015/0010) (ongoing):  the legal advice by the Attorney General on the legality under public international law of the UK renewing its nuclear weapons arsenal under the Trident programme.
  • London Legacy Development Corporation v IC and Hunt (EA/2015/0023) (ongoing):  the contract under which West Ham United Football Club has become the new ‘anchor tenant’ at the Olympic stadium.
  • Reprieve v IC and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (EA/2014/0233) (GIA/1520/2015) (ongoing):  information on the UK’s provision of counter-narcotics assistance to Pakistan.
  • Webber v IC [2013] UKUT 648 (AAC): concerning the medical records of deceased persons under FOI
  • DCLG –v- the Information Commissioner and William Robinson [2012] UKUT 103 (AAC): leading authority on disclosure of legal advice under EIR
  • Birkett (on behalf of Clean Air London) -v- Defra [2011] EWCA Civ 1606: leading authority on right of public authorities to raise new exemptions, under EIR, for the first time before the First Tier Tribunal.

Laura has also recently appeared in:

  • Jones v IC and Department for Regional Development for Northern Ireland [2016] UKUT 82 (AAC):  circumstances in which an appeal by a litigant in person may be struck out.
  • Chris Ames v IC and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (EA/2015/0157):  documents considered by the Chilcot Inquiry into the events leading up the Iraq conflict in 2009, and the way in which the conflict was conducted subsequently
  • Dudgeon  v IC and Police Service of Northern Ireland (GIA/2887/20132) (ongoing):  information relating to the appointment, by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, of a panel to oversee an investigation into the murders and other serious crimes committed by the Ulster Volunteer Force in North Belfast in the 1990s
  • North Bristol NHS Trust v IC, Carillion, The Hospital Company (Southmead) Ltd and Mr Sid Ryan (EA/2015/0022) (ongoing):  PFI contract for the design and construction of part of the Southmead Hospital in Westbury-on-Trym, North Bristol.
  • Home Office v IC and Mr Phil Miller (EA/2015/0143):  information on the Harmonsworth and Colnbrook immigration removal centres
  • Mark Owen Jones v IC and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (EA/2014/0259):  records of internal political situation in Bahrain in 1970s
  • Dept for Business, Innovation and Skills v IC and Whyte (EA/2014/0173): briefing to the Prime Minister on Thomas Cook’s financial situation
  • Cabinet Office v IC (EA/2014/0223): guidance by the Lords Government Whips’ Office, ‘Getting you Bill through the Lords’
  • Clubb v IC (EA/2014/0137): technical data and assumptions used to calculate the efficiency of a proposed waste incinerator facility
  • Oliver v IC and Police Service of Northern Ireland (EA/2014/0011): information on the investigation into the Omagh bombing
EU Law

Laura is instructed in a range of cases raising questions of EU law, in particular in the Environmental and Competition law contexts. She regularly advises on EU law issues, including on making complaints to the European Commission and bringing claims in the European Courts.

Current work includes:

  • R (on the application of American Express Company) v the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury:  for American Express in a challenge to the extension of the price caps contained in Chapter II of EU Regulation 2015/751 on Interchange Fees for Card-Based Payment Transactions to three party card payment schemes which issue cards with co-brand partners and/or through agents.

Recent work and significant cases include:

  • European Low Fares Airline Association (‘ELFAA’) –v- Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change: for ELFAA in a challenge to the temporary derogation from the EU emissions trading scheme for international aviation activities to and from aerodromes outside the EU
  • Case C-366/10 Air Transport Association of America –v- Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, [2011] ECR I-13755: for five Environmental Organisations in a challenge brought by the international aviation industry against their inclusion in the EU emissions trading scheme.
  • BCL Old Co. Ltd v BASF plc [2012] UKSC 45: for BCL the appellant in a case concerning the compatibility of a limitation period with the EU principles of effectiveness and legal certainty.
  • Cases C-259 and 260/10 Rank Group Plc –v- HMRC [2011] ECR I-10947: for HMRC in a claim for repayment of VAT paid on machines used to gamble, based on an alleged breach of the principle of fiscal neutrality.
Environmental

Laura is a specialist in domestic, European and International Environmental Law. She regularly appears in access to environmental information cases (see Information Law), and has appeared in the Court of Justice of European Union.  Laura is direct access qualified, and can accept instructions directly from clients.  She is also willing to consider acting at reduced rates or pro bono in appropriate cases.

Recent work and significant cases include:

  • European Low Fares Airline Association (‘ELFAA’) –v- Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change:  for ELFAA in a challenge to the temporary derogation from the EU emissions trading scheme for international aviation activities to and from aerodromes outside the EU.
  • Advising on the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on bees
  • Case C-366/10 Air Transport Association of America –v- Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, [2011] ECR I-13755:  for five Environmental Organisations in a challenge brought by the international aviation industry against their inclusion in the EU emissions trading scheme.
  • DCLG –v- the Information Commissioner and William Robinson [2012] UKUT 103 (AAC):  leading authority on disclosure of legal advice under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004
  • Birkett (on behalf of Clean Air London) -v- Defra [2011] EWCA Civ 1606:  leading authority on right of public authorities to raise new exemptions, under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, for the first time before the First Tier Tribunal.

Before being Called to the Bar, Laura worked in DEFRA on the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Prior to that, during her BCL, she was a part-time Research Assistant at the University of Oxford, analysing the marine environmental protection regimes operating in the Mediterranean (in particular, the EC and IMO/MARPOL regimes).

 

Public & Administrative Law

Laura advises on a range of public law matters, particularly in the environmental context (see Environmental Law). She also frequently appears in the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) and First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights Chamber) in access to information cases (see Information Law).

Current work includes:

  • R (on the application of American Express Company) v the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury:  for American Express in a challenge to the extension of the price caps contained in Chapter II of EU Regulation 2015/751 on Interchange Fees for Card-Based Payment Transactions to three party card payment schemes which issue cards with co-brand partners and/or through agents.

Recent work includes:

  • United Utilities v Manchester Ship Canal Company and others [2014] UKSC 40: for the Middle Level Commissioners, intervening, in an appeal concerning the rights of statutory sewerage undertakers to discharge in private watercourses.
  • Successful challenge to the British Board of Film Classification (‘BBFC’) refusal to classify the film “the Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)”. The film was granted an 18 certificate in the UK after the BBFC agreed to a number of cuts, reversing its original decision to refuse classification of the controversial horror film on the grounds of sexual violence and graphic gore.
  • Advising on the competition and pricing functions created by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
Tax

Recent and current cases include:

  • Rank Group Plc –v- HMRC:  for HMRC in a claim for repayment of VAT paid on machines used to gamble, based on a breach of fiscal neutrality, including [2012] UKUT 347 (TCC); [2013] EWCA Civ; and [2015] UKSC 48.
  • London Wiper Company (t/a Universal Recycling) –v- HMRC [2011] UKFTT 445 (TC): recycling company’s appeal against refusal of deductions because of allegedly invalid invoices
What the Directories Say

Competition Law: “A star of the future, no doubt.” “She is excellent and very user-friendly.”Chambers UK, 2016

Data Protection: “She is exceptionally good – she’s succinct and could really go far.” “She was very professional and did everything well.” – Chambers UK, 2016

“Highly regarded.” Leading Junior in Data Protection Law. Legal 500, 2015

Competition Law: “An excellent lawyer who is very poised in court.” “Extremely hard-working, she puts in unsociable hours to get the job done.”Chambers UK, 2015

Data Protection: “She has made big strides in the data protection area, and is particularly strong in the environmental field.”Chambers UK, 2015

Competition Law: Has recently been led by some of the leading silks in the competition market. Viewed by clients as one to watch for the future, she has done several high-profile damages claims. “Very bright and enthusiastic,” she has “very good tactical judgement, strong case management skills and powerful drafting abilities.” Chambers UK, 2014

Data Protection: Possesses particular experience in relation to requests for information, having dealt with such requests whilst in-house at Defra. She handles a range of matters pro bono, and appeared in the Campaign for Clean Air London litigation in such a capacity. “Laura is hard-working and possesses good knowledge of the law. She is also enthusiastic and gives me confidence that the job will be done properly.” “She is analytical in her style and is not afraid to throw out questions. She has a real grasp of environmental law in particular.” Chambers UK, 2014

Laura John is ‘a very able barrister whose combination of legal expertise, clarity of mind and understanding of the commercial objectives proves invaluable’.” She is recommended under Data Protection Law. Legal 500, 2013

Publications

Updates Editor, Bellamy & Child European Union Law of Competition (7th Ed, OUP, 2013), and contributor to chapter 15 on the Enforcement of Competition Rules by National Competition Authorities

A failed bid to recover input tax:  VAT on takeover transaction costs HMRC v BAA Limited [2011] UKUT 258 (TCC)’ De Voil ITI, issue 183, pp19-22

Ex ante and ex post regulation:  is regulation to be taken into account in deciding whether the regulate?  Hutchinson 3G UK Ltd v Office of Communications’, Competition Law Journal, vol 8 issue 4, pp306-311

The use (and abuse?) of framework agreements in the United Kingdom’ (with Michael Bowsher QC), a chapter in International Public Procurement:  A Guide to Best Practice (2009) (Globe Business Publishing)

Standstill periods in awarding Part B service contracts:  Federal Security Services Ltd v Chief Constable for the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and Resources Group’, European Competition Law Review, vol 30 issue 7, pp329-331

Additional Information

BCL (European and Comparative Law), Brasenose College, Oxford (2004)

BA (Hons) Jurisprudence, Brasenose College Oxford (2003)

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