Laura Elizabeth John

LEJ
Call 2007
Education

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

Contact the Clerks

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

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 works well both as an advocate in her own right, and as an integral and highly valued part of the team in larger cases.  She is direct access qualified, and can accept instructions directly from clients.

She is the Updates Editor for the leading EU Competition law text, Bellamy & Child European Union Law of Competition.

Competition

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 is Updates Editor of the 7th Edition of Bellamy & Child European Union Law of Competition, and is a contributor to the 7th Edition.

Laura is currently involved in:

  • 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)).
  • BT v Ofcom (08x Nos: Vodafone Dispute): for BT in Competition Appeal Tribunal proceedings concerning Ofcom’s determination as to the repayments Vodafone must make for charges for terminating calls to 080, 0845 and 0870 numbers.

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 featured in The Lawyer Top 20 Cases of 2014 (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 ElectronicEquipment 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.

Laura regularly advises on a range of competition law matters, ranging from advice on contractual terms to responding to enquiries from the European Commission.

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.

Laura is currently involved in:

  • 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.

Recent work and significant cases includes:

  • 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)

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:

  • 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:

  • Oliver v IC and Police Service of Northern Ireland (EA/2014/0011): concerning information on the investigation into the Omagh bombing
  • Mercer v IC and Ministry of Defence (EA/2013/0250): concerning legal advice on whether the regime of the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus is compatible with the ECHR
  • Corke v IC (EA/2013/0280): concerning personal data in a file in the National Archive containing correspondence between the Prime Minister and Jimmy Saville
  • Parker v IC and North Lincolnshire Council (EA/2013/0250): concerning personal data of a Councillor about whom a complaint had been made
  • Eastleigh Borough Council v IC (EA/2013/0069): documents created in the course of developing a local development plan
  • Jackson v IC (EA/2012/0263): concerning documents created in the course of a dispute with a contractor for an infrastructure project
  • Breeze v IC, Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary, and the Crown Prosecution Service (GIA/2192/2012) and (EA/2011/0057); Breeze v IC and NHS Business Services Authority (EA/2013/128); Breeze v IC and Crown Prosecution Service (EA/2013/0053) and (EA/2012/0152): various appeals concerning documents created in the course of an investigation into alleged fraud
  • Dudgeon v IC and Police Service of Northern Ireland (EA/2012/0113): concerning information on the investigation into a number of serious crimes allegedly committed by members of the Ulster Volunteer Force.
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.

Recent and current work includes:

  • 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 the appellant in a case concerning the compatibility of a limitation period with the EU principles of effectiveness and legal certainty.
  • Advising on appealing the grant of a market authorisation under Regulation 1829/2003 on genetically modified food and feed to the European General Court.
  • 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 a breach of fiscal neutrality.
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).

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), [2012] All ER (D) 178 (overturning a First Tier Tribunal decision, following the CJEU ruling in Cases C-259 and 260/10 Rank Group Plc –v- HMRC [2011] ECR I-10947), and [2013] EWCA Civ 1289 (overturning an Upper Tribunal decision as to whether the comparator machines were in law exempt from VAT)
  • 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: “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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