Laura Elizabeth John

Call: 2007 | 2019 (Ireland)

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Education

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

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Introduction

Laura is a highly experienced specialist in Competition law and Information law. She is consistently ranked as a leading junior in the legal directories, where she is described as “Super-clever, really practical and massively knowledgeable about the law.” and “An excellent advocate” who “can spin on a sixpence”.

Laura is the co-Editor of the leading EU Competition law text, Bellamy & Child European Union Law of Competition (8th Ed.)

Laura is a member of the Welsh Government’s B-Panel. She security cleared and can handle sensitive cases. She is also direct access qualified, and can accept instructions directly from clients.

  • News
  • Competition

    Laura is consistently ranked as a leading junior in Competition law in the legal directories, and is co-Editor of the leading text, Bellamy & Child European Union Law of Competition (8th Ed.). She advises and represents private clients and regulators across the full spectrum of Competition law.

    Cases

    Laura is currently involved in:

    • Gutmann v South Eastern Railway: for the defendant in the first stand-alone collective action in the CAT, concerning alleged breaches of s. 18 of the Competition Act 1998.
    • Advising on the CMA’s investigation into alleged price fixing by Berkshire estate agents.
    • Advising on the CMA’s market study into online platforms and digital advertising.
    • National Grid Electricity Transmission v ABB and others: for the claimant 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. [2019] EWCA Civ 1096; [2015] EWHC 647 (Ch); [2014] EWHC 2720 (Ch)).

    Recent work and significant cases include:

    • Microsoft Mobile Oy v Sony Europe and others [2017] EWHC 374 (Ch): for the claimant in stand-alone proceedings in the Chancery Division, concerning the supply of lithium ion batteries for mobile telephones.
    • Unwired Planet International Ltd and others – v – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and others:  for Samsung in proceedings in the Patent Court, concerning FRAND licensing terms for telecommunications patents.
    • 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.
    • 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: for the appellant in an appeal against an abuse of dominance finding.

    Super-clever, really practical and massively knowledgeable about the law.” – Chambers UK, 2020

    “Her work and knowledge of competition law is outstanding.’’ – Legal 500, 2020

  • Information law

    Laura is consistently listed as a leading junior in Information Law in the legal directories. She appears in the Court of Appeal, Upper Tribunal and First Tier Tribunal, for the Information Commissioner and for requestors, and she regularly advises on FOI/EIR/data protection issues.

    Cases

    Significant cases include:

    • Department for Transport v Information Commissioner: appeal to the Court of Appeal concerning the severance of environmental and non-environmental information.
    • Information Commissioner v Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association: UT appeal concerning the definition of “public authority” and the interpretation of the CJEU judgment in Fish Legal.
    • Advising on the Information Commissioner’s decision to fine Uber for breaches of data protection law.
    • Willow v Information Commissioner and Ministry for Justice [2017] EWCA 1876 Civ: implications of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for the public interest balancing under FOIA.
    • Savic v IC, Attorney General, and Cabinet Office [2016] UKUT 534 (AAC) and [2016] UKUT 535 (AAC): the legal advice by the Attorney General, and other information, about the UK’s decision to participate in the NATO bombing of Kosovo.
    • London Legacy Development Corporation v IC and Hunt [2016] UKFTT 2015_0023 (GRC): concerning the contract under which West Ham United Football Club has become the new ‘anchor tenant’ at the Olympic stadium.
    • 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.

    Exceptionally bright and strategically aware, she’s a star in the making.”- Chambers UK, 2019

    What’s crucial is the right advice, at the right time and for the right price, and she ticks all those boxes very well.”- Chambers UK, 2018

     

  • EU

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

    Cases

    Recent work and significant cases include:

    • Case C-304/16 R (on the application of American Express Company) v the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury EU:C:2018:66: 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.
    • Case C-643/16 R (on the application of American Express Company) v the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury EU:C:2018:67: for American Express in a challenge to the extension of the access obligation contained in Directive 2015/2366 on Payment Services in the Internal Market to three party card payment schemes which enter into arrangements with co-brand partners and/or agents.
    • 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.

    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).

    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.
  • Administrative & public

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

    Cases

    Recent work and significant cases include:

    • Case C-304/16 R (on the application of American Express Company) v the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury EU:C:2018:66: 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.
    • Case C-643/16 R (on the application of American Express Company) v the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury EU:C:2018:67: for American Express in a challenge to the extension of the access obligation contained in Directive 2015/2366 on Payment Services in the Internal Market to three party card payment schemes which enter into arrangements with co-brand partners and/or agents.
    • 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.
  • What the directories say

    Competition Law: “Super-clever, really practical and massively knowledgeable about the law.” “She is not afraid to challenge and push back on arguments.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2020

    Data Protection: “A really good lawyer who is also very responsive.”- Chambers UK, 2020

    Leading junior in Competition: ‘‘Her work and knowledge of competition law is outstanding.’’Legal 500, 2020

    Leading junior in Data protection: ‘‘She is a go-to counsel for the Information Commissioner.’’Legal 500, 2020

    Competition Law: “Able to get up to speed very quickly,” and “a good sounding board for silks.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2019

    Data Protection: “Laura is good at getting to grips with matters and gaining client confidence.” “Exceptionally bright and strategically aware, she’s a star in the making.”- Chambers UK, 2019

    Leading junior in Competition: ‘‘A strong junior with a tremendous appetite for work and attention to detail. Her intelligence and grasp of the law are notable.’’Legal 500, 2018

    Leading junior in Data protection: ‘‘She is frequently instructed by the Information Commissioner in tribunals and appeals.’’Legal 500, 2018

    Competition Law: “She is very popular with clients, comes up with definitive answers and has a very good written style.” – Chambers UK, 2018

    Data Protection: “Laura is very competent, clear and thorough.” “What’s crucial is the right advice, at the right time and for the right price, and she ticks all those boxes very well.”- Chambers UK, 2018

    Leading junior in Competition: ‘‘Extremely able and collaborative.’’Legal 500, 2017

    Leading junior in Data protection: ‘‘A thorough and detailed advocate.’’Legal 500, 2017

    Competition Law: “She is exceptionally bright and hard-working, but also very practical and a really good team player. She has no ego and is lovely to work with.” – Chambers UK, 2017

    Data Protection: “She communicates well with clients and is an excellent advocate.” “She is extremely able and can spin on a sixpence. She gets the right tone before the ICO.” Chambers UK, 2017

    Leading Junior in Telecoms regulatory: A very good head for detail and a calm advocate.’’ – Legal 500, 2016 

    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

    Cases

    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
  • Additional information

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

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

  • Publications
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