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Laura Phillips

Laura Phillips

Laura is a specialist regulatory advocate with a broad and busy practice encompassing consumer law, health & safety, fire safety and environmental law, amongst other areas. She advises and acts for individuals, companies, local authorities and other regulatory authorities and the CPS across proceedings in the civil, criminal and appellate courts, and at tribunals, inquiries and inquests. She is an experienced trial advocate, mindful of the need to provide timely, practical and commercially sensitive advice.

She is on 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 & Partners UK Bar Guide (Band 2) and the Legal 500 (Tier 3) and in the Legal 500 for heath & safety (London Bar) (Tier 4).

Laura is ranked as a leading junior for consumer law in Chambers & Partners (Band 2) and the Legal 500 (Tier 3).

She advises and acts for regulators and traders across the spectrum of consumer law. Her practice encompasses both civil claims and all aspects of enforcement, including criminal investigations, prosecutions and confiscation. She has been instructed in relation to high value fraud, illegal money lending and national rogue trader investigations.

Laura accepts instructions in all areas of food law regulation and has particular expertise in food hygiene and food safety. She represents local authorities, businesses and individuals and her clients have included national retailers and restaurant chains. She has represented slaughterhouses in relation to breaches of regulations relating to animal cruelty and BSE.

Recent instructions and notable cases include:

  • Advising a local authority in relation to a significant national ‘rogue trader’ investigation (led by David Travers QC).
  • 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.
  • 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 (led by David Travers QC).
  • Advising and acting for Ofgem in a mis-selling investigation against one of the ‘Big Six’ electricity and gas suppliers (led by Stephen Hockman QC and Mark Watson (now Mark Watson 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.

Laura is ranked as a leading junior for health & safety in the Legal 500 (Tier 4).

Laura acts for regulators, businesses and individuals across all aspects of health & safety, fire safety and building safety law. She is on the List of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in Health & Safety and Environmental Law (List B) (the regulatory equivalent to the CPS Advocate Panel).

She has represented a wide range of clients including regulators, businesses and individuals including in cases involving fatalities and serious injuries. Her clients include national and international businesses and VLOs.

She is part of the team instructed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

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

Recent instructions and notable cases include:

  • A health and safety prosecution involving multiple fatalities (lead by Pascal Bates).
  • A health and safety prosecution involving a serious injury (lead by David Travers QC).
  • 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 (lead by Stephen Hockman QC).
  • Defending a company prosecuted in relation to a serious electrical injury on a construction site for an Olympic venue (lead by Stephen Hockman QC).
  • Advising or acting in relation to numerous health & safety prosecutions and investigations in a wide variety of contexts including construction sites, hotels, boats, factories and warehouses, leisure facilities and shops.
  • Advising or acting in relation to a wide range of fire safety enforcement investigations or prosecutions or in relation to enforcement notices.
  • Advising or acting in relation to prosecutions of fishing vessels by the MCA.
  • Inquests concerning breaches of health and safety legislation.

Laura’s wider practice includes environmental, planning and housing law and she has a good understanding of how these practice areas overlap with health & safety, fire safety and building safety legislation.

See also inquiries and inquests.

Laura represents individuals, companies and local authorities in relation to housing and HMO enforcement, including prosecutions and tribunal appeals.

Recent instructions and notable cases include:

  • HMO prosecutions including where it is alleged there are serious deficiencies relating to fire safety.
  • Acting for a national firm of estate agents at a First-Tier tribunal appeal against civil penalties.
  • Appeals against civil penalties and RROs.

Laura’s wider practice includes environmental, planning and building control law and she has a good understanding of how these practice areas overlap with housing and HMO legislation.

Laura acts for regulators and duty holders in relation to all aspects of environmental enforcement and related proceedings, proceedings relating to public and private nuisance and disputes over rights of navigation and fishing rights.

She is regularly instructed to act in environmental prosecutions for offences including fly-tipping, permit breaches and breaches of enforcement notices and statutory nuisance proceedings. She is on the List of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in Health & Safety and Environmental Law (List B) (the regulatory equivalent to the CPS Advocate Panel).

She acts in civil disputes involving environmental issues including nuisances, pollution, private rights of navigation and riparian/fishing rights.

Recent instructions and notable cases include:

  • Advising a public sector body in relation to a challenging contaminated land issue (lead by David Travers QC).
  • Waste prosecutions.
  • 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.
  • Numerous abatement notice appeals appearing for and against local authorities.

Laura is instructed in all areas of local government law including judicial and statutory review, and in relation to planning disputes, appeals and prosecutions. She is a contributing author to Atkins Court forms on Planning Law.

Recent instructions and notable cases include:

  • Advising a group of local authorities in relation to the provision of shared statutory services in a constitutionally sound and cost-effective manner (lead by David Travers QC).
  • Defending a well-known housebuilding company in relation to a prosecution for damage to protected trees.
  • Statutory review of a multimillion-pound cycling scheme.
  • Advising a local council on the lawfulness of licensing fee schemes for licensed sex establishments.
  • Planning enforcement appeals, prosecutions and related confiscation proceedings.

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

Recent instructions and notable cases include:

  • Advising a local council on the lawfulness of licensing fee schemes for licensed sex establishments.
  • Alcohol licensing appeals and prosecutions.
  • Taxi/PHV appeals and prosecutions.

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

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

Laura is part of the team instructed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

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

Recent instructions and notable cases include:

  • Representing a major supermarket at an inquest into the death of a customer at its premises.
  • 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 following the drowning of a spectator at the World Darts Tournament.
  • A highly unusual inquest (Home Secretary reference in the absence of a body) following a disappearance at a scrap-metal recycling plant (lead by David Travers QC).

‘Laura is a stellar junior barrister and certainly one to watch.’ Legal 500 2022

‘Extraordinarily clever, very hard working and has a real grasp of what are the issues in a case.’ Legal 500 2022

“Always thinks outside of the box, and is very proactive, willing and approachable.” Chambers and Partners 2022

“A fine practitioner who is knowledgeable, authoritative in court, very well prepared and a good advocate.” Chambers & Partners 2022

‘Laura has the capacity to digest large amounts of material quickly and analyse them logically, she is very knowledgeable about the law and extremely intelligent. The clarity of her written work is exceptional.’ Legal 500 2021

“She’s very good at managing the expectations of the client, as she is able to foresee potential hurdles for the judge to overcome if he or she is to be convinced of the merits of the case.” Chambers and Partners 2021

‘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

“Laura is reliable, approachable and always prepared.” Chambers & Partners 2020

“Personable and very good in court.” Chambers & Partners 2019

“She has a great style with clients and always delivers good results.” Chambers & Partners 2019

A Practical Guide to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005’ (2019)

Laura has been a contributing author to Garners’ Environmental Law Encyclopaedia, Atkins Court Forms, Westlaw Insight and Lexis Nexis Practice Guides. She has also lectured at the Bartlett School of Planning at UCL.

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.

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

VAT number: 175205517