lara full 1 - Lara Spencer

Lara Spencer

Civil Barrister
  • Year of Call
  • 2000

Civil Law

Overview

Lara has represented both Claimants and Defendants in a variety of matters for over 20 years. She has also given numerous talks and seminars in civil litigation to CPD providers and assisted in writing civil litigation material for online CPD providers. Lara is authorised to conduct all areas of litigation. She is a member of the Professional Negligence Bar Association and the Personal Injury Bar Association. Many of Lara’s cases are high value. As such, she often appears against QCs. Although based in Exeter Lara undertakes court work throughout England and Wales. Lara’s common law practice affords her with a thorough understanding of the processes and tactics of civil litigation generally in many areas and enables her to provide pragmatic and practical advice.  Similarly, her early experience at the criminal bar, during which time she prosecuted and defended in the Magistrates Court and Crown Courts provides her with an understanding of criminal law and practice.

Lara accepts instructions under Conditional Fee Agreements in appropriate cases. She is registered for direct access and in direct access matters is certified to conduct all aspects of litigation. She accepts a significant amount of her work from direct access clients.

Covid-19 and associated matters

During the Covid-19 pandemic Lara has been involved in a number of trials and hearings remotely, as well as conducting conferences and other such matters remotely. She is fully conversant with all remote platforms presently used such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype and Cloud Video Platform.

Lara is anticipating in the forthcoming months there will be many post Covid-19 disputes involving contract disputes (such as gazumping and more general disputes), general negligence, medical negligence and a multiplicity of employment disputes, for which she is ready to represent clients in such matters.

Commercial and chancery

Overview

Lara has considerable experience of company, commercial and contract law having first practiced in the area in 2000.  She is regularly instructed to provide urgent advice in relation to restrictive covenants, confidentiality obligations, intellectual property rights, senior employees/directors and employers on the imposition and breach of fiduciary obligations/duties, minority shareholders and unfair prejudice petitions and injunctions, advising and representing both individuals and companies.

Lara’s contract law cases often involve building disputes, joint ventures, sale of goods, consumer credit, commercial agency, insurance and guarantees.

Personal Injury and Fatal Accidents

Overview

Lara has extensive experience of personal injury claims representing both Claimants and Defendants. National and regional firms instruct her. She is regularly instructed on cases in which the value exceeds £1million, but will also undertake high-end fast track work and all levels of multi track work.

Lara has extensive advocacy experience in long and short trials and applications, in addition to advising and settling statement of case, schedules and counter schedules of loss, and professional and lay conferences, mediations, and round table discussions.

Lara’s personal injury and fatal accident work includes all aspects such as road traffic accidents, employers liability (including stress at work claims), occupiers’ liability, Animals Act claims, defective premises, industrial injury and illness, nuisance, Consumer Protection Act cases and general negligence. Lara is regularly instructed in cases involving mesothelioma and other asbestos related injuries, brain injuries, amputation and paraplegia claims.

Lara has been involved in claims and provided talks and seminars on issues such as fundamental dishonesty, collusion between parties to ‘stage’ accidents, exaggerated and fabricated claims. She advises on information searches, and analyses expert surveillance and engineering reports as well as enquiry agent and loss adjustor investigations. Lara also has extensive experience of jury and coroner only inquest hearings, representing bereaved families and other interested parties. She has appeared in workplace health and safety inquests, for employees crushed or otherwise fatally injured whilst operating machinery and/or working in unsafe systems of work.

Land and Property (including Inheritance Act or TOLATA)

Overview

Lara’s real property work regularly involves her being instructed to in the areas of boundary disputes, restrictive covenants, easements, mortgages and charges, adverse possession, nuisance and trespass. In respect of landlord and tenant work she undertakes a broad range of work in this field. It covers both residential and commercial property and includes advising, drafting and advocacy. She is frequently instructed in possession actions by both tenants and landlords, which regularly include a number of local authorities and housing associations. She is experienced in dealing with a range of claims dealing with breaches of covenant, particularly quiet enjoyment and disrepair. She has been involved in a number of cases concerning anti-social behaviour. Her commercial work includes lease renewal disputes, forfeiture and disrepair. Her agricultural work includes farm business tenancies and agricultural occupancies.

Lara’s property work has included planning law in which she has been instructed by those seeking planning permission and local authorities which have had claims threatened or issued against them.

Lara is regularly instructed in TOLATA claims usually arising from the breakdown of a relationship or due to personal insolvency and/or debt recovery. She also undertakes work in respect of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. She has experience of the more specialised tribunals, such as the Land Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).

Professional Negligence including Clinical Negligence

Overview

Lara’s practice includes professional negligence work in which again she takes instructions from both Claimants and Defendants, such claims often being brought against, solicitors, surveyors and conveyancers.

Lara has a successful high value clinical negligence practice, where her compassionate approach allows vulnerable and often distressed clients to feel as at ease as possible and to have confidence in her expertise.

Employment law

Overview

Lara represents both employees and employers in all aspects of employment law. Lara is able to advise and represent employers in the county court and employment tribunal claims in matters such as their rights and responsibilities in the workplace in matters such as  sick leave, maternity, paternity and parental rights, policies and procedures, grievance and disciplinary matters, drafting and negotiating on compromise agreements, and redundancy procedures; essentially, in defending any proceedings brought against them by employees or former employees as well as general advising work.

In respect of advising and representing employees Lara undertakes all aspects of employment law including unfair dismissal, compromise agreements, race, sex, disability or age discrimination, redundancy, bullying, harassment or TUPE. It is expected that the Covid-19 pandemic will result in a large number of employment disputes for which Lara is ready to assist.

Other Civil Work

Lara has undertaken a number of cases in which claims have been brought or defended in respect of slander and defamation matters.

She also undertakes many civil applications under the CPR, including: admissibility of expert evidence, cost capping, interim payments, summary judgment, provisional damages, strike out and relief from sanctions.

Biographical and Other Information

  • Academic
  • Lara obtained a First Class LLB Honours Degree from Exeter University along with numerous prizes and a Scholarship from Lincolns Inn.
  • Membership
  • She is a member of the PIBA and the PNBA.
  • Appointed
  • She is certified to conduct all areas of litigation in the same manner as a solicitor would, as well as providing all the usual services of a barrister.

Civil Law team members