lara full 1 - Lara Spencer

Lara Spencer

Civil Barrister
  • Year of Call
  • 2000; Head of Civil

Civil Law


Lara is the head of our Civil Team in Chambers.

Lara has represented both Claimants and Defendants in a variety of matters for over 20 years and has appeared before most Courts and many different Tribunals. 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. 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 KCs. Although based in Exeter, Lara undertakes court work throughout England and Wales. Lara’s wide common law practice affords her with a thorough understanding of the processes and tactics of civil law and litigation, and enables her to provide specialist, 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, and her continued work there in planning and environmental matters, provides her with a continued specialist knowledge and experience of criminal law and practice.

Lara is registered to accept direct public access instructions and in these matters is certified to conduct all aspects of litigation.

Commercial and chancery


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.

Land and Property (including Inheritance Act or TOLATA)


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).

Planning and Environmental Law


Lara is instructed regularly by Local Authorities or those representing those affected by Local Authorities’ decisions and/or enforcement proceedings. Lara also accepts instructions on a direct access and/or public access basis in respect of all aspects of planning and environmental law.

She has particular expertise in planning enforcement matters with successes for Local Authority clients throughout the South of England which include the recovery of significant costs in addition to major fines. Lara has also successfully represented those on the receiving end of planning enforcement proceedings.

Lara has been involved in cases for listed buildings consent cases and other cases where listed buildings consent has not been obtained (when it should have been) and buildings have been damaged or destroyed. She also represents the parties involved in planning appeals and planning inquiries.

In respect of statutory nuisances, Lara advises on all aspects of abatement notices and the appeals of such notices. She is regularly involved in representing all relevant parties and in proceedings which range from small domestic to large commercial activities or premises.

Personal Injury and Fatal Accidents


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.

Professional Negligence including Clinical Negligence


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


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