Lara McDonnell

  • Year of Call 2015

Introduction

Introduction

Lara is a sought after civil practitioner with a wealth of experience in property law, personal injury / RTA claims and shipping disputes; before being called to the Bar in 2015 she was a solicitor for over a decade.

Lara has a rich and varied legal background. In 2003 she qualified in South Africa as an attorney, conveyancer and notary public. She emigrated to England and in 2004 qualified as an English solicitor. She also qualified as a notary public of England & Wales in 2008. Lara commenced practice in England working with a large regional firm, specialising in property law.  She then extended her practice into the niche area of shipping, working in the City for almost a decade.

She obtained higher rights of audience in April 2015 and was called to the Bar six months later.

As a property specialist with broad experience and particular expertise in Landlord & Tenant and Real Property, Lara offers expedient advice and robust advocacy before the courts and tribunals.

Lara's practice has branched into personal injury and Road Traffic Accident claims, advising on both liability and quantum. 

Within her maritime practice, Lara adopts a commercial approach when dealing with disputes, with her clients’ best interests always at the forefront of her mind.

She accepts instructions from solicitors but is also fully accredited by the Bar Standards Board to accept instructions direct from individuals and businesses including shipowners, charterers and insurers.

Shipping

Shipping

Lara has experience dealing with all aspects of shipping and maritime disputes before arbitration tribunals and the courts. She has also been actively involved in mediating disputes. She has particular expertise dealing with charterparty disputes.

Lara receives instructions from owners, charterers and P&I Clubs. She has delivered seminars on current developments in maritime law to P&I Clubs and has written articles for their publications.

Lara's experience includes:

  • Representing charterers in a claim against owners for conversion of cargo/bunkers onboard a vessel.
  • Briefed to provide an advice on the prospects of arresting a vessel in the UAE.
  • Briefed by a P & I Club to commence arbitration proceedings against charterers in a complex demurrage claim.
  • A commercial matter concerning title to a power generating barge located in Ecuador. The barge was sold for US$ 35 million, which comprised the quantum of the claim. The matter settled two days into trial.

Property

Property

Lara’s property experience is broad: she has extensive experience dealing with Landlord and Tenant and Real Property, the former including possession actions, disrepair claims, service charges, housing, dilapidations, injunctions and business tenancies. Lara has efficiently and effectively dealt with disputes relating to trusts of land, co-ownership, adverse possession, Party Walls, boundary disputes, nuisance, licences and easements.

She has experience in the High Court, before appeal courts and in county courts, as well as before Tribunals.

Some of Lara's recent successes include:

  • Appealing a Party Wall surveyor's award, recovering 100% fees for the property developer client, October 2018.
  • Briefed in an urgent application to suspend a warrant to be executed later the same day, successful, October 2018.
  • Suspending a warrant granted to a local Borough Council. Permission to appeal applied for by the Council, contested and refused, 2018.
  • Securing possession for executors on the basis of trespass; recovered full costs, 2017.
  • Briefed by a defendant property developer in respect of a claim for a party wall surveyor's fees. Secured a dismissal with costs, 2017.
  • Dismissing a claim for property management fees, 2017.
  • Obtaining enforcement of a consent order for the sale of the defendant's property, 2017.

Contract

Contract

Lara deals with a wide range of contractual disputes. Her practice primarily focuses on real property, including building and construction, property management, loan agreements, tenancy issues, party wall and boundary disputes.

In addition, she deals with maritime litigation and arbitration including disputes under charterparties and Bills of Lading, ship arrests, MOA disputes and Admiralty cases.

Some of Lara's recent successes include:

  • Obtaining leave to appeal against the judgment of a Deputy District Judge concerning my client's liability in respect of a Santander loan agreement.
  • Claiming monies paid under a rental hire agreement and securing a strike-out of the defendant company's counterclaim for vehicle damage. Costs awarded.
  • Attending to various building contract disputes.

Arbitration & Mediation

Arbitration & Mediation

Lara has handled numerous arbitrations conducted under a wide variety of arbitration rules (including LMAA, GAFTA and FOSFA).

She has extensive experience of mediation, both in acting for parties involved in mediations and is available to act as a mediator.

Insurance

Insurance

Lara deals with commercial and private insurance disputes arising in all areas. Coming from a family background in insurance, she specialised in insurance law at University obtaining a first-class pass.

She has represented marine insurers and P & I Clubs whilst in practice as a shipping solicitor and continues to act for insurers and P & I Clubs as a barrister.

In her personal injury / RTA practice she has experience acting for and against large motor insurers.

Personal Injury

Personal Injury

Lara advises on quantum and liability and appears regularly in the County Courts. She receives repeat instructions from various firms of solicitors and insurers and accepts direct access briefs. 

Some of Lara's recent successes include:

  • Recovering substantial damages for a minor involved in a Road Traffic Accident. The particular vulnerabilities of the minor, who suffered from severe anxiety and asthma, assisted in increasing the award, November 2018.
  • Obtaining an award for 100% liability against the defendant driver, costs awarded in full, November 2018.
  • Recovering full loss of earnings and substantial other special and general damages for the claimant, who was injured whilst cycling, against defendant insurers, October 2018.
  • Opposing a transfer from the multi to the fast track, which would have a dire impact on recovering the claimant's costs, October 2018.
  • Setting aside a default judgment for some £7,000 and obtaining an award for costs, rare in such applications, September 2018.
  • Fast track trial against a large motor insurer, recovered damages to include additional damages of 10% as we beat our Part 36 offer, August 2018.
  •  Successfully applied to set aside a default judgment granted in a Road Traffic Accident claim and avoided bearing the costs of the application, August 2018.
  • Striking out the claimant's claim in respect of a Road Traffic Accident and obtaining re-imbursement for payments made. Costs awarded against the large insurer claimant, payable forthwith, August 2018.

Publications

Publications

Article published on the apportionment of damages in shipping collision cases in the Annual Report of a large insurer.

Seminars

Seminars

Lara has presented seminars to a number of P & I Clubs on various shipping related topics, including the correct measure of damages in time charterparty disputes, mitigation of damages and time bars.

Qualifications

Qualifications

Bachelor of Commerce, University of Cape Town.
Bachelor of Laws, University of Cape Town [Dean's Merit List].
Postgraduate Diploma in Notarial Practice, University of Cambridge.

Memberships

Memberships

Chancery Bar Association

Property Bar Association

London Maritime Arbitrators Association - LMAA

London Maritime Arbitrators Association (supporting member)

Admiralty Bar Group

London Shipping Law Centre

Testimonials

Testimonials

Some of Lara's recent testimonials include the following:
 
  • "Thank you so much for all your hard work", Party Wall dispute - successful appeal for a London, property developer client, 09.10.18.
  • Following a recent, successful personal injury trial against a large motor insurer, solicitors who instruct me regularly responded to the outcome with appreciation, stating: "Dear Lara, that's great! Many thanks for your assistance" 10.08.18. 
  • "Thanks so much for your attendance note, and a bigger thank you for attending and achieving a fantastic result! I hope to be able to instruct you further on future cases." Instructing solicitor, Road Traffic Accident claim, 06.08.18.
  • “Dear Lara, thank you for your email and once again for securing this brilliant outcome for our client. The family were thrilled and are very grateful to you.” – Instructing solicitor, Property litigation 06.07.18
  • “Thank you Lara for your hard work and successful outcome. I am sure the clients were pleased with the outcome.” – Instructing solicitor, Housing case 18.06.18
  • "Dear Lara, thank you very much for your efficient handling of this assignment."  - Long-standing, commercial client
  • "I would like to thank you for your quick response and the level of service provided." - Regular client

 

 

Direct Access

Direct Access

Lara is accredited to accept work under Direct access, also known as Public access, in suitable cases. In order to instruct Lara on a Direct access basis, contact the clerks on +44 (0) 20 7242 6476 or at clerks@33bedfordrow.co.uk. 

Awards & Prizes

Awards & Prizes

  • Merit list of the Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Cape Town.
  • Highest mark at The School of Legal Practice (established by the Law Society of South Africa to provide postgraduate, vocational courses for law graduates) in: (1) commercial contracts, (2) constitutional law and procedure, (3) matrimonial matters and (4) business management.