Clara Johnson

Clara Johnson

Profile

Insolvency

Clara has significant experience in all aspects of insolvency law and is frequently instructed to act for office holders, directors, creditors and individual debtors. Her experience extends to fraudulent and wrongful trading claims, misfeasance and breach of fiduciary duty, unlawful distributions, disputes involving trusts of land, antecedent transactions, provisional liquidations, liquidators’ remuneration and all aspects of bankruptcy. Clara also acts for liquidators and receivers in relation to confiscation proceedings and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Recent cases include:

Bridging Loans UK Limited v Wild & 5 ors (ChD, 2017): claims brought by liquidator against former directors for misappropriation of assets and antecedent transactions against third party recipients of property. Obtained ex parte freezing orders.
Greenoaks Pharmacy Limited v Patel (ChD, 2017): claims brought by liquidator against former director for misfeasance / breach of fiduciary duty for misappropriation of assets. Obtained freezing orders against the director and third party under the Chabra jurisdiction.
Hilsdon v Weir [2017] EWHC 983: appeal by bankrupt against order suspending discharge from bankruptcy indefinitely. Nugee J gave helpful guidance in relation to the limited circumstances in which such orders may be made.
Inn Take (UK) Limited v Lyall and 3 ors (ChD, 2016): claims brought by the liquidator for fraudulent trading in relation to a “creditor-resistance” fraud committed against the UK’s largest utility companies.
Coventry v Lawrence [2015] UKSC 50: an appeal to the Supreme Court concerning the compatibility of the Access to Justice Act 1999 (under which success fees and ATE insurance premiums could be recovered by way of costs from the losing party) with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Listowel Trading Limited v Patterson (ChD, 2015): claims brought by liquidator against former director for wrongful trading. Court applied Re Purpoint Ltd [1991] BCC 121 (compensation was equal to the aggregate debts incurred after the relevant date).
Parkwell Investments Limited v HMRC [2014] EWHC 3381: application by company to set aside the appointment of the provisional liquidator. Sir William Blackburn declined to require HMRC to provide a cross-undertaking in damages by a condition of the continuation of the order, applying Financial Services Authority v Sinaloa Gold Limited [2013] UKSC 11.
• Advising liquidator of Guernsey company in relation to the effect of economic sanctions imposed under EU Council Regulation 2016/44. 
• Advising group of creditors in relation to an application to remove administrators.

Civil Fraud

Clara has a broad practice in Civil Fraud. She has acted for liquidators in respect of claims involving VAT, MTIC and “creditor resistance” fraud; frequently advises on claims under section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (transactions defrauding creditors); and is regularly instructed to obtain urgent injunctive relief.

Recent cases include:

OJSC Aeroflot v Berezovsky & Forus Group (ChD, 2017): obtained freezing orders against the Defendants and permission to enforce the order in Switzerland (applying the Dadourian Guidelines).
BFS Group Limited v Ricotta (QBD, 2017): acted for group of defendants in claims brought by BFS for rescission of a share purchase agreement worth £45 million on the grounds of bribery and deceit.
• Acted for Claimant in relation to a claim against a bank which became constructive trustee of monies paid into an account which were the proceeds of a fraud and of which the bank had constructive notice.
• Representing group of companies in relation to claims against former directors for recovery of secret profits arising out of the sub-sale of group of properties.
• Advising company in relation to claims against former joint venture partner and surveyor for deceit, dishonest assistance and conspiracy in relation to the development of a hotel in Witney.

Commercial

Clara has extensive experience of commercial disputes acting for companies, directors, banks and other financial institutions in disputes involving issues of agency, the sale of goods, franchise agreements and guarantees. She has significant experience of conflict of laws issues, including jurisdiction, applicable law and service.

Recent cases include:

Northern Gas & Power Limited & Islam v Quantum Law & 4 ors (QBD, 2018): representing claimants in claim against former solicitor and others for breaches of confidence, misuse of confidential information and associated economic torts. Obtained injunctive relief pending trial.
Smart Roofing Supplies Limited & 3 ors v Vronkskis (2017): represented claimants in claim against former director in relation to unlawful interference with business by fraud and deception. Obtained declarations and permanent injunctions.
Red Rock Entertainment Limited (ChD, 2017): acted for claimant in claims against film production company for return of investors’ monies in films and enforcement of guarantee.
Belgravia v Exterion Media (UK) Limited (QBD, 2014): represented Defendant in relation to a claim for damages arising out of the failure to display the Claimant’s advertisements in tube car panels. The claim raised important points of agency and the law of undisclosed principals.

Company/Shareholder Disputes

Clara regularly acts for claimants and defendants in shareholder disputes and / or company law disputes.

Recent examples include:

Cunningham v Resourceful Land Limited (ChD, 2018): representing defendants in relation to claim for allegedly wrongful use of ‘Drag Along’ provisions in a Shareholders’ Agreement.
Biscardi v Springer (ChD, 2018): representing petitioner in section 994 petition against respondent in respect of a quasi-partnership company.
• Advising shareholders in relation to claims arising out of the exclusion from management, breach of pre-emption rights and misappropriation of assets.
• Advising directors / shareholders in relation to the validity of resolutions passed at a members’ meeting and the application of Re Duomatic.

Public Access

Clara is Public Access trained and available for instruction on that basis. This means that she can receive instructions, in appropriate cases, directly from members of the public or on behalf of companies, partnerships or other entities. Please speak with our clerks for further information. For guidance on Public Access please visit the Bar Council website.

Legal Directories

Chambers & Partners 2018
'She is very good on the paperwork, knowledgeable on the law and provides good client service - she is proactive and commercial.' 'She works extremely hard for her clients and goes the extra mile.' 'She is user-friendly, practical and efficient'.
Restructuring/ Insolvency

Legal 500 2017
‘She takes a commercial and practical approach to litigation.’
Insolvency: Leading Junior

Chambers & Partners 2017
'She is personable and provides practical, timely advice.'
Restructuring/ Insolvency

Chambers & Partners 2016
'She deals with papers and advice promptly and her advice is sound and succinct.' 'She's an excellent insolvency lawyer who rolls up her sleeves and really gets stuck into cases. She cares about what she's doing and will go above and beyond to make sure she's covered every angle.'
Restructuring/ Insolvency

Legal 500 2015
'Spots things that others miss.'
Insolvency: Leading junior

Legal 500 2014
'Excels at unraveling complex and difficult issues.'
Insolvency: Leading junior

Legal 500 2012
'Hugely helpful.'
Insolvency:Leading junior

Memberships

LCLCBA

Qualifications

BA (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) University College, Oxford; LLM (with Distinction) (Legal and Political Philosophy) University College, London