Clara Johnson

Clara Johnson

Profile

A junior with a well-established practice in Restructuring and Insolvency, Civil Fraud and Company law. Clara regularly accepts instructions on behalf of office holders, directors, bankrupts, creditors, shareholders and private clients. Her cases frequently involve issues of jurisdiction and applicable law and require urgent injunctive relief. Clara also has particular experience of sanctions issues, having recently acted for the joint liquidators of a Guernsey company whose 50% ultimate beneficial owner is the Libyan Investment Authority; and for two defendants in case where it was alleged the sale of an oil rig was in breach of EU sanctions: IOEC v Dean  8 ors [2019] 1 WLR 82.

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, director’s disqualification proceedings and all aspects of bankruptcy. Clara also acts for liquidators and receivers in relation to confiscation proceedings and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.  

Clara is frequently instructed on cases which have cross-border elements, or where urgent injunctive relief is required (most often, freezing or asset preservation orders, including worldwide freezing orders, where assets are located out of the jurisdiction), freezing orders against third parties under the Chabra jurisdiction, orders for disclosure in relation to the whereabouts of assets or the tracing of funds and orders for cross-examination. 

Recent cases include: Maplecross Properties Limited (In Liquidation): acting for the joint liquidators of a Guernsey company (whose 50% beneficial owner is the Libyan Investment Authority) in relation to sanctions issues raised by the sale of property in England; BHS Limited v Chappell & 2 ors: acting for former director of BHS Limited in relation to ongoing disqualification proceedings brought by the Secretary of State; Hilsdon v Weir [2017] EWHC 983; [2017] B.P.I.R 1088: appeal by bankrupt against order suspending discharge from bankruptcy indefinitely. Nugee J gave helpful guidance in relation to the limited circumstances in which orders for indefinite suspension may be made.

Civil Fraud

Clara’s civil fraud practice has particular emphasis on multijurisdictional claims, which raise issues of jurisdiction, foreign law and international sanctions.  Clara is regularly instructed by private clients, as well as liquidators and other office holders in cases where there are allegations of tax fraud, misappropriations of assets or fraudulent trading. Her practice also extends to claims involving bribery, conspiracy, knowing assistance and breach of trust in a range of civil and commercial contexts. 

Recent cases include: IOEC v Dean & 8 ors [2018] EWHC 2759; [2019] 1 WLR 82: represented two defendants in relation to a claim for $87m arising out of the purchase of an oil rig in Iran; 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.

Company/Shareholder Disputes

Clara regularly acts for claimants and defendants in shareholder and/ or company law disputes, including claims against directors, unfair prejudice petitions, winding up petitions and derivative claims. Recent cases include: Cunningham v Resourceful Land Limited [2018] EWHC 1185; [2018] 2 B.C.L.C 521: represented defendants in relation to claim for allegedly wrongful use of ‘Drag Along’ provisions in a Shareholders’ Agreement; Stubbins Marketing Limited v Stubbins Food Partnerships Limited & 6 ors (ChD, 2019): acting for claimant in ongoing proceedings against former directors, seeking £18m in relation to a management buyout and breaches of fiduciary duty; Biscardi v Springer (ChD, 2019): representing petitioner in ongoing section 994 petition against 50% shareholder, in respect of a quasi-partnership company. 

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 and Partners 2019

  • "She is technically brilliant and an extremely able barrister who is very easy to deal with. She is very bright, analyses things well and represents clients very well in court."
  • "She is very hard-working and provides confident advice." 
  • Restructuring/ Insolvency

Chambers and 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

Chambers and Partners 2017

  • 'She is personable and provides practical, timely advice.'
  • Restructuring/ Insolvency

Chambers and 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 (2018)

  • ‘Good attention to detail and a calm manner with clients.’
  • Insolvency: Leading Junior

Legal 500 (2017)

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

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