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Lauren Godfrey
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'A razor-sharp cross-examiner'

Legal 500

'Very robust in court'

Chambers UK

'Incredibly responsive and approachable'

Chambers UK

Lauren’s practice covers commercial, corporate, chancery, discrimination, employment and property disputes and engages issues of professional negligence, restraint of trade, breach of fiduciary duties, confidential information, intellectual property rights and data protection.

Lauren has acted for a full range of clients including banks, insurers, finance companies, directors, shareholders, partners, senior employees, local authorities, central government, trade unions, and not-for-profit entities.

Prior to the Bar, Lauren had a successful career as a senior trade union advocate representing executive and senior staff in the telecoms sector, the civil service and the NHS.

Lauren has twelve years’ experience as a sessional law lecturer principally teaching Labour Law.

Employment & Executive Disputes

Lauren has considerable experience of a full range of employment and equality disputes acting for both respondents and claimants.

His expertise covers unfair dismissal, redundancy, restrictive covenants, union related issues/industrial relations, disability discrimination, breach of fiduciary duty and covenants restraining solicitation.

He has appeared in the Court of Appeal, the High Court, Employment Appeal Tribunal, Employment Tribunals and the County Court.

Relevant work:

  • Successfully defended claims brought by 16 claimants framed in unfair dismissal, redundancy and TUPE.
  • Thames Cleaning and Support Services Ltd v United Voices of the World and another [2016] EWHC 1310 (QB); [2016] IRLR 694; (2017) EMPLR 013: successful claim for an injunction where the High Court decided it could make an ‘exclusion zone’ injunction if a union threatens a mass protest at or near a place of work intended to intimidate and embarrass an employer into acceding to the union’s demands. This was also reported in New Law Journal.
  • Acting for a cleaning contractor in a claim in respect of union-related dismissal and detriment. This case is the subject of an appeal to the EAT.
  • Successfully representing one of the first female prison officers to work in the prison service in her discrimination-related dismissal claim at the Civil Service Appeal Board.
  • Successful appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) (President Underhill) of an Employment Judge’s refusal to accept a response out of time.
  • Acting for a local authority and three individuals also named as respondents, in an eight-day unfair dismissal and disability discrimination claim in the Employment Tribunal. The case was appealed to the Employment Appeals Tribunal on the basis of insufficient reasons (non-Meek compliant) and Lauren successfully defended that appeal.
  • Acted for a local authority in a seven-day final hearing in the Employment Tribunal mounting a successful defence to multiple claims brought by a former employee acting in person. The Judgment ran to over 65 pages.
  • Acted for a local authority in a long running equal pay multiple claim including advising on related pay modernisation issues.
  • Advised a local authority on industrial relations issues including strike action.
  • Acting against a public authority responsible for policing in London in a claim of unfair dismissal and detriment against a claimant after the making of public interest disclosures about a violent assault by a firearms officer on another police officer.
  • Advising a local authority on the application of TUPE to trade union recognition agreements.
  • High value restraint of trade case within the financial services industry listed in the High Court and concurrently in the Employment Tribunal involving issues of whistle-blowing, regulatory issues, repudiatory breach of contract, fiduciary duties, and also the subject of a High Court injunction.
  • Acting for a Claimant employee and shareholder seeking a declaration in a restraint of trade case involving issues such as garden leave; and the reasonableness of a restraint placed on an employee by a shareholder agreement.
  • Successful appeal to the Court of Appeal in a restraint of trade case where the covenant restraining solicitation was too wide to be enforced.
  • Several cases concerning recovery of PAYE tax payments from the Inland Revenue and/or employees.

Discrimination

Lauren has acted in many complex discrimination matters canvassing the full spectrum of protected characteristics.

Relevant work:

  • Representing Brighton and Hove City Council to the successful conclusion of their equal pay multiple.
  • Acting for a local authority and three individuals also named as respondents, in an 8-day unfair dismissal and disability discrimination claim in the Employment Tribunal. The case was appealed to the Employment Appeals Tribunal on the basis of insufficient reasons (non-Meek compliant) and Lauren successfully defended that appeal.
  • Successfully representing one of the first female prison guards in her claim of unfair dismissal and discrimination against the Home Office.

Trade Unions

Lauren has acted in a number of high-profile trade union related matters including:

  • Thames Cleaning and Support Services Ltd v United Voices of the World and another [2016] EWHC 1310 (QB); [2016] IRLR 694; (2017) EMPLR 013: successful claim for an injunction where the High Court decided it could make an ‘exclusion zone’ injunction if a union threatens a mass protest at or near a place of work intended to intimidate and embarrass an employer into acceding to the union’s demands. This was also reported in New Law Journal.
  • Acting for a cleaning contractor in a claim in respect of union-related dismissal and detriment. This case is the subject of an appeal to the EAT on the question of whether wholly unlawful activities can still amount to trade union activities for the purposes of the TULR(C)A 1992 protections.
  • Advising Brighton and Hove City Council on the application of TUPE to trade union recognition agreements.
  • Advised a local authority on industrial relations issues including strike action.

Banking & Finance

Lauren has considerable experience within the financial sector particularly in relation to claims involving restraint of trade and employment issues. Further detail of his employment practice can be found on his Employment tab.

Relevant work:

  • A number of confidential information claims within the financial services industry involving issues of fraud, whistle-blowing, regulatory issues, repudiatory breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • A complex Data Protection Act claim in the County Court brought by executive level employee. Lauren acted for the global financial institution successfully defending the claim.
  • Advising and representing a high-profile senior sales executive in the financial services industry in a High Court claim engaging regulatory issues, repudiatory breach of contract, fiduciary duties and restrictive covenants.
  • Advising on compliance with FSA and now FCA regulatory requirements.

Civil Fraud & Asset Tracing

Lauren has extensive experience advising on and acting in matters relating to fraud and breach of fiduciary duties.

Relevant work:

  • Acted for the claimant company in the High Court case of Intellimedia Systems Ltd v Richards & Streamvue Ltd, a case concerning the tracing of assets that had been stripped from the claimant company with international clients and transferred into a range of phoenix companies.
  • Acted for Landlord in relation to a claim for unpaid rent that was defended, and subject of a counterclaim, on the basis of a fraudulent transfer of the leased commercial property. The case was determined on the basis of breach of fiduciary duty and was subject of an appeal on both the Claim and Counterclaim to the Court of Appeal. The case evolved into a complex commercial dispute involving issues of fraud, tax avoidance, company law, foreign jurisdiction, insolvency law, professional negligence, solicitor’s duties, conveyancing, the effect of registration and trusts.
  • Acted for a minority shareholder in a s. 994 of the Companies Act action and related High Court claim against the majority shareholders including allegation (and counter-allegations) of fraud, dishonesty, and dissipation of company assets.
  • Claim for alleged fraud related to a scheme of development and an action on the contract for sale.

Commercial Arbitration

Lauren has acted in a number of cases involving arbitration clauses.

Relevant work:

  • A number of matters where injunctive relief has been sought to preserve corporate assets pending arbitration.
  • Lauren is currently acting in the arbitration of a dispute involving a veterinary practice.
  • A construction dispute where the Defendant was seeking to avoid the effect of an arbitration clause on the basis that it was vitiated by fraud.

Commercial Litigation

Lauren handles a wide variety of commercial disputes covering issues such as breach of contract, fraud, franchise agreements, commercial property, breach of fiduciary duty, copyright and data protection.

He has specific expertise in the context of confidential information and restraint of trade claims acting for both corporate entities and individuals departing corporate entities (see also his Employment tab).

Relevant work:

  • Successfully represented 10 executives in their claim of fraudulent misrepresentation against a London based fund manager where the misrepresentation had induced their multi-million-euro investment in an energy generation business.  The claim to recover the funds invested at the time of a high-profile sale of the business engaged events and considerations spanning a number of jurisdictions.
  • Successfully represented a former CEO of an international investment fund in her claim of “#me too” discrimination, breach of share purchase agreement, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty including both personal and corporate insolvency issues.
  • Claims involving issue estoppel, res judicata and abuse of process.
  • Complex commercial dispute involving issues of fraud, tax avoidance, company law, foreign jurisdiction, insolvency law, professional negligence, solicitor’s duties, conveyancing, the effect of registration and trusts.
  • High value claim involving issues of whistle-blowing, regulatory issues, repudiatory breach of contract and fiduciary duty and a High Court injunction.
  • Claim of breach of copyright and breach of fiduciary duties in the context of legal drafting for pension schemes.
  • Acted for a defendant firm of architects in a breach of copyright claim involving plans giving effect to a scheme of development.
  • Acting in a complex Data Protection Act dispute in the County Court acting for a large financial institution.
  • Advising on duties on the Data Protection Act and the interplay with the duty of disclosure in civil proceedings.
  • A high value springboard injunction claim where the departing managing director had misappropriated his former employer’s business.
  • Advising in a complex case engaging a franchise agreement, confidential information, fiduciary duties and restraint of trade.
  • Acting in a claim for breach of conversion, breach of restrictive covenants, breach of copyright, and breach of fiduciary duty in the light manufacturing industry.

Companies, Joint Ventures & Partnerships

Lauren has experience and expertise in director’s rights and duties, company and partnership law, and corporate disputes such as unfair prejudice petitions, derivative claims, and winding up.

Relevant work:

  • Acted for the claimant company in the High Court case of Intellimedia Systems Ltd v Richards & Streamvue Ltd, a case concerning the tracing of assets that had been stripped from the claimant company with international clients and transferred into a range of phoenix companies. Issues included breach of fiduciary duties, breach of copyright, actionable passing off, and conversion.
  • Acted for a minority shareholder in a s. 994 of the Companies Act action and related High Court claim against the majority shareholders including allegation (and counter-allegations) of fraud, dishonesty, and dissipation of company assets.
  • Successfully represented 10 executives in their claim of fraudulent misrepresentation against a London based fund manager where the misrepresentation had induced their multi-million-euro investment in an energy generation business.   The claim to recover the funds invested at the time of a high-profile sale of the business engaged events and considerations spanning a number of jurisdictions.
  • Successfully represented a former CEO of an international investment fund in her claim of “#me too” discrimination, breach of share purchase agreement, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty including both personal and corporate insolvency issues.
  • Acted in a complex commercial dispute involving issues of fraud, tax avoidance, company law, foreign jurisdiction, insolvency law, professional negligence, solicitor’s duties, conveyancing, the effect of registration and trusts. The case was appealed to the Court of Appeal. A key issue in the appeal was the effect of automatic vesting of the property of a bankrupt under the Insolvency Act 1986.
  • Acting for the Claimant in a claim and related in interim application for an injunction preventing asset stripping and the appointment of a receiver to manage the company assets.
  • Multi-million claim for alleged breach of directors’ duties and restrictive covenants.
  • Case raising complex issues under the emerging law of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs).

Intellectual Property

Lauren has acted in many mortgage and real property disputes.

Relevant work:

  • Acted for the claimant company in the High Court case of Intellimedia Systems Ltd v Richards & Streamvue Ltd, a case concerning the tracing of assets, principally the IP in software, that had been stripped from the claimant company with international clients and transferred into a range of phoenix companies. Issues included breach of fiduciary duties, breach of copyright, actionable passing off, and conversion.
  • Acted for a retired pension expert defending a claim of breach of copyright, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duties in the context of the legal drafting for self-managed pension schemes. Listed for 2 days in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court.
  • Acted for a defendant firm of architects in a breach of copyright claim involving plans giving effect to a scheme of development where the plans were in the public domain. Listed for 5 days in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court.
  • Advised in a number of claims involving breach of trade mark and actionable passing off including the context of the break down in a franchise arrangement.
  • Regularly acts in cases of data theft, breach of confidence, and related contractual and equitable claims.

Company Directors' Disqualification

Lauren has acted for a number of individuals defending disqualification proceedings and has also advised corporates about pursuing private disqualification proceedings.

Construction Insolvency

Lauren has acted in a range of a matters involving insolvency in the construction industry.

Corporate Insolvency

Lauren has acted in a range of insolvency matters involving corporate insolvency, preferential payments, director disqualification, and the powers and functions of administrators and receivers.

Relevant work:

  • Several complex insolvency cases including issues regarding director duties and preferential payments to family members and related corporate entities.
  • Advice on the role of a liquidator in the context of a voluntary company administration and the effect on professional duties owed by a solicitor instructed by the liquidator in the currency of the company liquidation when the liquidation is reversed.
  • Acted in a complex commercial dispute involving issues of fraud, tax avoidance, company law, foreign jurisdiction, insolvency law, professional negligence, solicitor’s duties, conveyancing, the effect of registration and trusts. The case was appealed to the Court of Appeal. A key issue in the appeal was the effect of automatic vesting of the property of a bankrupt under the Insolvency Act 1986.
  • Acting for the Claimant in a claim and related in interim application for an injunction preventing asset stripping and the appointment of a receiver to manage the company assets.

Personal Insolvency

Lauren has acted regularly for petitioning creditors and debtors in personal insolvency matters including a full range of interim applications. Lauren’s longest running case (5.5 years including two Court of Appeal hearings) involved issues of personal insolvency and specifically the effect of property vesting automatically in a trustee on bankruptcy and the effect of annulment of the bankruptcy on litigation already commenced in respect of the vested property (among other issues).

Litigation Insurance

Lauren has experience of cases where insurance policies including after the event insurance policies have been avoided, or sought to be avoided, acting for and against insurance companies.

Insurance Funded Disputes

Lauren is regularly asked to advise in matters for the purposes of obtaining insurance funding and has acted in a broad range of insurance funded matters.

Insurance Coverage

Lauren has acted in a number of cases involving the scope of insurance cover and also where insurers have attempted to avoid cover on the basis of material non-disclosure and fraud. Lauren successfully defended three defendants facing criminal contempt proceedings after a finding of fundamental dishonesty in the County Court which resulted in their insurance cover being avoided.

Contentious Probate & Inheritance Act Claims

Lauren has experience of probate matters and Inheritance Act claims.

Trusts including TOLATA

Lauren has experience both of TOLATA and trust disputes, particularly those involving land.

Relevant work:

  • Acted in a commercial property dispute involving issues of fraud, tax avoidance, company law, foreign jurisdiction, insolvency law, professional negligence, solicitor’s duties, conveyancing, the effect of registration and trusts. The Court of Appeal decided a preliminary issue in favour of Lauren’s client and the case was settled on favourable terms. A key issue in this appeal is the effect of automatic vesting of the property of a bankrupt under the Insolvency Act 1986.
  • Acted in enforcement proceedings for the sale of two properties where the properties were owned jointly by the fraudster and his (innocent) wife.
  • Acted for a claimant company seeking the return of assets held on trust due to the dishonest misappropriation of the assets by a former director of the company.

Professional Discipline

Lauren has acted in range of professional discipline matters including:

  • An appeal to the High Court against a ‘striking off’ of a social worker for admitted dishonesty: see The Queen (On the Application of Elizabeth David) v Healthcare Professionals Council [2015] EWHC 4082 (Admin); [2015] 11 WLUK 481.
  • Advising two FCA regulated individuals on their obligations in respect of their employment with a large provider of investment products.
  • Representing a Doctor who had plead guilty to perverting the course of the justice before the MPTS defending against striking off for admitted dishonesty. Lauren obtained an order for a three-month suspension.

Commercial Landlord & Tenant

Lauren regularly accepts instructions in relation to Commercial Property.

Relevant work:

  • Acted in a complex commercial dispute involving issues of fraud, tax avoidance, company law, foreign jurisdiction, insolvency law, professional negligence, solicitor’s duties, conveyancing, the effect of registration and trusts. The case was appealed to the Court of Appeal. A key issue in the appeal was the effect of automatic vesting of the property of a bankrupt under the Insolvency Act 1986.
  • Acting for a tenant defending a landlord’s claim for forfeiture and counterclaiming for relief from forfeiture.
  • Acting for a commercial landlord in a claim for unpaid rent, dilapidations, review clause and under a contractual indemnity. Lauren successfully applied for recusal of a Judge who had reserved case management of the claim to himself.

Housing (Social & Privately Rented)

Lauren has extensive experience of housing disputes including injunctions, possession, and disrepair.

Leasehold & Leasehold Management

Lauren has acted in a number of cases relating to the forfeiture of leasehold property, service charge claims, and breach of covenant specifically in relation to improvements and quiet enjoyment.

Real Property & Mortgages

Lauren has acted in many mortgage and real property disputes.

Relevant work:

  • Acting in a case alleging mortgage fraud including allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation, undue influence, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence.
  • Acted in a claim of adverse possession of Crown land raising complex issues in relation to the transitional provisions under the Land Registration Act 2002.
  • Acted for two defendants in two conjoined cases with different claimants disputing rights of way, boundaries, and injunctions in respect of land.

Costs Litigation

Lauren has extensive experience of costs litigations including costs only appeals, challenges to retainers, litigation concerning the enforceability of CFAs, costs budgeting, relief from sanction, and litigation defending against bills of costs where solicitors have been negligent or in breach of professional duty.

Directory recommendations

Lauren is recommended in both Chambers UK and Legal 500 for Employment and in Chambers UK for Commercial Dispute Resolution.

  • “Very good on paperwork, fabulous with clients, responsive and very approachable.” (Chambers & Partners)
  • “He is extremely approachable, client-friendly and willing to go the extra mile to get the job done.” – Chambers & Partners
  • “A razor-sharp cross-examiner” – Legal 500.
  • “He’s very clear – clients like him because he is firm and easy to understand” – Chambers & Partners.
  • “He does very detailed and very clear pleadings and he is very robust in court. He knows the pressures solicitors are working to and definitely tries to turn things around quickly” – Chambers & Partners.

Professional associations

  • Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Employment Lawyers Association
  • Employment Lawyers Bar Association
  • Institute of Directors
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
  • Property Bar Association

Qualifications

  • ADRg accredited mediator
  • International Advocacy Course, Keble College
  • LLB, Birkbeck College (First)
  • BVC, Inns of Court
  • BA, History (First)
  • Advanced Certificate, Chartered Institute of Marketing

CSR

Lauren is a trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the West Pier Trust.

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