Clara Johnson Called to the Bar 2005
Clara has a well-established practice in Restructuring and Insolvency, Civil Fraud and Company law. She has been recommended as a leading junior for Restructuring and Insolvency for a number of years in both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.
Clara is frequently instructed to act for office holders, directors, creditors and individual debtors in all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency. Her recent experience includes acting for the Joint Administrators of Mothercare UK Limited and for a group of creditors in the administration of BetIndex Limited. She has particular experience of provisional liquidations (she is currently instructed as leading counsel in Mercy Global Consult Limited and acted for the provisional liquidator in Parkwell Investments Limited). She also has particular experience of acting in cases where urgent injunctive relief is required, most often, freezing or asset preservation orders, freezing orders against third parties under the Chabra jurisdiction, search orders, orders for disclosure in relation to the whereabouts of assets or the tracing of funds under section 236 of the Insolvency Act and the Bankers Trust jurisdiction.
Clara is often instructed on cases which have cross-border elements or raise issues of jurisdiction, including acting for Banco Santander in its successful jurisdiction challenge to claims brought by ING Bank: ING Bank NV v Banco Santander SA  EWHC 3561; acting for the creditors of BetIndex Limited (a Jersey company seeking an administration order in England under the Insolvency Act 1986); and acting for the Joint Liquidators of Joannou & Paraskevaides (Overseas) Limited, a Guernsey company with claims against defendants domiciled outside of the jurisdiction.
Clara’s civil fraud practice has particular emphasis on multijurisdictional claims in a range of civil and commercial contexts. She is currently acting for the Joint Liquidators of Joannou & Paraskevaides (Overseas) Limited in respect of claims brought for unlawful means conspiracy and fraudulent trading. Clara was also junior counsel to Aeroflot in OJSC Aeroflot v Berezovsky & Forus Group in its application for freezing orders and for permission to enforce them in Switzerland (applying the Dadourian Guidelines); and junior counsel to the Defendants in BFS Group Limited v Ricotta in a claim for rescission of a share purchase agreement worth £45 million on the grounds of bribery and deceit.
Clara regularly acts in shareholder and company law disputes, including claims against directors, unfair prejudice petitions, winding up petitions and derivative claims. Clara was recently junior counsel to the claimant in Stubbins Marketing Limited v Stubbins Food Partnerships Limited & 6 ors  EWHC 1266 in proceedings against its former directors in relation to a management buyout.
She is commended in the legal directories for providing “excellent advice” and as having “incredible” knowledge of the insolvency regime, as well as being “excellent on her feet” and “well-liked by clients”.
- Joannou & Paraskevaides (Overseas) Limited (In Liquidation): acting as junior counsel to the Joint Liquidators of a Guernsey company with construction business based in Middle East, Libya and Cyprus, with debts of c.$1b. Proceedings issued in Guernsey for unlawful means conspiracy, wrongful trading, fraudulent trading and breach of fiduciary duty. Led by Philip Marshall QC.
- BetIndex Limited: acted for group of creditors of Football Index in relation to the directors’ application to appoint administrators over Jersey registered company providing an online football betting service.
- Mercy Global Consult Limited (In Liquidation): acting for Liquidators in relation to claims arising out a VAT fraud. Obtained freezing orders, asset preservation orders and search orders upon appointment as provisional liquidators, and extensive disclosure orders against banks under section 236 and the Bankers Trust jurisdiction.
- Service Terminal LLC v Drelle: acting for creditor in relation to a bankruptcy petition against the debtor in relation to a judgment debt obtained in Russia.
- Mothercare UK Limited (In Administration): acted for the joint administrators of Mothercare in relation to their application to obtain a retrospective administration order following Gregory v A.R.G. (Mansfield) Ltd  BCC 641, and an extension of the period of administration.
- TMG Brokers Ltd (In Liquidation)  EWHC 1379: acted for Liquidator in claims against two former directors and shareholders of the company, in relation to their misfeasance and breach of fiduciary duty.
- Ingram v Singh  EWHC 639: acted for Liquidator in the Inquiry as to loss against the former directors of the company found to have acted in breach of fiduciary duty.
- ING Bank NV v Banco Santander SA  EWHC 3561: acted for Banco Santander in its application against ING Bank challenging the jurisdiction of the court on the basis that the claim fell under the Insolvency Regulation 1346/2000 and within the bankruptcy exception under article 1(2)(b) under the Brussels Recast Regulation 1215/2012. Led by Robin Dicker QC.
- Maplecross Properties Limited (In Liquidation): advising Joint Liquidators of Guernsey company in relation to the realisation of assets (part of which are indirectly owned by the LIA).
- BHS Limited (In Liquidation): acted for former director of BHS Limited in relation to disqualification proceedings brought by the Secretary of State.
- Hilsdon v Weir  EWHC 983;  B.P.I.R 1088: appeal by bankrupt against order suspending discharge from bankruptcy indefinitely.
- Rahman v Pickard  EWHC 770: appeal by bankrupt’s spouse in relation to order for possession and sale of matrimonial property.
- Coventry v Lawrence  UKSC 50: acted for R3 as interveners in the Supreme Court costs appeal considering whether to strike-down CFAs under the Access to Justice Act (‘AJA’) scheme.
- Re Listowel Trading Limited (In Liquidation)  2WLUK 238: three-day trial against director for wrongful trading, misfeasance and breach of fiduciary duty.
- Re Parkwell Investments Limited  EWHC 3381;  BCC 721: acted for provisional liquidator in relation to the company’s appeal against the provisional liquidation order. Company alleged to be engaged in MTIC fraud.
- Ensygnia Limited v David Rickard  EWHC 1184: successfully represented creditor in opposition to an injunction restraining presentation of a winding up petition.
- Mahon v FBN Bank (UK) Limited  EWHC 1432;  BCLC 83: debtor’s appeal against order dismissing application setting aside statutory demand based on debt due under a personal guarantee.
- UK Communications Limited (In Liquidation) v Nahim  EWHC 1691: dishonest assistance and conspiracy arising out of MTIC fraud.
- Holmes v Mainstream Ventures Limited  EWHC 3330: costs following dismissal of winding petition.
- Brittain v Noskova  EWHC 2294: scope of a possession order under an order appointing an enforcement receiver.
- Official Receiver v Southey  BPIR 89: bankruptcy restrictions order.
- Kwaji v Shaw  EWHC 1467: Acting for Defendant in dispute concerning ownership of property, in which claimant alleges fraud and collusion. Obtained order for security for costs.
- The Belgravia Trichological Group Limited v Exterion Media (UK) Limited (QBD, 2014): acted as junior counsel to the defendant in respect of a claim for damages in respect of breach of an advertising agency contract. Led by Peter Knox QC.
- Intertrade Europe SRL & Intertrade Europe (UK) Limited v Pearce (ChD, 2011): obtained injunctions for the claimants to restrain defendant’s continued unlawful use of and access to its domain names
- Bird v Lantern Recovery LLP  EWHC 1379: acted for Defendants in relation to a claim for repayment of dividends (and other monies), which were waived as a result of the alleged undue influence of the defendant. Led by Thomas Roe QC.
- Stubbins Marketing Limited v Stubbins Food Partnerships Limited (In Administration) & 6 ors  EWHC 1266: acted as junior counsel to the claimant in respect of claims against former directors and related parties arising out of a management buyout. Led by Thomas Roe QC.
- Tonstate Group Limited; Matyas & ors v Wojakovski: acted for Petitioner in respect of s.994 petition in relation to the Tonstate Group companies, which purchased and developed Hilton Hotels. Acted in relation to mandatory injunction requiring the repayment of a director’s loan.
- Re Resourceful Earth Limited  EWHC 1185;  2 BCLC 251: represented defendants in relation to claim for allegedly wrongful use of ‘Drag Along’ provisions in a Shareholders’ Agreement.
- OEC v Dean & 8 ors  EWHC 2759;  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): acted as junior counsel to Aeroflot in relation to its applications for freezing orders against the Defendants and permission to enforce the orders in Switzerland (applying the Dadourian Guidelines). Led by Aidan Casey QC.
- BFS Group Limited v Ricotta (QBD, 2017): acted as junior counsel to a group of defendants in relation to claims brought by BFS for rescission of a share purchase agreement worth £45 million on the grounds of bribery and deceit. Led by Thomas Roe QC.
- Inn Take (UK) Limited (In Liquidation): three-day High Court trial against four defendants arising out of “creditor-resistance” fraud perpetrated against various utility companies.
- Re Parkwell Investments Limited  EWHC 3381;  BCC 721: acting for provisional liquidators in relation to the company’s appeal against the provisional liquidation order. Company alleged to be engaged in MTIC fraud.
- UK Communications Limited (In Liquidation) v Nahim  EWHC 1691: dishonest assistance and conspiracy arising out of MTIC fraud.
- Joannou & Paraskevaides (Overseas) Limited (In Liquidation): acting as junior counsel to the Joint Liquidators of a Guernsey company with construction business based in Middle East, Libya and Cyprus, with debts of c.$1b. Obtained recognition order under s.426 in High Court.
- Acting for Liquidator of group of companies, including a Guernsey limited partnership, in relation to claims against its directors and third parties for alleged fraudulent trading in relation to a scheme which defrauded hundreds of consumers.
- Maplecross Properties Limited (In Liquidation): advising Joint Liquidators of Guernsey company (whose 50% UBO is the Libyan Investment Fund) in relation to sanctions issues concerning the sale of land in England, the move from voluntary liquidation to compulsory liquidation and the merits of a claim against International Group pending in the High Court.
Chambers and Partners 2021
“She is really pleasant to deal with – very measured, very detailed and provides very good-quality advice. She is also understated on her feet and is calm, confident and assured in court”.
Chambers and Partners 2020
“Clara provides excellent advice and is well liked by clients, who appreciate her easy-going manner and team approach.”
“She is very impressive – she provides very clear advice and she knows where to push and how hard. She is very good tactically and intellectually, and her drafting and advocacy skills are very good.”
“Her knowledge of the insolvency regimen is incredible. She is very good with clients and sees their legal problems in a commercial context and finds solutions to difficult situations.”
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.”
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’.
Chambers and Partners 2017
‘She is personable and provides practical, timely advice.’
Chambers and Partners 2016
‘She deals with papers and advice promptly and her advice is sound and succinct.’
Legal 500 (2021)
“My go-to junior counsel for insolvency, complex fraud and asset recovery claims. She is calm in the face of pressure, regularly dealing with injunctions and urgent applications. She has a rightly deserved reputation for excellence in her practice areas’’.
Legal 500 (2020)
“She is excellent on her feet and her document work is superb”
Legal 500 (2018)
‘Good attention to detail and a calm manner with clients.’
Legal 500 (2017)
‘She takes a commercial and practical approach to litigation.’
Legal 500 (2015)
‘Spots things that others miss.’
Legal 500 (2014)
‘Excels at unravelling complex and difficult issues.’
London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
2003 UCL – Masters in Legal and Political Philosophy (Distinction)
2001 University College, Oxford, BA (Honours) Politics, Philosophy and Politics (2:1)
Inner Temple Scholarship (Full Scholarship for CPE year)