Laura Johnson

Call: 2001, QC: 2022
Queen’s Counsel (QC)

"Quietly confident and reassuring; an excellent trial advocate" "She is very calm and inspires confidence with clients, experts and witnesses."
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Laura Johnson QC is a leading junior in the fields of clinical negligence, personal injury and claims against the police. She has been ranked in the legal directories for many years and has a broad and varied practice focused on claims involving catastrophic injury, novel legal issues and/or risks of reputational harm.


Laura Johnson is a leading junior in the field of clinical negligence. She acts for claimants and defendants and is very experienced in cases involving catastrophic injury, including brain and spinal injury. She is a popular and confident trial advocate, regularly instructed in substantial seven figure claims without a leader. She has a particular interest in novel legal issues and has appeared recently in the Court of Appeal and High Court in leading cases involving questions of consent and the duty of care owed to secondary victims.

Laura's work encompasses all areas of clinical practice. She has particular expertise in claims involving obstetrics and gynaecology (including birth injury of the utmost severity) and spinal injury claims including neuro and spinal surgery and cauda equina. Recent instructions span emergency care, oncology, opthalmics, general surgery, colorectal surgery, cardiology and cardiac surgery, mental health and cosmetic surgery. She has experience of claims involving prison healthcare and with a cross border element.


Laura is a leading junior in the field of personal injury. She acts for claimants and defendants in cases of catastrophic injury, well versed in the complexities of claims involving traumatic brain or spinal injury, often instructed in substantial seven figure claims without a leader. Laura has particular expertise in cases involving complex or novel issues relating to the duty of care or that involve allegations of discrimination or human rights breaches.

Laura is recognised as a leading junior in cases of occupational stress, bullying and harassment with recent instructions for leading universities, the BBC, local authorities, the NHS and blue chip companies. She has expertise in education claims, instructed by schools and universities in cases involving quality of education, care and welfare of children with special educational needs, religious, disability and gender discrimination, physical and sexual abuse and novel questions of the duty of care owned by universities to students in respect of their mental health. Laura acts for public bodies in a range of work, in particular involving social services and has expertise in claims arising out of allegations of neglect and physical and sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults. She is also instructed in civil cases involving allegations of fraud. Laura is a member of the Independent Appeal Panel of the Lambeth Children's Homes Redress Scheme.


Laura is a former Assistant Coroner for East London and acts on behalf of families, public bodies, police forces and professionals with an interest in unexplained or controversial deaths. Laura is currently instructed in the Manchester Arena Inquiry acting on behalf of one of the emergency services core participants.


Laura acts for police forces across all areas of civil work including malfeasance, alleged failed investigations, employers and public liability matters. She has been instructed as junior counsel in cases involving grave injury during restraint and following arrest (including catastrophic brain injury). Recent work also includes sensitive claims involving allegations of sexual abuse of vulnerable adults and minors by serving officers.


Laura was appointed a Deputy District Judge in 2015 sitting in London and the South East.

Laura was an Assistant Coroner for East London between 2014 and 2017.

Laura was appointed one of four judicial assistants to the Law Lords in 2003-2004 primarily working with Lord Steyn.
Recent cases

  • Manchester Arena Inquiry - Laura is representing the interests of Greater Manchester Combined Authority on behalf of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, led by Andrew Warnock QC

  • Paul v Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust [2020] EWHC 1415 (QB) - Successful appeal against the striking out of secondary victim claims brought by two children who witnessed their father's heart attack and death 14 months after alleged negligent medical treatment

  • Chief Constable of Essex Police v Transport Arendonk BVBA (2020) LTL 28/1/2020 EXTEMPORE : [2020] 1 WLUK 192 - Appeal of a refusal to strike out a claim in negligence brought by a haulier whose lorry was robbed whilst the driver was lawfully under arrest

  • Metcalf v Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust [2019] EWHC 3549 (QB) - Successful defence of a claim arising out of an admitted failure by the Defendant Trust to diagnose lung cancer.  The claim failed on factual causation.

  • Buckley v Guys & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust LTL 9/4/2019 EXTEMPORE: [2019] 4 WLUK 104 - Circumstances in which the court will adjourn the trial of a celebral palsy case where the child claimant was facing a major life event that may impact on prognosis.

  • Diamond v Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust [2019] EWCA Civ 585 - Successful resistance of an appeal by the Claimant in a case concerning consent for medical treatment. The Court of Appeal held that the judge was entitled to conclude that even if properly advised the Claimant would have elected to undergo the same procedure as in fact occurred and rejected the Claimant’s arguments that the ordinary principles of causation should not apply in consent cases. Led by Lord Faulks QC.

  • KW v Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust [2019] - Laura acted for the Claimant achieving a £3m settlement of a claim arising out of an injury to the sciatic nerve sustained by a mother during the birth of her first child.

  • Piepenbrock v The London School of Economics & Political Science [2018] EWHC 2572 (QB) - Successful defence of a £4.5m occupational stress / harassment claim led by Andrew Warnock QC

  • KL v Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust [2018] - Substantial six figure settlement achieved in a novel claim under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 for a child who was in the care of the Deceased under a Special Guardianship Order and therefore not obviously a dependant under the Act.

  • Jenkins v Chief Constable of Essex Police [2018] - Finding at trial of gross exaggeration against an officer claimant who was claiming £750,000 for a knee injury sustained at work.

  • Matthews v Sandwell & West Birmingham NHS Trust [2017] (QB) - Successful defence at trial of a £1m claim alleging delayed diagnosis of cancer of the cervix and failures in the administrative systems of the Trust said to have caused the death of a young mother of three children.

  • KXL v Murphy (1) Society of Missionaries of Africa (2) [2016] EWHC 3102 (QB) - Leading decision on the application of the Foreign Limitation Periods Act 1984. Laura acted for the successful First Defendant alongside John Ross QC and Matthew Chapman QC who were instructed for the Second Defendant.

  • Steele v Governing Body of the Lakes School LTL 23/10/2015 - Successful defence of a claim against a school for racial discrimination.

  • Mulholland v Medway NHS Foundation Trust [2015] EWHC 268 (QB); (2015) 144 BMLR 50 - Successful defence of a claim against a Trust for an alleged delay in diagnosing a brain tumour.

  • Boyle v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2013] EWCA Civ 1477 - Late admission of expert evidence (and successful defence at trial of a claim brought by a catastrophically injured claimant who had fallen into the path of a police vehicle). Led by Ed Bishop QC.

  • Bristol Alliance Ltd Partnership v Williams (1) EUI Ltd (2) [2013] 2 WLR 1029 - Case concerning the correct interpretation of s. 151 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

  • R (Burke) v IPCC & Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2011] EWHC 423 (Admin)

  • Onwuama v London Borough of Ealing [2008] EWHC 1704 (QB)

  • Pennington v Surrey County Council [2007] PIQR P11

  • JD v East Berkshire Community Health [2005] 2 AC 373

Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 Rankings
Legal 500 2022

Clinical Negligence - Leading juniors - Tier 1 - 'She is incisive, pays attention to the details, and is reassuring with the clients.

Shows a questioning and industrious approach to the evidence and experts.

Personal Injury - Leading Juniors - Tier 2 - ‘Laura is compassionate and has a great manner with clients but is equally happy in the cut and thrust of advocacy. ’

A complete class act.

Police Law - Leading Juniors - Tier 3 - 'She provides very clear, focused and succinct advice. ’

Chambers  & Partners 2022

Personal Injury (Juniors) - Band 1

Laura Johnson has a respected claimant practice focusing on spine and brain injuries. She also routinely acts for the defence in sex abuse, EL/PL and stress at work cases. She has an excellent understanding of personal injury claims that intersect with human rights law. She draws on additional expertise in clinical negligence matters when handling cases involving complex medical evidence.

"A leading junior who is very experienced, very good in court and excellent with clients." "A first-rate advocate who is extremely user-friendly. She gives clear and concise legal advice."

Clinical Negligence (Juniors) - Band 2

Laura Johnson is applauded for the versatility of her practice, as she is experienced in an array of clinical negligence cases varying in complexity from fatal claims to neonatal brain injury matters. She acts for both claimants and defendant organisations.

"She's very hard-working, responsive and excellent to work with." "An excellent barrister - she is very good in cases involving vulnerable clients and in hearings she is charming, persuasive, thorough and knowledgeable."

Recent work: Acted on behalf of the defendant NHS Foundation Trust in a claim brought by a claimant who suffered a serious intra-operative injury when a surgeon performing a gallbladder operation misunderstood her anatomy and divided the common bile duct and hepatic artery.

Police Law (Juniors) - Band 3

Laura Johnson is a police law specialist barrister who defends in claims of unlawful arrest, and failure to investigate claims brought under the Human Rights Act. She is highlighted for her well-honed advocacy skills.

"Really going places and has a huge waiting list; you are lucky if you can get her, and clients are duly impressed by her work when you can."

Recent work: Represented Essex Police in a claim for negligence brought by a transport company after thieves broke into a lorry and stole a consignment of shoes while the driver was detained by police.

  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association

  • Personal Injuries Bar Association

  • Administrative Law Bar Association


  • Inns of Court School of Law (Bar Vocational Course)

  • City University (PGDip in Law)

  • University of Oxford (Philosophy, Politics and Economics)

  • Withington Girls’ School


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