Laura Thomas

Partner (Barrister)

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24-26 Museum Street, Ipswich, IP1 1HZ

"Sympathetic, frank and assiduous,” Laura is "much respected by competitors."

Legal 500 [UK 2016]


Laura joined Birketts in 2007 from chambers in London. She is a Partner (Barrister) and Head of Corporate Criminal Defence. Her areas of expertise include health and safety, transport and logistics, environmental regulation, Trading Standards prosecutions, food law, private criminal defence and fraud.

Laura was called to the Bar in 2001 having graduated from Christ Church, Oxford University. Her career began in the Chambers of William Clegg Q.C., 2 Bedford Row, London where she remained for over five years. While in chambers she prosecuted and defended heavyweight criminal cases in the criminal courts and specialised in regulatory law, regularly prosecuting and defending in health and safety cases.

Laura has particular expertise in health and safety and previously worked at the HSE Solicitor's Office; advising on health and safety prosecutions of national importance. She has conducted legal training for HSE Inspectors as well as regularly speaking at health and safety conferences and seminars. In addition, she significantly contributed to the Butterworths' publication 'Health and Safety Law: Enforcement and Practice' by Matthews and Ageros.

In addition, Laura sits as a Deputy Traffic Commissioner and was formerly a board member for the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

Laura was invited onto Eddie Mair’s BBC Radio 4 show in July 2017 to discuss corporate manslaughter following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in West London. She has also been featured in several editions of Health & Safety at Work publication.

Laura is based at our Ipswich office.

Other Information

Laura is recommended by Legal 500 [UK 2016] for health and safety, transport, crime, fraud, environment and licensing, and is listed in the elite 'Leading Lawyers' list of lawyers nationwide. She is also recommended by Chambers and Partners for health and safety and road regulatory (nationwide).

Legal 500 [UK 2016] notes that Laura and colleagues Matthew Gowen and Julie Gowland are all ‘fantastic, always available and experts in their field.’ Previous Legal 500 editions note that Laura "knows everything about regulatory defence work." She is "precise, pragmatic and risk-aware" and "knowledgeable in her craft." Clients note that she "brings her historical experience at the Bar and at the Health and Safety Executive to bear in providing a very strong defence to regulatory cases – she is detailed and accurate, bullish, clear and extremely competent."

Chambers [UK 2017] states Laura is "assured and confident and provides clear and concise advice". In previous editions, Laura is noted as being "very effective and communicates at all levels, she is not patronising and gives a very clear message."

Laura has also been named 'Health and Safety Lawyer of the Year 2013' (Lawyer Monthly) and 'Business Crime Lawyer of the Year 2014' (Finance Monthly).

Leading Individual Legal 500 2016