Laura is a criminal Solicitor Advocate and a regulatory lawyer with a particular interest and expertise in data protection and information law. Laura previously worked as a prosecutor in Scotland.
Laura works in BTO’s Dispute Resolution Team and deals with clients who find themselves involved with the Regulators: - the Health and Safety Executive, SEPA, the Care Inspectorate and the police. Increasingly her work focuses on making sure that clients avoid the wrath of the Information Commissioner’s Office. She provides pragmatic and practical advice immediately after an incident (including health and safety incidents or data incidents) throughout an investigation and until any court proceedings are concluded.
Laura was co-counsel in relation to the first, and to date, only successful appeal against an ICO fine for a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998. As a result Scottish Borders Council had their £250,000 fine returned to them!
Laura regularly provides contentious advice and assistance following data and cyber incidents to clients in the private, public and third sectors. She assists clients in handling subject access requests, freedom of information requests and data protection compliance issues. Currently her focus is on the implementation of GDPR and how to comply in advance of the Regulation coming in on 25 May 2018.
Laura enjoys providing data protection training and according to the feedback makes an inherently dull subject entertaining. Primarily through the use of Lego!
Laura is on the board of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre due to her expertise in cyber security law and is increasingly asked to provide advice and training for organisations dealing with this topical issue. To enhance her credibility in this area Laura is about to learn how to code.
Recent cases where Laura appeared:
Scottish Borders Council v ICO (client’s £250,000 Monetary Penalty Notice was cancelled by the First Tier Information tribunal)
HM Advocate v Brian Ironside (client acquitted of causing death by careless driving before a jury in Elgin Sheriff Court)
HM Advocate v East Coast Viners Grain LLP (client pled guilty to a breach of section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 which had resulted in a fatality resulting in a fine of £240,000)
Member of the National Association of Data Protection Officers, the Society of Computers and Law, the Health and Safety Lawyers Association and the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers.