An accomplished and energetic family law barrister, Sarah specialises in acting for children, vulnerable parents and local authorities in public law proceedings. There is an international dimension to her work; she regularly handles leave to remove cases and Hague and non-Hague child abduction cases. A founder member of Coram Mediation, she is qualified to mediate in all civil disputes. She also accepts Public Access work.
Sarah’s involvement in and enthusiasm for children’s issues dates back to her time as a researcher in the House of Commons where she advised an MP and developed in him an interest in legislation relating to the care and wellbeing of children. She was responsible for the drafting of the ‘Regulation of Childcare Providers Bill’ which subsequently became law on its incorporation into the Children Act.
In addition, her experience of carrying out legal protection work for the United Nation High Commission for Refugees in Iran and Afghanistan and her time spent teaching English as a foreign language to children in China, Japan and Taiwan has given her valuable insight and understanding of the rights of children in diverse cultures, which she brings to the benefit of her current work.
Today she also has a thriving practice in private law proceedings and acts for parents and children separately represented through their guardian,
Her recent work has encompassed a wide range of cases and clients:
– Care proceedings involving a mother’s abnormal illness behaviour where the child was removed and placed with its father – consequential Court of Appeal judgment established precedent that a judge is entitled to impose a condition of contact that a parent should undergo a risk assessment, including a psychiatric referral
– Acting for a father convicted of murdering the mother in the presence of the child which set precedent concerning the appropriate time to respond threshold, where conflict of interest between the interests of the client in the criminal proceedings and the need for swift resolution in family proceedings
– Care proceedings involving a Romanian trafficked child, drafting skeleton arguments and arguing in the High Court; dealing with care proceedings and the High Court jurisdiction hearing
– Parental alienation/implacable hostility case – instructed for the father and successfully argued for change of residence and consequential proceedings in the High Court
– Acted for a mother in a non-accidental injury case involving broken bones. Following the finding of uncertain perpetrator, she successfully argued for rehabilitation to the mother’s care
– Acted for a child wrongly labelled sexually abused, cross examined medical experts and overturned that finding.
– Acted for mother with mental health difficulties who required an intermediary on a case involving allegations of cross generations sexual abuse of severely autistic child.
– Female Genital Mutilation cases (FGM Orders) in the High Court.
– Hague and non-Hague convention child abduction cases
– Factitious illness by proxy, non-accidental injury and sexual abuse cases.
She has experience of acting at all levels of court, regularly appears in the High Court and has successfully brought a number of cases to the Court of Appeal. Described as creative and a keen fighter, she’s direct in her manner, straightforward and feisty.
An approachable ‘people person’, Sarah has tremendous rapport and empathy with clients from all walks of life. She draws on the skills she learned as a teacher to explain complex legal issues in simple language to vulnerable clients, those with learning difficulties, and those from different ethnic backgrounds. She truly understands the responsibility she bears to help people face traumatic family issues at a challenging time in their lives; she works long and hard, regularly going the extra mile for clients.
Sarah is very IT literate and uses technology to enhance the high levels of service she provides, creating and processing documentation quickly and efficiently, and carrying out in-depth internet research in support of her cases.
As a committed member of Coram Mediation, and having successfully mediated agreements in Iran, Sarah is a firm believer in the power of the mediation process to provide the best outcomes for clients, and she will make herself available out of hours and at weekends if her services are required.
Court of Protection
BA (Hons) – University of Liverpool
Graduate Diploma in Law (merit) – University of Westminster
Bar vocational course (very competent) – Inns of Court School of Law, City University.
Chinese – basic
Japanese – basic
Family Law Bar Association
Association of Lawyers for Children
Speaker on ‘The Use of Intermediaries’, a highly successful event co-hosted with a representative from Communicourt on July 14th, 2015.