A specialist family law practitioner, Sarah acts in both public and private law children cases. Her public law work involves advising local authorities, parents, grandparents, NYAS case workers and guardians. She brings significant experience in cases involving sexual abuse, non-accidental injury, domestic violence, neglect and substance abuse. Her private law work covers national and international relocation cases, intractable hostility cases and those with Rule 16.4 Guardians and cases under the inherent jurisdiction. In family finance cases, she represents and advises clients in all matters of marital or civil partnership breakdown. Sarah is also trained in Mental Health Review Tribunal Work and welcomes cases of this nature.
Prior to practising at the Bar Sarah worked as a paralegal in the family department at Farrer & Co LLP, where she gained valuable experience of high-profile cases. She also learned the importance of listening appropriately and capturing and summarising clients’ thoughts and ideas – experience that has proved invaluable in her current practice.
Her practice at Coram encompasses all areas of family law. Recent cases have included:
– Highly-sensitive public law cases involving sexual abuse, non-accidental injury and severe neglect;
– Cases involving temporary removal and proposed relocation outside of the jurisdiction;
– Intractable hostility cases involving serious allegations between the parties and Rule 16.4 Guardians;
– Claims brought under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996;
– Proceedings following the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership including divorce and financial remedies and claims brought under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1996;
– Complex matrimonial disputes involving the apportionment of assets including properties held abroad and financial relief after foreign divorces;
– Formal cohabitation agreements, pre-nuptial agreements, unmarried couples who have separated and wish to resolve matters relating to their property, including transfer of tenancy applications;
– Cases involving forced marriage.
Widely-recognised for the importance she places on working to the highest standards of client care, she is often asked to act in urgent cases requiring particular sensitivity. Clients appreciate the way in which she helps them focus and manages their expectations and stress levels, guiding them gently through the legal process. She is calmly reassuring, patient and adept at explaining the often-complex processes involved in proceedings. This is particularly valuable for those clients who may have psychological problems or learning difficulties and may find the workings of the court intimidating.
In court she is known for being steely, courageous, tough and very ‘on point’, and can always be relied upon to be up-to-date with current case law and developments. Her preparation is thorough and painstaking; she has a keen eye for detail and the ability to digest paperwork quickly and efficiently.
Sarah has represented clients at all level of court, up to and including the Court of Appeal. She was led by Roger McCarthy QC before Mrs Justice Hogg in a long running multi-handed historic sexual abuse case representing a mother through the Official Solicitor. Sarah was also led by Deirdre Fottrell QC representing Birmingham City Council in a non-accidental head injury case before Mrs Justice King.
Court of Protection
University of Bristol, Philosophy and Politics (BSc Hons)
City University, Post-Graduate Diploma in Law
BPP Law School, Bar Vocational Course
Family Law Bar Association
Association of Lawyers for Children
Shortlisted for Young Barrister of the Year – Family Law Awards 2014
Publications and Training
Co-authored ‘Let’s see how we get on’ with Radhika Handa for the Family Law Journal, covering the need for regulated provision of registered witness intermediaries in family proceedings.
Contributor to The Advocate’s Gateway Toolkit, “Vulnerable witnesses and parties in the family courts”, 8th November 2014.
A regular speaker at seminars and training sessions, she gives presentations on Family Procedure Rules, Section 8 of the Children Act 1989 and the Hague Convention on Child Abduction.