Sarah specialises in Family Law and Criminal Regulatory cases.

She is regularly instructed to represent vulnerable and demanding clients, including those with little or no experience of court proceedings. She is highly regarded for her personable manner and pragmatic approach.

Family
Sarah has a thriving practice encompassing both public and private law children cases. She represents local authorities, parents, guardians and children in care and adoption proceedings. She has experience of complex proceedings involving non-accidental injuries, sexual abuse, incest, substance misuse, neglect and mental health issues including factitious illness.

In private law proceedings Sarah has a broad practice which includes allegations of physical and sexual abuse, risk of abduction, parental alienation and cultural and religious issues.

She regularly conducts complex finding of fact hearings involving allegations of serious abuse perpetrated against both adults and children including inflicted injuries, sexual abuse, factitious illness, starvation, emotional harm and neglect. She has a wealth of experience of cross-examining medical experts and professionals.

Sarah is able to distil complex issues and builds a strong rapport even in the most challenging of circumstances.

Crime/Regulatory
Sarah has a regulatory practice which belies her call. She is regularly instructed by local authorities to provide pre-charge advice and representation through to trial.

She has significant experience in Trading Standards prosecutions and housing matters.

Direct Public Access
Sarah accepts instructions on a direct public access basis.

WCBC v K v M [2021] Instructed to represent the father. The local authority sought findings that he had inflicted serious injuries to his 2 year old child including fractures to the leg and ribs and significant bruising to the torso/legs.

Several medical experts were instructed, resulting in conflicting medical evidence as to the presence and causation of the injuries. A complicating factor was that the child was diagnosed with immune thrombocytopenia – a blood platelet condition which causes excessive bruising – after he was placed in foster care.

Sarah conducted the finding of fact hearing, which required the cross-examination of several medical experts.

B v T [2021 Liverpool Family Court] Successfully represented a father accused of raping his ex-partner.

WCBC v CW [2021 – Wrexham Family Court] Sarah acted for the local authority in long-running care proceedings, in which the mother of the subject children was accused of sexually assaulting her own father and/or participating in incest.

The allegation had been previously overlooked by the professionals in the case, who had dismissed it as implausible.

Having reviewed the evidence, Sarah took a different view instrumental in advising and pursuing applications for police and third party medical disclosure which substantiated the allegation.

SC v LE [2020 Wolverhampton Family Court] Instructed to represent a mother with very low cognitive functioning, in a finding of fact hearing in which she was alleged to have facilitated the sexual abuse of her own daughter by her partner.

SC v F [2020 Walsall Family Court] Instructed to directly represent a 13 year old female child, who was alleged to be a victim of sexual abuse, in a three week findings of fact hearing in which she would be a central witness.

Wirral Borough Council v KL [2019 Liverpool Family Court] Successfully represented KL who was alleged to have physically abused an 18 month old child in her care. The child was found to have sustained 82 inflicted injuries. Following a lengthy finding of fact hearing, no findings were made against KL.

Borough of Telford & Wrekin v SSB [2019 High Court sitting in Birmingham] Three-week finding of fact hearing before Mr Justice Cohen. Instructed as junior counsel for the mother who was alleged to have intentionally starved her children as a form of punishment.

Wrexham Borough Council v DP [2018 Wrexham Family Court] Sarah successfully represented a father in care proceedings where it was alleged that he was the perpetrator of sexual abuse. After a lengthy finding of fact hearing the Court accepted the father’s account and directed for an independent social worker to undertake further assessment to consider the rehabilitation of the child to the father’s care.

Cheshire West and Chester Council v DM [2018 Chester Family Court] Sarah represented the alleged perpetrator of serious sexual abuse during a three-week finding of fact hearing. Sarah made a successful application to permit cross-examination of the child witnesses.

Bolton Borough Council v NO [2018 High Court sitting in Manchester] Sarah represented a Somalian woman accused of carrying out torture on her children as a ritual punishment for her belief that they were possessed.

Y and W and Z [High Court sitting at Caernarfon] Neutral Citation Number: [2016] EWHC 2431 (Fam) – before Mr Justice McDonald. Sarah successfully pursued findings against a father who had been acquitted of rape of a five year old in 2001. This required complex disclosure applications; including an application to trace the alleged victim (now an adult) and for disclosure of her medical records.

Sarah subsequently applied to instruct two independent experts to consider the records. The applications were granted, and the reports provided overwhelming evidence against the father.
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2016/2431.html

Criminal Law/Regulatory

R v JLM [Chester Crown Court] Sarah appeared on behalf of a mental health nurse who had pleaded guilty to Fraud by Abuse of Position having made significant cash withdrawals from the account of a patient in her care. The Court was persuaded to impose a suspended sentence order.

R v AT [Liverpool Crown Court] Sarah successfully defended a male charged with sexual assault on a train where the alleged incident was captured on CCTV.

R v Major, Holloway and Smith [2018 Chester Crown Court] Sarah successfully prosecuted a four-week fraudulent trading trial which necessitated calling over 40 witnesses to give evidence. The defendants received significant custodial sentences. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/elaborate-home-improvement-fraud-used-12231381

Business Energy Solutions Limited v The Crown Court at Preston [2018 Administrative Court] Sarah was led by Andrew Thomas QC representing Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards as an Interested Party in an application. The Court dismissed the application.

Shropshire v Salop Lets [2018 Telford Magistrates Court] Sarah successfully prosecuted 24 offences relating to three licensed houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) for vulnerable adults under Housing Act 2004. The company was fined a total of £31,500 and ordered to pay £11,462 in costs.

Operation Drake [2017] Sarah was instructed on an urgent basis by a local authority as independent counsel to review electronic material that may be subject to legal privilege.

2007-2008 Bar Vocational Course (Manchester Metropolitan University)

2004-2007 LLB Hons (University of Manchester)

Awards & Scholarships
FLBA and the Bar Council Scholarships Trust grant awarded to attend the 6th World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights (2013)

3-4 South Square Scholarship awarded by Middle Temple to undertake the Bar Vocational Course (2008)

Member of the Family Law Bar Association

Member of the Criminal Bar Association

Member of the Northern Circuit

Member of the Wales and Chester Circuit

Member of The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple

Sarah is recommended in the Legal 500 2022 and 2023 editions as a leading junior in Child Law (Public and Private) on the Wales and Chester Circuit:

‘She is always well prepared but her main strength is cutting through the extraneous and focusing on the key issues to resolve a case properly. Her style of advocacy is very calm and measured but leaves no stone unturned.’ (Legal 500, 2023 ranked Tier 1)

“Sarah has an encyclopedic knowledge of the law and her highly developed critical and analytical thinking skills are a strong asset to any case in which she is instructed.” (Legal 500, 2022 ranked Tier 1)

“An extremely methodical barrister who always puts clients at ease.”(Legal 500, 2019, ranked Tier 1)

“She is always well prepared and adopts a robust, but always sensible, approach” (Legal 500 2017 ranked Tier 1)