Sarah acts in all aspects of the law relating to children. In public law Sarah represents local authorities, parents, guardians and competent children. Sarah has particular expertise in cases which involve risk of harm from radicalisation, death and non-accidental injuries, allegations of serious sexual abuse, child trafficking and cross examination of expert and vulnerable witnesses. In private law Sarah acts in disputes between parents and other significant adults including cases involving serious harm and internal and international relocation. Sarah also practices in Family-related Judicial Review and some Court of Protection cases. Sarah was appointed as a Deputy High Court Judge in November 2019, for a four year fixed term.
Children (public law)
Sarah’s practice at both first instance and appellate level covers the full range of the most serious public law children work. Much of her work attracts media interest and/or requires orders restricting publicity. She has established expertise in cases of radicalisation having appeared in the early and leading authorities in this developing area of child protection. Much of her work involves fatality or serious injury and the gravest sexual or emotional abuse.
She is skilled at dealing with conflicting medical and expert evidence including that which comes from other jurisdictions and raises issues centring on accepted good practice and mainstream recognition within the medical profession.
She acts in cases involving the disclosure of sensitive material including to and from security services. She has considerable experience of cases requiring evidence from vulnerable witnesses, appearing in the earliest cases using intermediaries in the Family courts.
Children (private law)
Sarah is instructed in Applications for Declaration of Parentage not only for parents and children but also for Fertility Clinics where the applications arise out of errors within the clinic. She appears in applications in relation to living and other arrangements for children.
Sarah acts in disputes between parents and other significant adults including cases involving serious harm and internal and international relocation deploying strategic planning so as to achieve the best possible outcome for the client.
Judicial review & administrative law
Sarah represents parents and children in Family-related application for Judicial Review and Local Authorities in Responding to claims brought in connection to decisions made in connection with provision for children.
International family law
Sarah has experience of proceedings in relation to children where international issues arise. In public law cases she regularly deals with issues of jurisdiction including the application of habitual residence, Article 15 transfers and the placement of children with family members living in other jurisdictions. In private law, she undertakes relocation cases for both the departing or the remaining parent with proposed moves across a range of countries.
What the directories say
Sarah has been consistently ranked in Chambers and Partners Directory since 2008.
2019: ‘Her grasp of technically difficult and emotionally complex public law proceedings is beyond comparison.’ Legal 500
"She's a unique individual – her ability to develop complex arguments is phenomenal." "Sarah is diligent, attentive and thoughtful, and has an incredible eye for detail. She has the ability to analyse vast swathes of evidence and distill them into a format helpful to the court." Chambers UK
2018: "Produces excellent cross-examination which is a real privilege to watch. You want her on your side as everything she does is underpinned by clearly rigorous preparation. Her compelling and attractive submissions artfully address the issues in a case." Chambers UK
2017: Manages a full caseload of heavy-hitting public and private law children matters, from severe non-accidental injury cases to private child relocation. She acts in cases that garner significant media attention and so routinely offers the utmost discretion to her clients.
"She swiftly analyses the issues in a case and delivers some of the best cross-examination around." Chambers UK
2016: "She has a lovely, slightly muted style which is effective. She is surprised by nothing and unprepared for nothing." "Absolutely excellent; she's very clever, highly analytical and has a huge eye for detail." Chambers UK
2015: "What she brings is the light touch. It's very tempting to become polarised in these cases, and the mixture of her light touch, high intelligence and humour often prevents this happening." "Clients love her, and she can get the best out of a witness." Chambers UK
2014: "A highly regarded expert in both public and private children law, and covers everything from parental and custody disputes to abuse and injury matters." Expertise: "Very good; she is an effective and forceful counsel." Chambers UK
2013: "fantastically bright and extremely hard working" who "practises in all areas relating to children, often in cases concerning sexual or physical abuse." Chambers UK
2012: "a "stunning performer". An expert on children cases, she handles matters that often involve difficult mental health and medical issues." Chambers UK
2011: "she brings both gravitas and good humour to challenging cases involving conflicting medical evidence." Chambers UK
2010: "has all the qualities you need to be a great barrister." Chambers UK
2009: "an expert on tricky matters who thinks outside the box and provides innovative solutions to complex problems." Chambers UK
2008: "a delight to work with," she nevertheless "has a strong mind, and as an advocate takes no prisoners." Chambers UK
R (C) v Buckinghamshire County Council  EWHC 4072 (Admin)
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