Our Barristers
  • Overview

    Sarah is a specialist Private Client Trusts, Wills, and Estates barrister providing advice and advocacy in succession, estates, trusts, and Court of Protection matters, as well as related professional negligence.

    Sarah has been ranked consistently as a Leading Junior in the Legal 500 in 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024.

    An experienced trial advocate, Sarah was recognised in 2021 as “always extremely well-prepared for every hearing and her communications skills with clients have always been reassuring and well-received with matters being explained clearly”.

    Sarah’s practice covers the full spectrum of contentious probate and Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 claims, trusts, trusts of land and co-ownership, proprietary estoppel, cross-border succession, and non-contentious trusts and probate.

    Fluent in German, and proficient in French, Italian, and Danish, Sarah has a particular interest in European cross-border matters.

    Described in the Legal 500 2024 as “a very thorough barrister” who “goes the extra mile”, Sarah is analytical and “has great attention to detail and preparation”.  She adopts a pragmatic and strategic approach to litigation, which focuses on achieving optimal solutions for her clients with sensitivity and empathy.

    Sarah contributes to Williams, Mortimer & Sunnucks – Executors, Administration and Probate.  She also contributes to the Commentary and edits the Precedents for the Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents, Volume 42 – Wills and Administration and Volume 40 – Trusts and Settlements.

    Sarah has published in Trusts and Trustees.

    Sarah writes Headnotes for the Wills and Trusts Law Reports and Case Summaries for Lexis Nexis.

    Sarah’s expertise and experience extends to Property and Commercial Litigation, as well as proceedings in the Family Division with a Chancery element such as financial remedies applications encompassing trusts, inheritance, co-ownership of property, and/or business assets.

    Prior to coming to the Bar Sarah read for a Ph.D. in German and Philosophy and tutored.  Having subsequently qualified and worked as an investment analyst in asset management and private banking in the City for financial institutions with an offshore presence in Bermuda and the Channel Islands, she gained sound understanding of the financial services world and dealing with high net-worth individuals.  As in-house counsel to a commercial bank, Sarah advised on the incorporation of offshore funds, commercial property transactions, and landlord and tenant.

  • Trusts, Wills & Estates

    Sarah is regularly instructed in claims to prove Wills in solemn form; in challenges to the validity of Wills; claims for the removal of Executors; claims for the rectification, variation, and the settlement of Wills; and in the administration of Estates.

    She appeared for the successful Appellant in Lumb v. Lumb [2023] EWHC 2052 (Ch), in which the High Court found that the Appellant was entitled to his costs following a successful summary judgment application to pronounce the Will of his late mother in solemn form, where the Respondent had sought to rely on the costs protection of CPR r.57.7(5) by giving notice that he was not raising a positive case and was seeking to cross-examine the attesting witness.

    Other recent notable cases include Phipps v. Goulbourne [2024] EWHC 130 (Ch), in which Sarah represented the Claimant seeking relief from sanctions owing to the failure by her solicitors to serve a Claim to prove a lost Will in solemn form in time.

    Sarah’s expertise is sought in Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 claims on behalf of spouses, cohabitees, children, and other family members of the Deceased, often involving other aspects of her practice such as co-owned property, exemplified in Antonio v. Williams and McBean [2022] EWHC 2383 (Ch), a landmark decision in which the Court determined it could make an order for reasonable financial provision prior to the obtaining of the Grant of Probate.

    Sarah has a particular interest in cross-border succession matters involving conflicts of laws across multiple jurisdictions and issues of domicile, often with a European focus.  Fluent in German and proficient in French, Italian, and Danish, she is comfortable perusing documents in these languages.  Sarah is a Member of the Bar of Ireland and able to passport her legal services into the European Union.

    Sarah is frequently instructed in claims brought under The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 for declarations of trust and beneficial interest in co-ownership disputes.  Recent unreported cases include successfully representing defendant cohabitees at Trial in claims involving multiple properties with combined valuations of several million pounds.

    Sarah advises on the merits of trusts claims (including express, resulting, constructive trusts, and proprietary estoppel); claims involving Trustees’ powers and duties; breach of trust and the removal of Trustees; applications for the removal of Trustees.  She also drafts Trust Deeds and Deeds of Variation.

    Sarah also advises and acts in professional negligence claims relating to the execution of Wills and conveyancing.

    Cases:

  • Court of Protection

    Sarah has extensive experience of Court of Protection matters, including issues of capacity and undue influence; Lasting and Enduring Powers of Attorney; applications for Statutory Wills; applications for the appointment and removal of Deputies for Welfare, and for Property and Financial Affairs (including in cases of alleged financial abuse); the deprivation of liberty of vulnerable elderly clients or persons with autism; and claims for possession of property of a person lacking capacity.

  • Property

    Sarah’s expertise extends to property litigation.  She advises on matters as diverse as the property-related torts of nuisance and trespass; boundary disputes; disputes pertaining to easements and restrictive covenants; land registration; rectification of the Register; and claims for possession and/or sale of property.

    Sarah is instructed in Landlord and Tenant matters involving the interpretation of commercial and residential leases, often where there is a Headlease with a succession of Underleases and Subleases; leasehold enfranchisement; dilapidations; forfeiture; and unlawful eviction.

  • Commercial Litigation

    Sarah has a commercially-minded and pragmatic approach to advisory work and litigation owing to her 10 years of financial and commercial experience in the City.  As an investment analyst she gained exposure to emerging markets fund management and to private banking in London and the offshore jurisdictions of Bermuda and Guernsey.  In her previous capacity as in-house counsel to the U.K. operation of a commercial bank with offices in Ireland, the Channel Islands, Austria, and the USA, Sarah advised on financial services regulation; the incorporation of offshore funds and companies; commercial landlord and tenant; and banking and contractual documentation in respect of lending and treasury products.  The special benefit of Sarah’s industry experience as a financial services professional and in-house counsel is that she understands cases from the perspective of both the client and the legal adviser.

    Sarah has experience of disputes arising from alleged breaches of banking terms and conditions and the enforcement of guarantees; pertaining to lending facilities; and relating to payments.

    Sarah has advised on the interpretation of contracts, the merits of claims in disputes involving breach of contracts, including commercial contracts, building contracts; and contracts for the supply of goods and services, often involving instances of misrepresentation, duress and undue influence.

    Sarah has also advised in professional negligence claims pertaining to banking professionals and financial services institutions.

  • Qualifications/education

    • 1996:  B.A. (Hons.) (English and German Literature), University College Galway;
    • 2000:  Ph.D. (German Literature and Philosophy), National University of Ireland, Galway (formerly University College Galway)
    • 2005:  LL. Dip., The College of Law, London
    • 2006:  B.V.C., Inns of Court School of Law
    • 2012:  M.A. (Philosophy), University of Liverpool
    • 2020:  Degree of Barrister-at-Law, The Honorable Society of King’s Inns, Dublin
    • Dual Qualification: Bar of Ireland (2020)
  • Awards

    • Postgraduate Research Fellow, National University of Ireland
    • Inner Temple Exhibitioner
    • Alexander Mair Dissertation Prize, University of Liverpool
  • Memberships

    • Chancery Bar Association
    • Contentious Trusts Association
    • European Circuit of the Bar
    • Family Law Bar Association
    • London Irish Lawyers’ Association
    • Northern Circuit
  • Languages

    • Fluent German;
    • Intermediate Danish, French, Gaelic, and Italian;
    • Basic Polish and Spanish.
  • What the directories say

    “Sarah is a very thorough barrister and goes the extra mile. She has great attention to detail and preparation.”
    Legal 500 UK Bar 2024 – Private Client: Trusts & Probate; Tier 3

    “Always extremely well-prepared for every hearing and her communication skills with clients have always been reassuring and well-received with matters being explained clearly.”
    Legal 500 UK Bar 2021

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