Sarah's experience working with varied public and private sector clients on public inquiries, investigations and complex multi-jurisdictional disputes means that Sarah is responsive to the unique needs of a diverse range of clients. She balances the careful planning and project management of matters with an understanding that often swift, cost-effective, commercial decisions need to be made. Sarah recognises the fact that in any case there are often various factors at play – whether that be commercial and professional or more personal considerations; as a result of her experience, particularly in public inquiry work, Sarah is able to handle delicate topics and material with sensitivity and understanding.
Sarah is willing to go the extra mile for her colleagues and clients and always strives to achieve the best solution for any given scenario.
Inquiry and investigation work
Most recently, Sarah has worked on a number of high profile inquiries, including supporting a government department as part of a statutory inquiry and advising the Chair of both the non-statutory Shrewsbury and Nottingham maternity inquiries.
Sarah has advised on a broad range of legal, corporate and sensitive issues in her inquiry work. Such issues have included navigating the procedure of a non-statutory inquiry from inception to conclusion; liaising with regulatory bodies, NHS entities and key stakeholders and families to secure evidence; negotiating core agreements (including data processing agreements and information sharing agreements to ensure that any data sharing is compliant with data protection legislation and obligations of confidentiality); and liaising with the enforcement agencies in tangential criminal investigations. Alongside these issues, Sarah has provided advice in respect of general data protection obligations, contractual obligations, insuring responsibilities and issues relating to the publication of the final report – crucially the Maxwellisation process and Crown Indemnity issues.
Sarah has also recently been part of a team conducting an investigation into a number of whistleblowing allegations (including fraud and misuse of public funds) in the public sector. She has been heavily involved in the collation and review of large volumes of evidence; the interviewing of witnesses; the drafting of the final report; and the process of Maxwellisation prior to publication of the investigation's findings.
Sarah has experience in advising both corporate and private clients throughout all the stages of litigation - from pre-action correspondence and negotiations through to trial. Sarah also has experience in advising clients on settlement negotiation tactics and alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including mediation.
Sarah has a particular focus on IT, data and energy disputes and has advised both buyers and sellers of IT systems, services providers and software developers; renewable energy suppliers; and public sector entities.
Recent and ongoing matters that Sarah has been involved in include:
- Advising a Claimant in a High Court claim, in respect of a dispute relating to the contractual interpretation of a section 106 agreement;
- Advising a Defendant in a High Court claim in respect of a Power Purchase Agreement for the sale/purchase of electrical energy generated from a wind farm;
- Advising a European digital services and software development company in respect of settlement negotiations and ultimately mediation;
- Assisting a variety of clients to respond to security breaches (both national and international) and cyber incidents;
- Helping a broad range of clients handle data subject access requests, including providing advice on methodologies for searching and filtering large volumes of data and the application of various exemptions.
This experience means that Sarah is adept at assimilating large volumes of complex data swiftly and is able to convert it into practical and pragmatic advice and solutions for clients.
Alongside the public inquiry, investigation and litigation work, Sarah was also part of the client service delivery team for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, helping the client to manage the delivery of the project over the course of three years. As a result of this experience and her keen interest in sport, Sarah is the non-partner lead of the Sports Sector within the Disputes team.