Independently ranked as a Band 1 employment specialist by Chambers & Partners UK, Sarah is a senior employment law specialist. Sarah regularly appears before the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Appeals Tribunal and has appeared before the Court of Appeal. She routinely advised on technically complex, factually dense and multi-day cases which carry significant consequences for all parties concerned. Her client base is broad and varied, including public authorities such as NHS Trusts, universities, local authorities, private individuals through the direct access scheme and, often, corporate employers.
Sarah, quite literally, wrote the book, in conjunction with Katherine Tucker, on discrimination law and is both the Author and Editor of “Discrimination in Employment” by Tucker and George (first published in 2006 by Thomson Reuters (Legal) Limited and updated quarterly). Not only does her leading status in discrimination law mean that she is in regular and sustained demand in respect of complex discrimination cases, it also means that Sarah regularly speaks at employment law seminars both within chambers and without. Sarah also provides training to lay and professional clients alike.
Sarah was appointed as a fee-paid employment judge in 2011 and was assigned to sit as a fee-paid First Tier Tribunal Judge (Immigration & Asylum Chamber) in 2017. Outside the law, Sarah enjoys cycling, visiting the theatre and cheering on her local junior rugby team.
Sarah thrives in large scale, multi-day cases and has covered a broad range of employment sub-specialisms including whistleblowing, equal pay claims and dismissal cases. As you would expect of the co-author of one of the authoritative practitioner text books in the area, Sarah has a particular interest in and enthusiasm for discrimination law and is nationally recognized as a leader in the field, Legal 500 going as far to comment that Sarah is, “known for her strength in discrimination and shines in complex multi-day cases”.
Sarah maintains a relatively balanced Claimant and Respondent client portfolio, in addition to taking on instructions for Claimants through the direct access scheme. Sarah finds that this enables her to have greater objectivity about the consequences of certain tactics, as well as enabling her to bring rounded and balanced options to her clients. Lately, Sarah is undertaking an increasing number of appellate cases before the EAT and the Court of Appeal.
A snapshot of Sarah’s extensive employment law experience includes:
- Successfully representing a union-backed Claimant with Asperger’s Syndrome in both an 8-day final merits hearing and a subsequent 2-day remedy hearing in 2019. Sarah successfully argued that the Respondent, an NHS Trust, had failed to make reasonable adjustments, unfairly dismissed and discriminated against the claimant on grounds of disability. Sarah secured a 6-figure sum in compensation.
- Successfully defending a UK F/HE College against unlawful detriment and automatically unfair constructive dismissal claims brought under both the protected disclosure and health & safety provisions of the Employment Rights Act. Sarah secured the dismissal of all claims;
- Successfully securing the admission of material correspondence which was alleged by the Claimant’s representative to be inadmissible, at a telephone preliminary hearing. Sarah later successfully represented the Respondent local authority at a telephone judicial mediation hearing during which the parties compromised the issues in dispute.
- Successfully resisting various deposit order applications in a complex claim, heard in January 2019, which included historic allegations of harassment on grounds of religion and whistleblowing allegations of protected disclosure detriment and victimisation brought against a leading investment bank.
- Advising a local authority, in urgent and exceptional short turnaround time circumstances during January 2020, on the equal pay risks of the use of a market supplement, and the pregnancy discrimination risks of reducing the market supplement during maternity leave.
- Successfully defending a March 2020 unfair dismissal claim against a charity and obtaining an order that the Claimant contribute towards the respondent’s costs.
- Currently advising a local authority in a long running and multi-faceted dispute concerning allegations of disability discrimination and victimization which is listed for a 15-day final hearing; and
- Currently representing the Claimants in a 17-day whistleblowing detriment and dismissal case with particularly complex and technical features.
Sarah is renowned for her ability to argue particularly complex and technical points, including in Simmonds and Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust  EWCA Civ 1864, where the determinative issues on appeal were justification of dismissal for a reason arising in connection with disability and whether there had been a fair trial. In X v East Cheshire NHS Trust, she successfully argued that constructive knowledge of disability in that case dated from knowledge of the effects of the condition and not the diagnosis.
Working with Sarah
Sarah appreciates the importance of listening to her client’s issues and perspective, before explaining the legal framework in which their rights exist and can be enforced. Lay and professional clients alike appreciate her calm, measured style, as well as her ability to sum up the issues clearly and in an accessible way. Her attention to detail is particularly admired.
Professional clients particularly value Sarah’s collaborative approach. Sarah very much sees a successful litigation as a partnership and enjoys working closely with her professional clients throughout a case. She arms her clients with viable, pragmatic options and prides herself on clearly sets out the benefits and risks of the options they can choose. Above all else, Sarah is approachable and, as part of her partnership-driven approach, is happy to explore salient or pressing issues with her professional clients outside of the confines of an existing brief.
Sarah is co-author and editor of Discrimination in Employment by Tucker and George. She edited the head notes for the Equality Law Reports (October 2010 to December 2014 by Michael Rubenstein Publishing). She has written articles for the Employment Law Review.
Appointments and Memberships
Employment Law Bar Association
Employment Lawyers’ Association
Fee-paid Employment Judge and Fee-paid First Tier Tribunal Judge (IAC)