Sarah Bousfield

Year of call:

+44 (0)20 7832 1111

Sarah Bousfield was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2013 and to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2018.

Sarah has an expansive practice in commercial dispute resolution, financial services, construction, regulatory, and public law.

Sarah regularly acts in complex, high value litigation in the High Court and in international arbitrations. As an advocate she has appeared in all types of courts and tribunals and she undertakes both advisory and litigation work.

She is also a frequent contributor to the Journal of International Banking and Financial Law and an editor of Atkin’s Administrative Court Forms.

Banking & Finance

Sarah regularly undertakes a wide range of banking and financial services work. She is part of the team of barristers who have been advising the Ministry of Justice, in conjunction with COMBAR, on the impact of Brexit on the UK’s Financial Services industry [link]. Sarah is also a regular contributor to the Journal of International Banking and Financial Law [link]. Sarah also advises firms on compliance, investigations and anti-money laundering issues.

Sarah has recently:

  • acted, as sole counsel, against numerous high street banks in relation to various mis-sold financial products.
  • advised the FCA, as sole counsel, on authorisations of numerous Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending platforms regulated by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) Order 2001
  • advised, as sole counsel, a major bank on the merits of pursuing litigation arising out of compliance with ISA regulations, including against another bank.
  • advised the FCA, as sole counsel, on issues arising out of the management of an alternative investment fund (“AIF”), or the operation of a collective investment scheme (“CIS”).
  • advised FOS on the application of their statutory powers, including on jurisdictional issues.
  • advisory work for a major international bank, which included advising on a range of potential regulatory and disciplinary proceeding, including issues arising from the regulation of client monies, CASS accounts and compliance with ISA regulations.
  • advised on the issue of ‘Separate Legal Personality’ and the ability of entities other than Customers of a Bank to claim for breach of COB/COBS rules.
  • acted as an independent s.166 skilled person approved by the FCA and appointed to review cases concerning the mis-selling of Interest Rate Hedging Products (including swaps/caps/collars) for RBS and HSBC.

General Commercial & International

Sarah has a broad commercial practice conducting large scale, high value complex cases, including litigation of contractual, tortious and trust matters, civil fraud, asset tracing and agency issues. Sarah has a diverse clientele including City, corporate and private clients. In particular, she is regularly instructed by leading multi-family offices who manage the assets and affairs of ultra high net worth individuals. Sarah is frequently instructed in a range of domestic and international disputes in the Commercial Court and Chancery Division.

Sarah has particular expertise in obtaining pre-emptive remedies, including asset freezing orders, evidence preservation, and pre-action disclosure, as well as proceedings for contempt of court for breach of pre-emptive orders.

Sarah’s notable current and recent work includes:

  • Acting for the Claimant in a multi-billion pound economic torts claim in the Commercial Court, led by James Ramsden QC. The claim concerns fraud, conspiracy and acts of intimidation and raises complex issues of jurisdiction and service out.
  • Acting for an internationally renowned British novelist in various six/seven figure claims in the Commercial Court / Chancery Division including against their former literary agent and publishers for, inter alia, breach of contract and unjust enrichment, as well as seeking relief by way of an account and inquiry.
  • Appearing as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal, Sarah successfully maintained an immediate custodial sentence for breach of a freezing order in committal proceedings for contempt of court (see:Sellers v Podstreshnyy [2019] EWCA Civ 613 and Podstreshnyy v Pericles Properties Ltd [2019] EWHC 469 (Ch). Sarah also won the underlying six figure proprietary claim against an estate and letting agent for, inter alia, breach of trust, misappropriation of client monies and secured charging orders against various properties for enforcement purposes.
  • Acting for the Claimant in a seven-figure claim brought pursuant to s.423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 to set aside a transaction which defrauded a major creditor by putting assets beyond their reach, led by James Ramsden QC.
  • Acting as sole counsel in a case of cyber- fraud, including issues of cyber-squatting, harassment and impersonation, Sarah successfully obtained various Norwich Pharmacal Orders ISPs, a website domain registrar and a website which provides privacy services restricting access to details of website registrants on the ICANN WHOIS database.
  • Acting for and advising various start-up entities in respect of a variety of issues including breach of contract claims, shareholder disputes and regulatory approval (such as via the FCA).
  • Acting on behalf of a family of ultra-high net worth individuals in respect of trust law, company law issues, offshore structures in the context of multi-jurisdictional commercial and matrimonial litigation proceedings, led by James Ramsden QC.
  • Acting in a seven figure fraud dispute defending individuals accused of breach of trust / fiduciary duties / misappropriation of funds and assets, led by James Ramsden QC.
  • Acting as sole counsel on behalf of a Central London Estate agent that specialises in premium residential properties in various claims for breach of contract / unpaid commission fees.
  • Acting as sole counsel in in a six-figure fraud in relation to a property development contract.
  • Advising, as sole counsel, in a six-figure dispute with issues of contractual formation, jurisdiction and applicable law.
  • Advising on potential defamation claims arising out of publication of alleged breaches of United Nation Security Council Sanctions.
  • Successfully representing a client in the High Court as sole counsel in a case concerning service out and jurisdiction issues, and in respect of numerous freezing injunctions/ Norwich Pharmacal orders.

Sarah is also a regular contributor to LexisPSL Dispute Resolution and co-authored the paper produced by a COMBAR members, advising the Ministry of Justice on the effect of Brexit on International Arbitration – Click here to view.

Construction/ Engineering

Sarah has been involved in numerous disputes arising out of major construction and engineering projects and is familiar with all major UK and international forms of contract, and in particular, JCT Contracts.

Examples of Sarah’s recent work includes:

  • Acting for a subcontractor in an eight figure termination and delay dispute relating to a biomass plant in Wrexham in a 3 week TCC trial in July 2019.
  • Acting for a state-owned Petroleum company in an ICC arbitration with an EPC Contractor in the Caribbean in a dispute worth in excess of US$250 million, led by Karim Ghaly QC.
  • Successfully representing, as sole counsel, the claimant in Wysepower Limited (t/a Wyse Logistics) v PP Co Ltd [2016] EWHC 3565 (TCC) who was seeking restitution of a six-figure sum owed pursuant to a construction contract for renovation of a property in London worth £130m.
  • Acting as sole counsel in various six-figure claims for unpaid sums owed to construction companies, including adjudication proceedings, in the TCC and in County Courts.
  • Advising on the operation of termination and indemnity clauses in major forms of construction contract and the effect of indemnitor/ indemnitee negligence on them.
  • Advising/ acting for national telecommunications providers in numerous construction and engineering disputes with a particular emphasis on cases concerning design/ maintenance of ducting and cabling.
  • Drafting pleadings/ ICC requests in respect of various arbitrations, including an arbitration concerning a ship building project, led by senior members of Chambers.

Administrative & Public

Sarah is experienced in acting in a wide range of public law work, including cases that raise prisoner rights, immigration, human rights and civil liberties issues, including as a member of the Treasury appointed ‘Baby Barrister’ panel.

Sarah’s notable current and recent work includes:

  • Acting for Zurich Insurance, a Core Participant of the Investigation into Accountability and Reparations for Victims and Survivors of Abuse as part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) chaired by Professor Alexis Jay OBE, led by Nigel Pleming QC.
  • Advising the Civil Aviation Authority on, amongst other things, potential judicial review claims arising out of airspace changes, post implementation reviews, wet leasing of airplanes, the application of working time regulations to the civil aviation sector and environmental information regulations.
  • Advising a major airport on a judicial review claim concerning the lawfulness of consultation exercises.
  • Acting, with Jennifer Thelen, for numerous female prisoners in their successful claims challenging the legality of strip searching policies and practices in prison.
  • Acting for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in respect of claims by numerous Kenyan nationals who allege that they were seriously mistreated in detention camps in Kenya whilst it was a British colony during the Mau Mau uprising by British employees and agents.

Planning & Environmental

Sarah’s recent work includes:

  • Advising on a s.106 agreement in connection with a property development proposal, with James Strachan QC.
  • Advising, as sole counsel, on the lawfulness of a high profile environmental policy in relation to data protection issues pursuant to the Environmental Information regulations.
  • Advising on the merits of a CLEUD application.
  • Assisting Save Britain’s Heritage and the Victorian Society with their challenge by to the proposal to replace much of Smithfield Market, which ultimately resulted in the Secretary of State’s rejection of the plans, with Andrew Tabachnik QC.

Regulatory & Disciplinary

Sarah is experienced in acting in a wide range of regulatory cases. She has been instructed in professional disciplinary proceedings and has dealt with allegations of misconduct, fraud, misappropriation of client monies, dishonesty and other breaches of professional codes of conduct.

Sarah has an established practice acting as a junior counsel for numerous regulators, including the Civil Aviation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority; for further information on this type of work, please see the sections on her profile about Aviation and Banking and Financial Services.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority also regularly engages Sarah on a range of matters, including applications before the High Court and general advisory work. Examples of notable current and recent work includes:

  • Acting, as sole counsel, for the Law Society in disciplinary proceedings against numerous former employees of a closed law firm that was found to have defrauded the Legal Aid Agency in excess of £20m.
  • Acting for the Law Society, led by James Ramsden QC in a case which raises complex issues arising from the interaction of company and public law.
  • Acting, as sole counsel, for the Law Society in various judicial review proceedings.
  • Acting, as sole counsel, for the Law Society numerous committal proceedings for non-compliance with s.44B notices ordering production of information and documents.
  • Acting for the Law Society in Neumans v The Law Society [2017] EWHC 2004 (Ch) in successfully resisting all challenges to the decision to intervene into the law firm, led by James Ramsden
  • Advising on a seven-figure claim for misappropriation of monies from a client account of a firm of solicitors, led by Hodge Malek QC.

Aviation & Aerospace

Sarah has substantial experience of issues affecting the aviation sector and regularly advises airlines and airports as well as being a counsel of choice for the Civil Aviation Authority. Sarah has a particular knowledge of airspace regulation including a technical understanding of RNAV (area navigation) systems and their interaction with noise preferential routes (NPRS), as well as issues arising in the context of airspace change processes (ACPs).

Sarah’s most notable and recent work includes:

  • Acting, with Andrew Tabachnik QC, in connection with a judicial review claim in connection with wet leasing of aircraft.
  • Advising, as sole counsel, on the application of the Civil Aviation (Working Time) Regulations 2004 to airline crew members, including their extra territorial effect, and the obligation to provide rest breaks.
  • Advising the CAA in respect of airspace changes, trials of new SIDs and consultation duties. Advising, as sole counsel, a major UK airport on the lawfulness of its consultation exercises.
  • Advising the Civil Aviation Authority with Fenella Morris QC on the Post Implementation Review of changes to Departure Routes at Gatwick Airport.
  • Advising, as sole counsel, on data protection issues pursuant to the Environmental Information Regulations.

Call +44 (0)20 7832 1111 for more information

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