Sarah is an established practitioner in public and employment law, recognised in the Legal 500 for her employment work. She was appointed to the Attorney General's B Panel of Counsel in 2015 and regularly represents the Government and regulatory bodies, specialising in immigration, prison and NHS law, whilst maintaining an employment law practice principally in discrimination, whistleblowing and employee competition. Before coming to the Bar, she was an academic historian and a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford from 1996 to 2011.

Experience

Shortlist

Employment

Sarah Wilkinson has been described over the years by Chambers UK as "’extremely bright" and “a popular choice for discrimination cases” (2012), as “a barrister with real potential” (2010) and  as “extremely bright and able to assimilate document-heavy cases with apparent ease” (2009).

Sarah has a wide-ranging employment law practice including all forms of employee competition law, discrimination, unfair dismissal, protection from harassment, unlawful deductions from wages, equal pay, fixed term workers regulations, part time workers regulations and whistleblowing. She acts for both claimants and respondents and has a particular interest in cases involving discrimination and financial services. She has experience of both obtaining and resisting injunctive relief in restrictive covenant cases in both the QB and Chancery Divisions. 

Cases

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Public & Regulatory

Sarah was appointed to the Attorney-General’s B Panel of Counsel in September 2015, having previously been appointed to the C Panel in March 2008.

She has a particular interest in immigration (particularly appellate work), prison law, unlawful detention, constitutional issues and a growing practice in EU law, see R (GBGA) v HMRC and HMT [2015] EWHC 1863 (Admin), [2016] STC 151, [2015] LLR 829.

She regularly advises government departments on both litigation and policy. She has recently acted for the Departments of Education, Justice and DEFRA and appeared with Clive Sheldon QC in the Supreme Court in 2017 for the Secretary of State for Health in R (on the application of Forge Care Homes Ltd) v Cardiff and Vale University Health Board [2017] UKSC 56, Times August 24 2017 which addressed the statutory funding formula for nursing in care homes.

Cases

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Commercial

Sarah advises in commercial cases for both claimants and defendants, including government departments, on a very wide range of issues including sale of goods, supply of services, unfair contract terms, negligence, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, conversion and restitutionary remedies in a wide range of commercial settings. She has acted as sole counsel in multi-track trials and has appeared in summary judgment applications, applications for permission to appeal, a winding-up petition and in a petition for bankruptcy.

Cases

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Financial Services

Sarah advises on a wide range of financial services issues, often through the prism of employment law.

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Achievements

Education

MA Oxon (Modern History) First Class; DPhil Oxon (Modern History); BA (Hons) Oxon (Jurisprudence) First Class

Prizes & Scholarships

  • Fellowship by Examination, All Souls College, Oxford, 1996-2003
  • £50 Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford, 2004-2011
  • Wronker Prize for Administrative Law (Oxon)
  • Bedingfield and Arden Scholarships, Gray’s Inn


Publications

  • ‘Queues and Consultation: fairness and market power at the London Metal Exchange’ Butterworth’s Journal of International Banking and Finance Law 2015 30(1) 25-27.
  • With Robert Howe QC, Diya Sen Gupta and Simon Pritchard, chapter 3 'Confidentiality' in Employee Competition (2nd edition 2011 and 3rd ed., forthcoming OUP 2015). 
  • With other authors in chambers and from Baker & Mackenzie LLP, Tolley's Discrimination in Employment Law Handbook (2008 and 2nd ed., 2011). 
  • With Tom Beazley QC and Javan Herberg, ‘Financial Services Investigations’ in Montgomery & Omerod (eds.) Fraud: Criminal Law and Procedure (OUP, 2008).
  • With Gemma White and Robert Weekes, Pre-Action Procedure and (alone) Procedural Table for Judicial Review Claims in Lang (ed.), Administrative Court: Practice and Procedure (Sweet and Maxwell, 2006).
  • Sarah edited the UK case section of Sweet & Maxwell’s ‘Human Rights Alerter’ from 2005-2008.
  • Focus on Article 1 ECHR in Judicial Review (December 2004)
  • The concept of the state in Britain, 1880-1939 in Modernism: a concise companion (ed.) David Bradshaw (Blackwell, 2003) 

Membership 

  • ELA
  • ELBA
  • ALBA

Selected Earlier Reported Cases

Employment

  • Obtained injunctive relief for Respondents in technology-based employee competition case involving database rights (Summer 2013).
  • High value claim for constructive dismissal (Spring 2013).
  • Representing Claimant in a case for contractual sick pay (Spring 2013).
  • High value disability discrimination case involving duty to make reasonable adjustments which settled after judicial mediation (Summer/Autumn 2012).
  • High value sex and pregnancy discrimination case in a City context (Summer/Autumn 2012).
  • Pregnancy discrimination and constructive unfair dismissal case involving transitional provisions under the Equality Act 2010 (Spring 2011).
  • Pervez v Macquarie Group Limited UKEAT/2205232/2009, [2011] I.C.R. 266; [2011] I.R.L.R. 284.
  • Age discrimination and constructive unfair dismissal case for a firm of solicitors (2010-2011).
  • Sex discrimination and discrimination for a pregnancy-related reason for a TV production company. Case settled (2010).
  • Mulugueta v Xerox Ltd (2009).
  • Parmar v Eli Lilly & Co Ltd (2009).
  • Maynard v Canalside Housing Association (2009).
  • High value whistleblowing and collective redundancy claim against a leading American investment bank. Case settled, (2008).
  • Libby Assassi v University of Sussex (2008)
  • Force One Utilities Ltd v Mr. K. Hatfield  UKEAT/0048/08 (2008)
  • Miss T Agu v ROC UK Limited UKEAT/0325/07/LA (2008)
  • Reichell v Frost v Sullivan Ltd (2008).
  • High value City whistleblowing case for Claimant. Settled. (2007) (with Tom Croxford).
  • High value sex discrimination case on behalf of a venture capital house (2007) (with Tom Croxford). 
  • In November 2007, she provided advocacy training for the Employment Lawyers 
  • Colin Wellicome v Service Underwriting Management Limited (2007)
  • McNally v Commissioner for Metropolitan Police (2007)
  • Nzeribe v World Duty Free (2007)
  • Langley and Carter v Burlo [2007] ICR 390

Public & Regulatory

  • Advised on human rights aspects of bringing a stay in criminal proceedings in the Cayman Islands. (2010)
  • R (on the application of easyJet Airline Co. Ltd) v Civil Aviation Authority [2009] EWHC 1422 (Admin)
  • R (on the application of Primary Health Investment Properties Ltd) v Secretary of State for Health) [2009] EWHC 519 (Admin)
  • Ogunbemile v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2008)
  • R (Brown) v (1) Department for Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2) Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and (3) The Royal Mail Group Ltd (2008)
  • On constitutional issues, Sarah was instructed with Jeffrey Jowell QC in a series of judicial review actions in Malawi, considering the alleged constructive resignation of the Vice President.
  • Hoyte v Information Commissioner EA/2007/0101
  • R (Islamic Human Rights Commission) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and others [2006] EWHC 2465 Admin.

Commercial

  • Wigan Athletic Football Club v Greater Manchester Police [2007] EWHC 3095 (Ch)
  • Junior counsel to Adam Lewis QC of Blackstone Chambers in Wigan Athletic’s challenge to statutory charges levied by Greater Manchester Police in a case which spanned both private and public law issues in a two-week trial in the Chancery Division followed by a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal [2008] EWCA Civ 1449 [2009] 1 WLR 1580. 
  • Two high value civil fraud cases as junior obtaining freezing injunctions and search orders in relation to breach of fiduciary duty, deceit, breach of contract and conversion (with Tony Peto QC). 
  • McShane v Polynesian Adventure Tours Ltd (2009)
  • Daffyd Ellis v Alfred McAlpine (2009)
  • Universal Leasing v The Wedding Planner (2008)
  • Lombard North Central Plc v Mercer (2006)
  • Lombard North Central Plc v Lewis (2006)

Other Relevant Information

Sarah was a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford from 1996-2003 and from 2004-June 2011. Before coming to the Bar, she completed a doctorate entitled ‘Perceptions of Public Opinion. British Foreign Policy Decisions about Nazi Germany’ in 2000 and taught British and European twentieth century history at the universities of Oxford and Reading. 

She is a member of the ELAAS scheme and undertakes pro bono work through the Bar Pro Bono Unit and FRU. 

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