Brick Court Chambers

Sarah Bousfield

Sarah Bousfield

YEAR OF CALL: England and Wales: 2013; Northern Ireland: 2018

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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 covering all aspects of commercial dispute resolution, financial services, energy, regulation, and public law. Sarah has particular expertise in civil fraud matters and pre-emptive remedies, including asset freezing, evidence preservation and pre-action disclosure orders, as well as proceedings for contempt of court for breach of pre-emptive orders.

Sarah undertakes both advisory and litigation work and regularly acts in complex, high value litigation in the High Court and in international arbitrations. As sole counsel, she has appeared in numerous different courts and tribunals, including the High Court and Court of Appeal.

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

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  • Civil fraud M

    Sarah has particular expertise in civil fraud work, asset tracing and 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 is also skilled in dealing with difficult cases of cyber-fraud and expertise in matters involving cryptocurrency.

    Sarah’s notable current and recent work in this area includes:

    • Acting for Lord Jeffrey Archer, the international renowned British novelist in a seven figure claim in the Chancery Division against his former literary agent Curtis Brown regarding royalty payments and rights of termination, as well as seeking relief by way of an account and inquiry.
    • Acting for the Claimant in a multi-billion pound economic torts claim in the Commercial Court, led by James Ramsden Q.C. The claim concerns fraud, conspiracy and acts of intimidation and raises complex issues of jurisdiction, immunity and service out.
    • 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 Q.C.
    • 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 as sole counsel in a case of cyber-fraud, including issues of cyber-squatting, harassment and impersonation, Sarah successfully obtained various Norwich Pharmacal Orders against ISPs, a website domain registrar and a website which provides privacy services restricting access to details of website registrants on the ICANN WHOIS database.
    • Advising on pre-emptive remedies relating to cryptocurrency.
    • 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 Q.C.
    • Acting as sole counsel in in a six figure fraud in relation to a property development contract.
    • 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.
    • Acting for the Law Society, as sole counsel, in respect of an investigation of a former solicitor accused of misappropriation of monies from a client account of a firm, Part 8 proceedings in the Chancery Division to obtain documentation pursuant to s.33B of the Solicitors Act 1974 and in respect of committal proceedings for contempt of court.
    • Acting for the Law Society in proceedings in the Chancery Division concerning misappropriation of a seven figure sum from a client account of a firm of solicitors, led by Hodge Malek Q.C.
  • Commercial M

    Sarah has a broad commercial practice conducting large scale, high value complex cases, including litigation of contractual, tortious and trust matters. 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’s current and recent commercial work includes:

    • Acting as sole counsel, for a start-up company specialising in software development in an eight figure breach of contract / debt claim in the Circuit Commercial Court.
    • Acting, as sole counsel, for a Swiss financial adviser in a six figure claim against an offshore airline for breach of contract/ payment of a debt for failure to pay for services during the airline’s proposed buyout in the Circuit Commercial Court.
    • 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, following the death of the head of the family, in a multi-billion dollar dispute concerning issues of trust law, company law issues, offshore structures in the context of multi-jurisdictional commercial and matrimonial litigation proceedings, led by James Ramsden Q.C.
    • 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.
    • 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.

    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.

  • Banking and finance M

    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. Sarah is also a regular contributor to the Journal of International Banking and Financial Law. 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.
  • Energy and natural resources M

    Sarah has been involved in numerous energy 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 three week TCC trial in July 2019: PBS Energo A.S. v Bester Generation UK Ltd and another [2020] EWHC 223 (TCC).
    • 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.
  • Public Law M

    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. In  her first years of practice, she was a member of the Treasury appointed ‘Baby Barrister’ panel.

    Sarah’s notable work includes:

    • Advising the Conservative and Unionist party and several of their candidates candidates on a range of electoral law issues in the run up to the 2019 General Election and on methods for preventing harassment of political candidates, particularly by users of online platforms who utilise pseudonyms, proxies, and/or anonymous accounts.
    • 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.
  • Regulatory and disciplinary M

    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 Law Society 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, as sole counsel, to resist a judicial review claim and claim for interim relief pursuant to s.1028 of the Companies Act 2006 which were brought by the claimant in an attempt to restore his law firm’s authorisation to practice which had been lost as a result of a relevant corporate entity being struck off the Companies House Register.
    • Acting for the Law Society, as sole counsel, in respect of an investigation of a solicitor accused of professional misconduct arising from a complaint that the solicitor had retained for herself a payment which had been intended as compensation payable to her client and Part 8 proceedings to obtain relevant documentation pursuant to s.33B of the Solicitors Act 1974.
    • Acting for the Law Society, as sole counsel, in various judicial review proceedings, including most recently to resist a judicial review claim arising out of a decision by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal to strike off of a solicitor for falsely completing and signing court documents.
    • 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 M

    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.
  • Qualifications & Additional Information M
    • 2012-2013: BPTC, City Law School
    • 2011-2012: BCL, St Anne’s College, University of Oxford
    • 2009-2010: ELS Scholarship Exchange Programme, L’Université de Fribourg, Switzerland
    • 2007-2011: First Class LLB, Van Mildert College, University of Durham

    Prizes & Scholarships

    BPTC: Lord Denning Major BPTC Scholarship; Accommodation Award; Hardwicke Entrance Award; Buchanan ‘Outstanding’ Prize and the ‘Chomeley Studentship’ Award.

    Undergraduate: ‘Best in Year’ Herbert Smith Prize for ranking 1st in Year and other prizes for highest marks in individual modules, sponsored by White & Case, and O’Melveny & Myers.

    Mooting: 2011 UK National Champion and World Finalist, Phillip C. Jessup Public International Law Moot Court Competition (representing Durham University) and ‘Best Oralist in the Final’, Prizes and 2006 National Champion, Bar Council’s National Mock Trial Competition.

    Additional Information Pro Bono & Charitable Work

    Sarah is committed to pro bono work. In particular, she has a long-established record of advising on education law and Special Educational Needs’ issues, including in conjunction with the charitable organisation IPSEA. In her spare time Sarah is also a champion of Borneo based Orangutan Foundation International and has previously volunteered to care for orphaned wild orangutans and to assist with conservation of their rainforest habitat.