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MEET:

Sarah Hannett QC

“She is really outstanding, and her ability to both bring and defend claims with equal effectiveness is rare.”

Chambers & Partners 2021
Called: 2003 | Silk: 2021

Sarah was appointed Queen’s Counsel in March 2021. She practises in all areas of public law, equality law and human rights. She has been involved in many of the leading public law cases in recent years.

Sarah is a member of the A-Panel of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Panel of Preferred Counsel.

Sarah is ranked in five practice areas in Chambers and Partners and in four practice areas in Legal 500. In 2019 Sarah was shortlisted for Public Law Junior of the Year in the Legal 500 UK Bar Awards. In 2020 Sarah was shortlisted for the Human Rights and Public Law junior of the year in the Chambers Bar UK Awards. Before taking silk, Sarah was a member of the Attorney-General’s A panel of Counsel.

Sarah appears regularly on behalf of claimants (including individuals and commercial organisations), local authorities, the Secretary of State, and regulators. Sarah has been instructed by NGOs such as Liberty, Public Law Project, Stonewall, Women’s Aid and Human Rights Watch. She has particular expertise in claims under the Human Rights Act 1998 and under the Equality Act 2010. Sarah often acts for or against regulatory bodies. She advises commercial clients on their regulatory, public law and equality duties. Sarah has been instructed as Counsel to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in several cases, has acted as Advocate to the Court, and has acted for the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Sarah has significant experience in investigations and public inquiries. She acted as junior counsel to the EHRC in the investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party and advised the EHRC in its inquiry into racial harassment in higher education institutions. Sarah acted as counsel to Ofsted in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse. She has conducted or advised on independent inquiries or investigations in the public and private sector, most notably for higher education institutions.

Sarah has been instructed in several cases before the European Court of Human Rights. She has also acted in cases concerning the Cayman Islands, Trinidad, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Examples of recent work include:

  • Pal v. United Kingdom [2021] ECHR 990: the European Court of Human Rights held that the arrest and charge of a journalist for the harassment of another journalist following the publication of an article and a tweet breached Article 10 of the ECHR.
  • R (Elan-Cane) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] 1 WLR 699 (SC): the policy precluding the issue of passports with an X sex marker did not breach the ECHR rights of the non-binary claimant.
  • R (AB) v. Secretary of State for Justice [2021] 3 WLR 494 (SC): the segregation of a child detained in a Young Offender Institution did not constitute a breach of Article 3 of the ECHR.
  • Secretary of State for Justice v. A Local Authority and Ors [2021] 3 WLR 1425 (CA): care workers ran the risk of committing an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 if they made practical arrangements for a man in their care to visit a sex worker where he had capacity to consent to sexual relations, but not to make the arrangements himself.
  • R (FDJ) v. Secretary of State for Justice [2021] 1 WLR 5265: the Secretary of State’s policy for the location of trans prisoners did not breach the Equality Act 2010 or the Human Rights Act 1998 in respect of non-trans women prisoners.
  • R (Fair Play for Women) v. Office for National Statistics [2021] EWHC 940 (Admin): the ONS guidance on how to answer the question on “sex” in the 2021 Census was unlawful.
  • Wilson v. The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2021] UKIPTrib_IPT_15_110_CH: the IPT held that the Metropolitan Police had breached the claimant’s rights under Articles 3, 8, 10, 11 and 14 of the ECHR in respect of her relationship with an undercover policeman.
  • Privacy International and Ors v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Ors [2021] UKIPTrib_IPT_17_86_CH: the Investigatory Powers Tribunal gave guidance on the approach that should be taken when the Tribunal seeks statutory assistance from the Investigatory Powers Commissioner.
  • Privacy International v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2021] UKIPTrib_IPT_15_110_CH: the IPT held that the legislative regime for the collection of bulk communications data was incompatible with EU law.
  • R (Steinfeld and Keidan) v. Secretary of State for International Development [2020] AC 1 (SC): the exclusion of heterosexual couples from civil partnerships constituted an unlawful interference with Articles 8 and 14 of the ECHR.
  • R (McConnell) v. Registrar General [2020] 3 WLR 683 (CA): the requirement for a trans man to register as the mother of the child he gave birth to was not contrary to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 or Articles 8 and 14 of the ECHR.
  • R (Heathrow Hub) v. Secretary of State for Transport [2020] EWCA Civ 213: judicial review of the Airports NPS proposing a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
  • Re K (Forced Marriage: Passport Order) [2020] 1 FLR 904: the Court of Appeal gave guidance on the approach to Articles 3 and 8 of the ECHR when considering making forced marriage protection orders for adults with capacity.
  • R (Ouselice) v. Secretary of State for Defence: successful challenge to the refusal by the Ministry of Defence to return the claimant’s medals after his discriminatory dismissal from the Royal Navy.
  • P (Transgender Application for Declaration of Valid Marriage) [2020] 1 FLR 807: the Family Court held that a marriage entered into between a trans man without a gender recognition certificate and a woman before same sex marriages were lawful was void (advocate to the Court).
  • Privacy International & Ors v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2019] UKIPTrib IPT_17_186_CH: the IPT held that MI5’s policy of “authorising” its agents to participate in criminality was not unlawful.
  • First Protocol 16 Advisory Opinion by the European Court of Human Rights (2019): the recognition in domestic law of a legal parent-child relationship between a child born through a surrogacy arrangement abroad and the intended mother.
  • R (DSD and NBV) v. Parole Board of England and Wales [2018] 3 WLR 829: the decision to release the convicted rapist John Worboys was unlawful.
  • Big Brother Watch v. United Kingdom (2018) ECHR 58170/13: the European Court of Human Rights held that the regime for bulk interception of communications and for acquisition of communications data violated Articles 8 and 10 ECHR.
  • In the Matter of M (Children) [2018] 4 WLR 60 (CA): whether the decision of the Family Court that a trans father could not have direct contact with her children complied with the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998.
  • Taiwo v. Olaigbe [2016] 1 WLR 2653 (SC): mistreatment of workers because of their positions as vulnerable migrant domestic workers dependent on their employers did not constitute race discrimination.

Sarah has particular expertise in all aspects of education law. She acts on behalf of a wide range of clients (including local authorities, parents, schools, higher education institutions, the Schools Adjudicator, Ofsted, the Education Funding Agency, and the Secretary of State for Education). Sarah acted as junior counsel to Just for Kids in R (Tigere) v. Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills [2015] 1 WLR 82 (SC). Sarah has particular expertise in safeguarding: she is instructed by Ofsted in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse, has advised the Disclosure and Barring Service and was legal adviser to the Winterbourne View Hospital Serious Case Review. Sarah has extensive experience of advising and acting in cases involving higher education institutions. She advised the EHRC on its inquiry into racial harassment in higher education institutions. Sarah acted on behalf of the successful claimants in the St Olave “off-rolling” case.

Sarah was awarded the Bar Pro Bono award in 2013 for her work on the School Exclusion Project, an organisation that provides pro-bono representation to parents appealing against the permanent exclusion of their child from school. She is the author (with Aileen McColgan and Elizabeth Prochaska) of Special Educational Needs and the Law (LAG, 2017) and co-authored the chapter on education in National Security: Law, Practice and Procedure (Jones, Ward and Stone, 2021). Sarah was a member of the Justice working party on school exclusions and is a parent governor of a primary school in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Recent education cases include:

  • R (WC) v. Somerset County Council [2021] EWHC 2936 (Admin): successful defence of a judicial review claim of the reorganisation of the three-tier school structure in Somerset.
  • R (Shaw) v. Secretary of State for Education [2020] ELR 677: the amendments to the special educational needs legislation made because of the Covid pandemic were lawful.
  • R (Ngole) v. University of Sheffield [2019] ELR 443 (CA): the removal of a student social worker from his course for comments about LGBT people on Facebook breached Article 10 ECHR.
  • R (Simone) v. Chancellor of the Exchequer [2019] EWHC 2609 (Admin): the approach taken to funding special educational needs at the Budget was not unlawful.
  • R (NHS West Berkshire CCG) v. First-tier Tribunal [2019] UKUT 44 (AAC): judicial review of the FTT’s refusal to grant the CCG the status of a party in a SEN appeal).
  • Reilly v. Sandwell MBC [2018] ELR 435 (SC): the governing body of a School did not unlawfully dismiss/breach the Article 8 rights of a headteacher who failed to disclose her relationship with a convicted sex offender.
  • R (Al-Hijrah School) v. Ofsted [2018] 1 WLR 1471 (CA): the segregation of girls from Year 5 in a mixed sex school constituted direct discrimination contrary to the Equality Act 2010.
  • C & C v. The Governing Body of a School [2018] ELR 552 (UT): regulation 4(1)(c) of the Equality Act 2010 (Disability) Regulations 2010 (tendency to physical abuse) breached Article 14 of the ECHR.

Sarah has a wide-ranging health and social care practice. She acts for claimants, doctors, local authorities, NHS bodies and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. She is ranked as a leading junior in community care and local government law and acted on behalf of South Gloucestershire Council in R (Cornwall Council) v. Secretary of State for Health [2016] AC 137 (SC) (test for determining the ordinary residence of a person who lacks capacity).

Recent cases include:

  • R (Cornerstone (North East) Adoption and Fostering Services Ltd) v. Ofsted [2021] IRLR 993 (CA): Ofsted’s finding that the refusal of a foster care agency to recruit same sex carers breached the Equality Act 2010 was lawful and did not breach the Claimant’s ECHR rights.
  • R (A) v. Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2019] 1 WLR 2979 (CA): the directions prioritising transplanted organs to patients who are ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom were not ultra vires the National Health Service Act 2006.
  • R (H) v. Secretary of State for Health [2019] EWHC 2095 (Admin): statutory bar on the genetic father of a child born pursuant to a surrogacy agreement being named as the father on her birth certificate did not breach Articles 8 or 14 of the ECHR.
  • R (Bawa-Garba) v. General Medical Council [2018] 163 BMLR 43 (CA): in deciding to strike off Dr Bawa-Garba, the Divisional Court erred in law.
  • R (Migrant Rights Network) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department (Administrative Court, 2018): judicial review that led to the withdrawal of the memorandum of understanding between the SSHD and the Secretary of State for Health that permitted the sharing of non-sensitive GP data of migrants without leave to remain with the SSHD.
  • R (Buxton) v. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2019] PTSR 502: cap on Access to Work payments to disabled workers held not to breach the Equality Act 2010.

Sarah has significant election law experience. She has advised and acted for a number of political parties, and in particular, advised on the responsibilities of political parties under the Equality Act 2010. Recent cases include:

  • R v. Mackinlay [2018] 3 WLR 556 (SC): correct approach to declaring notional election expenses.
  • Foster v. McNichol and Corbyn [2016] EWHC 1966 (QB): whether the Labour Party Rules 2016 require an incumbent leader to obtain nominations from 20% of the MPs in order to appear on the ballot.
  • Erlam v. Rahman [2015] 1 WLR 231: application by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets to strike out an election petition.

In 2008 Sarah was a Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, funded by a Pegasus Scholarship awarded by Inner Temple where she undertook work relating to Guantanamo detainees. Prior to coming to the Bar, Sarah was a lecturer in law at King’s College London from 2000 until 2005. She has taught at University College London, Queen Mary University of London and the University of New South Wales in Australia. She has been a visiting professor at McGill University.

Sarah graduated from the University of Nottingham in 1998 with a LLB (Hons) (First Class). She has a LLM in Human Rights and Comparative Law from McGill University for which she was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship.

Sarah is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to her clients, including advice and representation services, Sarah needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes her client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which she is instructed. To read Sarah’s privacy notice in full, please see here.

Sarah is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and accepts instructions under Standard Contractual Terms. To find out more information on this and the way we work at Matrix, including our fee transparency statement, please see our see our service standards

DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"A thoughtful, subtle advocate and a real player in this field." "Sarah is really hard-working and robust in her approach to challenging injustice."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Community Care

"Intellectually brilliant, very client-focused, pragmatic and very accessible." "She is very knowledgeable about higher education matters, provides quality, practical advice and always delights clients."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Education

"Sarah Hannett is a really fantastic barrister. She is really hard-working and robust in her approach to challenging injustice."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Civil Liberties & Human Rights

"She's calm, measured and really knows public law inside out." "She has the gravitas of an experienced silk despite only being appointed recently."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Administrative & Public Law

"Sarah is calm, concise and provides a reasoned and balanced view of cases based on years of experience. She always puts the client's needs first."

Legal 500, 2022, Court of Protection and Community Care

"She has the ability to sink into the detail as well as high-level litigation strategy for complex cases."

Legal 500, 2022, Education

"Possibly the best public law senior junior at the Bar currently. She can do government- and claimant-side work to the same very high standard and is a delight to work with – clients think that she’s brilliant."

"Brilliant on education, discrimination and special educational needs."

Chambers & Partners 2021 (Administrative and Public Law)

"She is very bright and switched on."

"Her legal analysis is rigorous, practical and helpful."

Chambers & Partners 2021 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

"She’s thorough in her preparation and very good in court."

"An impressive barrister who is excellent on paper."

Chambers & Partners 2021 (Local Government)

"An outstanding education law barrister."

"She is a thoroughly knowledgeable barrister who clients naturally warm to. She always goes the extra mile and her written advice is clear, immediately understandable and always on time."

Chambers & Partners 2021 (Education)

"She is really outstanding, and her ability to both bring and defend claims with equal effectiveness is rare."

"She’s very experienced and has the trust of the court."

"An impressive advocate."

Chambers & Partners 2021 (Community Care)

"An experienced barrister who makes excellent written submissions."

Chambers & Partners 2021 (Election Law)

"An exceptionally bright administrative lawyer. The submissions she drafts grapple with complex points of law in a way that enables the court to understand the importance of that detail. She is also extremely approachable and a very pleasant opponent."

Legal 500 2021 (Administrative and Public Law)

"A real heavyweight lawyer in the field of education law. Great to work with and she adds a lot of value to court and tribunal preparation."

Legal 500 2021 (Education)

"A great junior counsel."

Legal 500 2021 (Court of Protection and Community Care)

"Can utilise the more esoteric pieces of legislation when trying to develop arguments for novel situations."

Legal 500 2021 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

"An extremely impressive junior and a rising star."

"Conscientious, thorough and very good at putting clients at ease."

"Bright, personable, hard-working and clever."

Chambers & Partners 2020 (Administrative and Public Law)

"An excellent barrister; very thorough."

Chambers & Partners 2020 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

"She is really excellent and knows the law thoroughly. Her written submissions are very clear and concise, and she has a good manner in court."

"She is very bright."

"She is sharp, innovative and has a good breadth of knowledge."

Chambers & Partners 2020 (Local Government)

"She’s very straightforward, extremely hard-working and very good at communicating. She has an excellent manner with clients."

"She’s very client-friendly and gives really practical advice."

"She’s responsive and incisive. She really has a grasp of the issues affecting the sector and provides clear and concise opinions, pleadings and advocacy."

Chambers & Partners 2020 (Education)

"She is really outstanding, and her ability to both bring and defend claims with equal effectiveness is rare."

"She’s very experienced and has the trust of the court."

"An impressive advocate."

Chambers & Partners 2020 (Community Care)

"An experienced public lawyer with involvement in many election cases, who is bright and good with clients."

Chambers & Partners 2020 (Election Law)

"A very able advocate with excellent judgment."

Legal 500 2020 (Administrative and Public Law)

"The best education law junior around."

Legal 500 2020 (Education Law)
Matrix Chambers
24 HOUR ASSISTANCE
+44 (0)20 7404 3447
Called: 2003 | Silk: 2021

“She is really outstanding, and her ability to both bring and defend claims with equal effectiveness is rare.”

Chambers & Partners 2021

MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE

  • Commercial Law
  • Community Care Law
  • Competition
  • Discrimination and Equality
  • Education Law
  • Election Law
  • Employment Law
  • Healthcare, Mental Health and Mental Capacity
  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights
  • Immigration, Asylum and Free Movement
  • Investigations
  • Local Government Law
  • Prison Law
  • Public Law
  • Tax Law
  • Public International Law
  • Public Law: Information, Data and Privacy
  • Police, Inquests and Prison
  • Health and Social Care (including welfare benefits)
  • Commercial Public Law

Sarah Hannett QC

Contact Sarah: sarahhannett@matrixlaw.co.uk | +44 (0)20 7404 3447

Contact Sarah's Practice Team (Team X): TeamX@matrixlaw.co.uk


Sarah was appointed Queen’s Counsel in March 2021. She practises in all areas of public law, equality law and human rights. She has been involved in many of the leading public law cases in recent years.

Sarah is a member of the A-Panel of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Panel of Preferred Counsel.

Sarah is ranked in five practice areas in Chambers and Partners and in four practice areas in Legal 500. In 2019 Sarah was shortlisted for Public Law Junior of the Year in the Legal 500 UK Bar Awards. In 2020 Sarah was shortlisted for the Human Rights and Public Law junior of the year in the Chambers Bar UK Awards. Before taking silk, Sarah was a member of the Attorney-General’s A panel of Counsel.

Public Law/Human Rights

Sarah appears regularly on behalf of claimants (including individuals and commercial organisations), local authorities, the Secretary of State, and regulators. Sarah has been instructed by NGOs such as Liberty, Public Law Project, Stonewall, Women’s Aid and Human Rights Watch. She has particular expertise in claims under the Human Rights Act 1998 and under the Equality Act 2010. Sarah often acts for or against regulatory bodies. She advises commercial clients on their regulatory, public law and equality duties. Sarah has been instructed as Counsel to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in several cases, has acted as Advocate to the Court, and has acted for the Speaker of the House of Commons. Sarah has significant experience in investigations and public inquiries. She acted as junior counsel to the EHRC in the investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party and advised the EHRC in its inquiry into racial harassment in higher education institutions. Sarah acted as counsel to Ofsted in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse. She has conducted or advised on independent inquiries or investigations in the public and private sector, most notably for higher education institutions. Sarah has been instructed in several cases before the European Court of Human Rights. She has also acted in cases concerning the Cayman Islands, Trinidad, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Examples of recent work include: Pal v. United Kingdom [2021] ECHR 990: the European Court of Human Rights held that the arrest and charge of a journalist for the harassment of another journalist following the publication of an article and a tweet breached Article 10 of the ECHR. R (Elan-Cane) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] 1 WLR 699 (SC): the policy precluding the issue of passports with an X sex marker did not breach the ECHR rights of the non-binary claimant. R (AB) v. Secretary of State for Justice [2021] 3 WLR 494 (SC): the segregation of a child detained in a Young Offender Institution did not constitute a breach of Article 3 of the ECHR. Secretary of State for Justice v. A Local Authority and Ors [2021] 3 WLR 1425 (CA): care workers ran the risk of committing an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 if they made practical arrangements for a man in their care to visit a sex worker where he had capacity to consent to sexual relations, but not to make the arrangements himself. R (FDJ) v. Secretary of State for Justice [2021] 1 WLR 5265: the Secretary of State’s policy for the location of trans prisoners did not breach the Equality Act 2010 or the Human Rights Act 1998 in respect of non-trans women prisoners. R (Fair Play for Women) v. Office for National Statistics [2021] EWHC 940 (Admin): the ONS guidance on how to answer the question on “sex” in the 2021 Census was unlawful. Wilson v. The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2021] UKIPTrib_IPT_15_110_CH: the IPT held that the Metropolitan Police had breached the claimant’s rights under Articles 3, 8, 10, 11 and 14 of the ECHR in respect of her relationship with an undercover policeman. Privacy International and Ors v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Ors [2021] UKIPTrib_IPT_17_86_CH: the Investigatory Powers Tribunal gave guidance on the approach that should be taken when the Tribunal seeks statutory assistance from the Investigatory Powers Commissioner. Privacy International v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2021] UKIPTrib_IPT_15_110_CH: the IPT held that the legislative regime for the collection of bulk communications data was incompatible with EU law. R (Steinfeld and Keidan) v. Secretary of State for International Development [2020] AC 1 (SC): the exclusion of heterosexual couples from civil partnerships constituted an unlawful interference with Articles 8 and 14 of the ECHR. R (McConnell) v. Registrar General [2020] 3 WLR 683 (CA): the requirement for a trans man to register as the mother of the child he gave birth to was not contrary to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 or Articles 8 and 14 of the ECHR. R (Heathrow Hub) v. Secretary of State for Transport [2020] EWCA Civ 213: judicial review of the Airports NPS proposing a third runway at Heathrow Airport. Re K (Forced Marriage: Passport Order) [2020] 1 FLR 904: the Court of Appeal gave guidance on the approach to Articles 3 and 8 of the ECHR when considering making forced marriage protection orders for adults with capacity. R (Ouselice) v. Secretary of State for Defence: successful challenge to the refusal by the Ministry of Defence to return the claimant’s medals after his discriminatory dismissal from the Royal Navy. P (Transgender Application for Declaration of Valid Marriage) [2020] 1 FLR 807: the Family Court held that a marriage entered into between a trans man without a gender recognition certificate and a woman before same sex marriages were lawful was void (advocate to the Court). Privacy International & Ors v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2019] UKIPTrib IPT_17_186_CH: the IPT held that MI5’s policy of “authorising” its agents to participate in criminality was not unlawful. First Protocol 16 Advisory Opinion by the European Court of Human Rights (2019): the recognition in domestic law of a legal parent-child relationship between a child born through a surrogacy arrangement abroad and the intended mother. R (DSD and NBV) v. Parole Board of England and Wales [2018] 3 WLR 829: the decision to release the convicted rapist John Worboys was unlawful. Big Brother Watch v. United Kingdom (2018) ECHR 58170/13: the European Court of Human Rights held that the regime for bulk interception of communications and for acquisition of communications data violated Articles 8 and 10 ECHR. In the Matter of M (Children) [2018] 4 WLR 60 (CA): whether the decision of the Family Court that a trans father could not have direct contact with her children complied with the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998. Taiwo v. Olaigbe [2016] 1 WLR 2653 (SC): mistreatment of workers because of their positions as vulnerable migrant domestic workers dependent on their employers did not constitute race discrimination.

Education Law

Sarah has particular expertise in all aspects of education law. She acts on behalf of a wide range of clients (including local authorities, parents, schools, higher education institutions, the Schools Adjudicator, Ofsted, the Education Funding Agency, and the Secretary of State for Education). Sarah acted as junior counsel to Just for Kids in R (Tigere) v. Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills [2015] 1 WLR 82 (SC). Sarah has particular expertise in safeguarding: she is instructed by Ofsted in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse, has advised the Disclosure and Barring Service and was legal adviser to the Winterbourne View Hospital Serious Case Review. Sarah has extensive experience of advising and acting in cases involving higher education institutions. She advised the EHRC on its inquiry into racial harassment in higher education institutions. Sarah acted on behalf of the successful claimants in the St Olave “off-rolling” case. Sarah was awarded the Bar Pro Bono award in 2013 for her work on the School Exclusion Project, an organisation that provides pro-bono representation to parents appealing against the permanent exclusion of their child from school. She is the author (with Aileen McColgan and Elizabeth Prochaska) of Special Educational Needs and the Law (LAG, 2017) and co-authored the chapter on education in National Security: Law, Practice and Procedure (Jones, Ward and Stone, 2021). Sarah was a member of the Justice working party on school exclusions and is a parent governor of a primary school in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Recent education cases include: R (WC) v. Somerset County Council [2021] EWHC 2936 (Admin): successful defence of a judicial review claim of the reorganisation of the three-tier school structure in Somerset. R (Shaw) v. Secretary of State for Education [2020] ELR 677: the amendments to the special educational needs legislation made because of the Covid pandemic were lawful. R (Ngole) v. University of Sheffield [2019] ELR 443 (CA): the removal of a student social worker from his course for comments about LGBT people on Facebook breached Article 10 ECHR. R (Simone) v. Chancellor of the Exchequer [2019] EWHC 2609 (Admin): the approach taken to funding special educational needs at the Budget was not unlawful. R (NHS West Berkshire CCG) v. First-tier Tribunal [2019] UKUT 44 (AAC): judicial review of the FTT’s refusal to grant the CCG the status of a party in a SEN appeal). Reilly v. Sandwell MBC [2018] ELR 435 (SC): the governing body of a School did not unlawfully dismiss/breach the Article 8 rights of a headteacher who failed to disclose her relationship with a convicted sex offender. R (Al-Hijrah School) v. Ofsted [2018] 1 WLR 1471 (CA): the segregation of girls from Year 5 in a mixed sex school constituted direct discrimination contrary to the Equality Act 2010. C & C v. The Governing Body of a School [2018] ELR 552 (UT): regulation 4(1)(c) of the Equality Act 2010 (Disability) Regulations 2010 (tendency to physical abuse) breached Article 14 of the ECHR.

Health and Social Care

Sarah has a wide-ranging health and social care practice. She acts for claimants, doctors, local authorities, NHS bodies and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. She is ranked as a leading junior in community care and local government law and acted on behalf of South Gloucestershire Council in R (Cornwall Council) v. Secretary of State for Health [2016] AC 137 (SC) (test for determining the ordinary residence of a person who lacks capacity). Recent cases include: R (Cornerstone (North East) Adoption and Fostering Services Ltd) v. Ofsted [2021] IRLR 993 (CA): Ofsted’s finding that the refusal of a foster care agency to recruit same sex carers breached the Equality Act 2010 was lawful and did not breach the Claimant’s ECHR rights. R (A) v. Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2019] 1 WLR 2979 (CA): the directions prioritising transplanted organs to patients who are ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom were not ultra vires the National Health Service Act 2006. R (H) v. Secretary of State for Health [2019] EWHC 2095 (Admin): statutory bar on the genetic father of a child born pursuant to a surrogacy agreement being named as the father on her birth certificate did not breach Articles 8 or 14 of the ECHR. R (Bawa-Garba) v. General Medical Council [2018] 163 BMLR 43 (CA): in deciding to strike off Dr Bawa-Garba, the Divisional Court erred in law. R (Migrant Rights Network) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department (Administrative Court, 2018): judicial review that led to the withdrawal of the memorandum of understanding between the SSHD and the Secretary of State for Health that permitted the sharing of non-sensitive GP data of migrants without leave to remain with the SSHD. R (Buxton) v. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2019] PTSR 502: cap on Access to Work payments to disabled workers held not to breach the Equality Act 2010.

Election Law

Sarah has significant election law experience. She has advised and acted for a number of political parties, and in particular, advised on the responsibilities of political parties under the Equality Act 2010. Recent cases include: R v. Mackinlay [2018] 3 WLR 556 (SC): correct approach to declaring notional election expenses. Foster v. McNichol and Corbyn [2016] EWHC 1966 (QB): whether the Labour Party Rules 2016 require an incumbent leader to obtain nominations from 20% of the MPs in order to appear on the ballot. Erlam v. Rahman [2015] 1 WLR 231: application by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets to strike out an election petition.

Other Experience

In 2008 Sarah was a Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, funded by a Pegasus Scholarship awarded by Inner Temple where she undertook work relating to Guantanamo detainees. Prior to coming to the Bar, Sarah was a lecturer in law at King’s College London from 2000 until 2005. She has taught at University College London, Queen Mary University of London and the University of New South Wales in Australia. She has been a visiting professor at McGill University. Sarah graduated from the University of Nottingham in 1998 with a LLB (Hons) (First Class). She has a LLM in Human Rights and Comparative Law from McGill University for which she was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship.
Sarah's Privacy Notice

Sarah is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to her clients, including advice and representation services, Sarah needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes her client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which she is instructed. To read Sarah’s privacy notice in full, please see here.


DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"A thoughtful, subtle advocate and a real player in this field." "Sarah is really hard-working and robust in her approach to challenging injustice."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Community Care

"Intellectually brilliant, very client-focused, pragmatic and very accessible." "She is very knowledgeable about higher education matters, provides quality, practical advice and always delights clients."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Education

"Sarah Hannett is a really fantastic barrister. She is really hard-working and robust in her approach to challenging injustice."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Civil Liberties & Human Rights

"She's calm, measured and really knows public law inside out." "She has the gravitas of an experienced silk despite only being appointed recently."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Administrative & Public Law

"Sarah is calm, concise and provides a reasoned and balanced view of cases based on years of experience. She always puts the client's needs first."

Legal 500, 2022, Court of Protection and Community Care

"She has the ability to sink into the detail as well as high-level litigation strategy for complex cases."

Legal 500, 2022, Education

"Possibly the best public law senior junior at the Bar currently. She can do government- and claimant-side work to the same very high standard and is a delight to work with – clients think that she’s brilliant."

"Brilliant on education, discrimination and special educational needs."

Chambers & Partners 2021 (Administrative and Public Law)

"She is very bright and switched on."

"Her legal analysis is rigorous, practical and helpful."

Chambers & Partners 2021 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

"She’s thorough in her preparation and very good in court."

"An impressive barrister who is excellent on paper."

Chambers & Partners 2021 (Local Government)

"An outstanding education law barrister."

"She is a thoroughly knowledgeable barrister who clients naturally warm to. She always goes the extra mile and her written advice is clear, immediately understandable and always on time."

Chambers & Partners 2021 (Education)

"She is really outstanding, and her ability to both bring and defend claims with equal effectiveness is rare."

"She’s very experienced and has the trust of the court."

"An impressive advocate."

Chambers & Partners 2021 (Community Care)

"An experienced barrister who makes excellent written submissions."

Chambers & Partners 2021 (Election Law)

"An exceptionally bright administrative lawyer. The submissions she drafts grapple with complex points of law in a way that enables the court to understand the importance of that detail. She is also extremely approachable and a very pleasant opponent."

Legal 500 2021 (Administrative and Public Law)

"A real heavyweight lawyer in the field of education law. Great to work with and she adds a lot of value to court and tribunal preparation."

Legal 500 2021 (Education)

"A great junior counsel."

Legal 500 2021 (Court of Protection and Community Care)

"Can utilise the more esoteric pieces of legislation when trying to develop arguments for novel situations."

Legal 500 2021 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

"An extremely impressive junior and a rising star."

"Conscientious, thorough and very good at putting clients at ease."

"Bright, personable, hard-working and clever."

Chambers & Partners 2020 (Administrative and Public Law)

"An excellent barrister; very thorough."

Chambers & Partners 2020 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

"She is really excellent and knows the law thoroughly. Her written submissions are very clear and concise, and she has a good manner in court."

"She is very bright."

"She is sharp, innovative and has a good breadth of knowledge."

Chambers & Partners 2020 (Local Government)

"She’s very straightforward, extremely hard-working and very good at communicating. She has an excellent manner with clients."

"She’s very client-friendly and gives really practical advice."

"She’s responsive and incisive. She really has a grasp of the issues affecting the sector and provides clear and concise opinions, pleadings and advocacy."

Chambers & Partners 2020 (Education)

"She is really outstanding, and her ability to both bring and defend claims with equal effectiveness is rare."

"She’s very experienced and has the trust of the court."

"An impressive advocate."

Chambers & Partners 2020 (Community Care)

"An experienced public lawyer with involvement in many election cases, who is bright and good with clients."

Chambers & Partners 2020 (Election Law)

"A very able advocate with excellent judgment."

Legal 500 2020 (Administrative and Public Law)

"The best education law junior around."

Legal 500 2020 (Education Law)