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Sarah Hemingway

  • Call: 2006
Sarah Hemingway
"She is very approachable and motivated." 

Chambers UK, 2019

"She is very knowledgable and is always on the end of the phone." "She is willing to go the extra mile and wants to see justice."

Chambers UK, 2018

What others say

“She is very approachable, motivated and reliably provides quality advice.”
Chambers UK 2017 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

“She knows her stuff and turns the paperwork around very quickly.” “She will go the extra mile to help clients,” and “is very detailed and thorough.”
Chambers UK 2017 (Police Law: Mainly Claimant)

“A strong advocate with a varied practice in civil actions, judicial reviews and inquests. She draws on her experience as a Human Rights Consultant for the UN Office of the High Commissioner to represent both claimants and defendants. Hemingway undertakes briefs in a wide range of contexts, from mental health to criminal to prison law.”
Chambers UK 2016 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

“She is brilliant. She is one of my first choices for counsel who have an expertise in human rights and specifically freedom of assembly and association with a look at protests and protesters’ rights. She gets on very well with all our clients.”
Chambers UK 2016 (Police Law: Mainly Claimant)

“She is a thoughtful barrister with a human touch.” “I am really impressed by the level of detail and care that goes into her advice.” “She does not seem fazed when a hearing is not going the right way, and she has the ability to turn things around.”  “Highly regarded for her handling of civil claims brought against the police and public organisations, many of which relate to negligence and assault.”
Chambers UK 2015

“A great advocate who makes persuasive arguments.” “She is very good with clients and analyses issues well. She is able to focus on what is important.” She is described as “a real star of police action trials and an excellent cross-examiner.” “She’s very friendly and approachable and this is why the clients like and trust her.”
Chambers UK 2014

Sarah “is at the top of her game” and “impresses with her advocacy.” Noted for her ability to dig through a huge amount of written work in a short time she is celebrated by those that use her for being “a thoughtful barrister, with a human touch.” “Tenacious” in her approach, she has represented a number of claimants in civil actions against the police.
Chambers UK 2013 (Police Law)


Civil actions

A major part of Sarah’s practice involves civil claims against public bodies, with a particular focus on actions against the police. She is experienced in jury trials involving false imprisonment, assault, malicious prosecution and other torts and regularly advises on similar claims. In Erinle v CC Merseyside Police. Sarah secured damages for a man assaulted by police in the course of an arrest then maliciously prosecuted for assault PC. In Pannell v Chief Constable of Surrey Police. Sarah was junior counsel in a team that managed to secure £40,000 for the victim of an assault by a police officer. In a more recent jury trials she secured substantial damages for a man falsely imprisoned, assaulted and maliciously prosecuted for affray (Deakin v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police) and she successfully represented a Claimant in relation to a case involving an arrest for breach of the peace in a domestic setting (Stanford v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police). Sarah also has experience of round-table negation and mediation in police cases and recently helped to settle a race discrimination claim against Kent police for £50,000 plus an extensive written apology. In the case of Alford v CC Cambridgeshire Police she was junior counsel to a serving police officer who brought a claim against a neighbouring police service for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. Sarah was junior counsel before the Court of Appeal case clarifying the application of the ‘necessity of arrest’ requirement (Hayes v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police [2012] 1 WLR 517). As a pupil she worked on the case of Marper v UK wherein the ECtHR unanimously held that the blanket retention of DNA breached Article 8.


Sarah’s inquest work includes deaths in custody, deaths occurring soon after contact with police and health authorities, and deaths at work or those involving prospective prosecutions by the Health and Safety Executive. Civil claims in negligence or Article 2 claims following the inquest procedure are growing areas of practice.

Prison law

Sarah is regularly instructed in prisoner adjudications and parole board applications, providing written representations and advocacy at oral hearings. She also advises on potential challenges to recall, prisoner complaints and other civil actions or human rights claims brought by prisoners.

Judicial review

Sarah mainly advises on judicial reviews arising from the Criminal Justice System such as the decisions of, the Parole Board ,the Independent Police Complaints Commission, Magistrates, the Criminal Cases Review Commission and CICA. She has represented both prisoners and victims of crime in their applications before the High Court and is currently acting in a number of challenges against the IPCC. A growing area of work involves challenging decisions to detain within the immigration context.

Mental health

Sarah is often instructed in cases involving detention and human rights before the Mental Health Tribunals. Court of Protection work is a growing areas of interest.

Crime, protests and demonstrations

Criminal work makes up a significant part of Sarah’s practice involving Crown Court trials, appeals and cases stated to the High Court. In 2010 she was led junior for the main defendant in R v Abad Siddique and ors, a prosecution arising from ‘Operation Retriever’ where the charges included rapes, several false imprisonments and sexual assaults against a number of complainants. She has substantial experience in the area of protest cases, such as those arising out of ‘Climate Camp’ and other environmental campaigns, including sentencing of the 49 Stansted Protesters (Plane Stupid) case. She continues to represent people in cases where there is a potential civil claim arising out of police acts or omissions and in ASBO applications.

Pro bono

Sarah continues to work for the Asylum Support Appeals Project which provides free representation for failed asylum seekers needing financial support and housing. She also works for the organisation Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) providing free representation at bail hearings in the AIT.


Sarah continues to work internationally as a human rights expert for the Council of Europe training police in developing countries (completing missions in Georgia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Russia) and has represented Northern Ireland at international seminars held in Paris and Strasbourg. In June 2011 and March 2012 she was involved in the training of senior UK police officers in human rights and public order. In 2010 she was an international legal observer of an employment trial in Turkey for the International Centre for Trade Union Rights. And her report assisted in speeding up victory for the unfairly dismissed employees.


Turkey: Sinter Metal Trial Observation Report, ICTUR, August 2010

Legal Response to Women as Victims of Trafficking: A European Perspective, Pakistan Journal of Women’s Studies: Alam-e-Niswan, Vol 16, No. 1&2, 2009 (co-authored with Phillippa Kaufmann)

DNA Discrimination, New Law Journal (co-authored with Azeem Suterwalla) April 2008

Challenges in Defining and Operationalising a Human Rights-Based Approach to Development: Experience from the Rights-Based Municipal Assessment and Planning Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina, IDPM, University of Manchester, 21-22 Feb 2005

The Impact of Tourism on the Human Rights of Women in South East Asia; The International Journal of Human Rights, vol.8, No.3, pp.275-304 Autumn 2004

Sexual Minorities and the International Human Rights Framework; presented at Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights Summer School, “3rd Generation Human Rights”, September 2003.

Excess Baggage?: The Responsibility of Companies and Individuals for Human Rights Abuses within the Tourism Industry, Human Rights Law Review Student Supplement, 2002.


Before coming to the Bar Sarah was the Human Rights Training Adviser to the Police Service of Northern Ireland. She has also worked extensively on human rights issues at the international level. As an Immigration and Human Rights Consultant for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Bosnia and Herzegovina) she worked predominantly on issues of trafficking, discrimination and economic and social rights. As a Human Rights Officer at the OSCE/ODIHR (Poland) she worked with the Senior Legal Adviser on anti-trafficking issues and international human rights law.