Sarah Clarke KC

Call 1994 | Silk 2017

Sarah Clarke KC | Call 1994 | Silk 2017

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Sarah’s practice encompasses a wide range of fields including financial services, insider dealing, corporate fraud, sexual offences, police and regulatory proceedings and inquests. She brings her knowledge of the law in many fields to bear on complex cases and has a creative approach to problem solving. She is known for her thorough preparation and ability to master complex issues, particularly in cases involving expert evidence. Sarah was shortlisted for the Financial Services and Insurance Silk of the Year Award at The Legal 500 UK Bar Awards 2022.

Sarah is clerked primarily by Lee Johnson, Clare Sabido , Jennifer Pooler and  Emma Bell. 

Sarah Clarke KC and Matt Chidley secured the conviction of a former Major General.
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Sarah Clarke KC discusses how to improve court room skills on the Advocacy Podcast.
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Experience & expertise

Sarah is particularly well known for her expertise in financial services, insider dealing, fraud including bribery and money laundering, restraint and confiscation proceedings.

She also has an excellent reputation in the police disciplinary field where her ability to master complicated litigation and background in criminal law makes her in demand for cases which involve complex facts, expert evidence, multi-defendants, corruption and covert policing.

She is also instructed in difficult and complex GMC proceedings and represents medical professionals and Hospital Trusts at Inquests. She has a niche practice in representing medical professionals in the Crown Court in respect of sexual and fraud offences and also prosecutes on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service and Service Prosecutions Authority.

Sarah is described as a “formidable advocate” in court where she excels in the cut and thrust of advocacy, particularly witness handling where her skill at cross-examining witnesses and her mastery of the papers and legal issues ensure that her clients feel that she has done everything possible to fight their corner.

In her advisory work she relishes complex legal questions, but ensures that her advice is practical, sensible, and easy to understand. Sarah is often instructed at an early stage to provide strategic advice and is experienced at shaping complex and difficult litigation, working with large case teams and different stakeholders.

cases & work of note

Insider Dealing and Market Abuse
Sarah has a particular expertise in this field – both criminal and civil. She acts for the FCA and also for clients involved in criminal and civil investigations. She is the author of the leading textbook in this field “Insider Dealing: Law and Practice” published by Oxford University Press (2013).

  • (2016): Instructed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority on an Enforcement Investigation. Sarah has previously advised the DFSA on its Enforcement Investigations and Decision Making process.
  • R v Birk and Others (2016): Acted for the main defendant in this insider dealing case involving the £1.6bn takeover of Logica by CGI. Successfully mitigated for a suspended sentence of imprisonment following guilty plea.
  • R v Clarke (2016): Led Junior in this high profile insider dealing prosecution of a Fund Manager at Schroders Investment Manager who dealt over a nine year period on inside information obtained through his employment
    Click here and here for news coverage
  • Re X (2014): Advising an individual involved in the FOREX multi-agency, cross-border investigation.
  • Re Z: (2014): Advising a trader at a well-known investment bank in respect of allegations of market manipulation.
  • R v Sanders and Others (2012): One of the most significant UK insider dealing prosecution to date. First US / UK case involving parallel SEC and DOJ proceedings. Listed in the Lawyer’s “Top 20 cases for 2012”.
    Click here and here for news coverage.
  • R v Ahmad and Sidhu (2011 – 2012): FSA’s first “plea bargaining” case using SOCPA powers.
    Click here for news coverage
  • R v Calvert (2010): FSA’s first insider dealing prosecution of a city professional.
    Click here for news coverage
  • R v Uberoi (2009): FSA’s first insider dealing profession involving a City employee. Click here for news coverage

Fraud and Confiscation:
Sarah particularly enjoys the intellectual challenges that these areas of law bring. She is known for her attention to detail, forensic judgement and court room skills. Clients also rate her teamwork and client care.

  • Instructed by the Pensions Regulator to advise on potential prosecution of important new criminal offences.
  • R v K (2016): Instructed to represent a defendant in a private prosecution for fraud. Successfully persuaded the CPS to take over and discontinue the case and then successfully obtained “wasted” costs orders against both the private prosecutor and his (direct access) Barrister on grounds of improper conduct.
  • R v Hope & Von Badlo (2016): Instructed by the FCA as Leading Junior to prosecute this alleged multi million pound forex investment fraud.
    Confiscation proceedings invoked the enacted s.10A POCA
    Court of Appeal – Appeal against sentence, laid down important guidelines in respect of sentencing for “misleading statements” offences [2015] EWCA Crim 1236
    Click here and here for press coverage
  • Re M (2016): Advising a leading investment bank on employee fraud allegations. Whether criminal offences committed and corporate risks arising from the allegations.
  • Op M: (2015): Acting for a multi-national listed company in a bribery / corruption investigation. Contested production order applications.
  • R v Robin Radclyffe (2010): First prosecution for s.397 FSMA misleading statements offences and investment fraud.
    Click here for press coverage

Financial Services Cases:
Sarah has a broad range of experience acting for and against the FCA in Enforcement Investigations, RDC proceedings and in the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber). She is increasingly instructed for corporate clients and individuals in these matters where she is able to bring her knowledge of the FCA to bear with notable success.

  • Re C (2016): Instructed in FCA Regulatory Decisions Committee proceedings in respect of allegations of dishonesty in respect of conduct of bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Re X (2016): Acting for a large debt management company in respect of its application for FCA authorisation. Successful in persuading the RDC not to issue a Decision Notice and to thereby grant the application for authorisation.
  • Re S (2016): Acting for a Director of a SIPP Operator in respect of an FCA Enforcement Investigation. Successfully persuaded the FCA to close the investigation on the grounds that the FCA had failed to understand the regulatory requirements on SIPP Operators at the relevant time.
  • Re B (2016): Acting for a Compliance Director of a major IFA network in respect of an FCA Enforcement investigation into systems and controls failings.
  • Re Z (2013): Advising a high profile IFA network in relation to FCA Enforcement proceedings for change in control breaches. Successfully persuaded the FCA not to prosecute the firm and CEO.
  • Amir Khan v FCA (2014): important case on FCA policy of imposition of minimum financial penalty for submitting fraudulent mortgage applications.
    Click here for press coverage
  • Noel Walker v FCA (2014): Removal of right to conduct regulated activity on grounds of lack of integrity.
  • Westwood Independent Financial Planners v FCA (2013): breaches of Principle 7 (communication of information) and Principle 9 (suitability of advice) of Principles for Businesses and related Conduct of Business Rules in relation to Geared Traded Endowment Policies.
    Contested factual and expert evidence – 3 week hearing involving calling of large number of witnesses and 4 experts.
    Click here for press coverage
  • Andrew Jeffery v FCA (2013): General insurance broker – whether Applicant in breach of Statements of Principle 1 and 4; action under s 66 FSMA – whether prevented by limitation – construction of s 66(4), (5) – penalty – s 66(3) – prohibition order – s 56 FSMA.  Novel point of law in relation to application for recusal of judge – apparent bias – fair-minded and informed observer – whether sharing of office or other proximity to judge formerly chairman of RDC and involved in the case whilst employed by the FSA would lead observer to conclude that there was a real possibility of bias. (Court of Appeal).
    Longest ever FCA Tribunal case, involving calling of over 30 witnesses.
    Click here and here for more information
  • Abdul Razzaq v FCA (2013): Prohibition order and cancellation of permission.
    Click here for more information
  • James Perman & Company v FSA (2011): Cancellation – Suitability/fitness and proprietary – Threshold Condition 5 and Principle 11.
    Click here for more information

Sarah represents families, doctors and hospital Trusts at inquests throughout the country. She is particularly experienced in inquests which engage Article 2 ECHR and those involving juries, where her background in jury trials and cross-examination makes her particularly effective.

Inquests include:

  • Re S inquest (2015): Representing a Junior Doctor who was being “scapegoated” by the Hospital Trust in respect of the death of a patient.  As a result of cross-examination of the Trust’s witnesses, I successfully established that she was not at fault.
  • Re X inquest (2015): Representing a Hospital Trust in an Article 2 Jury inquest involving the suicide of a voluntary mental health patient.
  • Dorothy Ross inquest (2014): Represented a Hospital Trust in an Article 2 inquest involving issues of unlawful killing and neglect.
  • Sam Boon inquest (2014): Acted for the family GP in this high profile inquest involving the sudden death from heat stroke of a teenager on a World Challenge expedition in Morocco.
    Click here for press coverage
  • Representing a GP Practice in an inquest into the death of a care in the community patient. (2013-14)
  • Representing a GP’s practice in Article 2 Jury inquest involving death of patient sectioned under Mental Health Act. (2014)
  • Representing ‘Out of Hours’ GP service in inquest concerning death by suicide. (2014)


  • Re 4 officers: Representing the MET in Disciplinary Proceedings involving serious allegations against senior officers from the Territorial Support Group.
  • Re F (2016): Leading Junior, representing TVP in Disciplinary Proceedings involving important legal argument on the lawfulness of surveillance evidence in the context of a disciplinary investigation and whether in breach of Article 8 ECHR. Successfully resisted application for exclusion of this evidence and for proceedings to be stayed as an abuse of process. Contested expert evidence and successful application to exclude defence expert evidence on grounds of failure to comply with Experts’ Protocol and CPR.
  • Webb (2015): Representing the MET in Disciplinary Proceedings arising from Counter Corruption Unit investigation.

Professional Disciplinary and Criminal Matters:
Sarah’s background in criminal law makes her an obvious choice for cases involving allegations of fraud or sexual assault. Sarah is also used to dealing with vulnerable witnesses and defendants and is a member of the Rook Working Group and the ICCA’s “Advocate’s Gateway”

  • Instructed by the SPA to advise on and prosecute high profile case involving allegations of rape and violence within a relationship between two Army Captains. Court Martial proceedings.
  • Representing a doctor charged with sexual assault on a hospital nurse.
  • Representing a GP charged with sexual assault on a number of patients.
  • Representing a Dental Technician charged with offences under the Dentists Act 1984. (2013)
  • Representing a Doctor in GMC proceedings in respect of allegations of fraud and dishonesty in the writing of expert reports in personal injury cases.
  • Representing a Doctor in GMC proceedings in respect of allegations of sexual assault, dishonesty and failure of performance assessment. (2013)
  • Representing a member of the Bar in appeal proceedings before the BSB. Involved novel and difficult issue relating to appeal against the wrongful withholding of a practising certificate. (2011)


Sarah is recommended as a leading barrister by both the leading legal directories, across five different practice areas, and rose in the rankings again this year. The Legal 500 features her as a leading junior for Banking & Finance, Business and Regulatory Law and Fraud (Crime), and Chambers & Partners ranks her as a leading junior for Financial Services and Financial Crime.

Sarah was shortlisted for the Financial Services and Insurance Silk of the Year Award 2022 by The Legal 500.

Chambers & Partners notes that in the field of insider dealing and market abuse she is a junior that QCs turn to for assistance”.

Other directory editorial includes the following:

  • she is good at cutting to the heart of the matter;
  • Sarah is excellent on her feet;
  • she is brilliant;
  • extraordinarily proficient;
  • puts the client at the heart of her advice;
  • extremely well prepared, very knowledgeable;
  • an absolutely outstanding advocate with a brilliant analytical mind. A force to be reckoned with. She is a joy to work with, and you know she will always do an excellent job for the client;
  • what she doesn’t know about insider trading isn’t worth knowing;
  • a very conscientious and strong court performer;
  • she has real ability;
  • highly valued by the FCA;
  • a truly excellent all-rounder. She is a very hard worker who is very thorough in her preparation;
  • brilliant on very technical aspects of the law but also has great courtroom presence;
  • she conducts near-flawless cross-examinations in difficult circumstances and very quickly gains the trust of the judge and jury;
  • excellent first-hand experience of financial services regulatory cases;
  • an absolutely outstanding advocate who will always do an excellent job;
  • she’s very engaging and gains the trust of the client immediately;
  • very good at insider dealing cases, having written the leading work on the law and practice of their prosecution;
  • very responsive;
  • she is strong technically and very good on turnaround times;
  • she is excellent with enforcement cases, extremely knowledgeable and someone you want on your side;
  • she is an absolute delight to work with, a brilliant advocate and is particularly effective in cross-examination;
  • she is very direct with her advice, very user-friendly and incredibly bright;
  • she is very technical and gets things done quickly;
  • excellent with enforcement cases, extremely knowledgeable. Someone you want on your side;
  • she has excellent experience of regulatory matters. She is calm, responsive, knowledgeable, positive and very user-friendly;
  • particularly strong in cross-examination and conveys gravitas without being aggressive;
  • an excellent understanding of the regulatory process, having spent time at the FSA and now regularly instructed both by and against the regulator;
  • highly knowledgeable and knows the ins and outs and procedures of the FCA;
  • if it’s really technical she comes to the fore;
  • she’s hard-working and diligent, with a real eye for detail;
  • Sarah is a powerhouse who should not be underestimated;
  • a leader in the field on insider dealing;
  • she is incredibly forensic and tactical;
  • has authority and composure both in court and on paper;
  • fantastic with judges and juries;
  • an excellent speaker, whose background as a regulator gives added edge;
  • highly knowledgeable and very effective;
  • a leading junior in criminal matters with an FCA dimension;
  • she prepares her cases well;
  • completely au fait with the financial world;
  • Sarah is highly knowledgeable and experienced;
  • she can make the complicated sound simple;
  • has great rapport with clients;
  • hard as nails in the court room where her advocacy shines;
  • is a delight to work with;
  • she is practical, client-focused, good at communication and a safe pair of hands;
  • her varied background in law brings strength;
  • she is totally reliable and practical;
  • extremely knowledgeable;
  • easy to work with;
  • very responsive;
  • she will put herself out for the good of the clients;
  • you can see that judges clearly trust her;
  • she has a great presence;
  • is very calming and reassuring;
  • she has very good judgement;
  • is pragmatic and a real fighter;
  • experienced and sensible;
  • she is an expert on financial market fraud;
  • she is a very strong advocate with a powerful intellect, who is not scared to take a decision;
  • unflappable;
  • incredibly good on her feet;
  • takes only good points;
  • is quick at seeing the point;
  • very knowledgeable and reliable with FCA cases, particularly market abuse;
  • writes very clearly and succinctly;
  • an advocate who works extremely hard for the clients;
  • not afraid to ask difficult questions;
  • very skilled in FCA and criminal fraud matters;
  • she offers rare expertise across both criminal and civil aspects of market abuse and other regulatory work;
  • she is very calming and reassuring;
  • has very good judgement;
  • she is pragmatic and a real fighter;
  • she is extremely hard-working and knows what she is talking about;
  • very bright and very focused, and is strong in court;
  • gleaned a lot of experience from being in-house at the FSA;
  • works extremely hard on her instructions; 
  • an expert on market abuse; and
  • she can take complex cases and identify the kernel of the issues.


I became a Barrister by accident but I couldn’t ask for a better career. I wanted to study Archaeology at University but my favourite school teacher said that it would “not give you many options in life”. So I asked him what I should do instead and he said, “study law because you are good at arguing” – so I did, and he was right. I do like arguing – and I particularly enjoy the strategic planning that goes into the decision of whether or not to ask a question, take a point, adopt a position. That said, some days I still wish I was knee deep in a muddy trench scraping dirt from a dinosaur bone with a toothbrush.

My Pupil Supervisor taught me that the most important person in court is not the Judge – but the Usher, who is the eyes and ears of the Judge and who is also the person who can make sure you get on first or last in the list. What good advice it has proved to be. Now that I sit as a Recorder myself I know exactly why he said it.

“The real skill is identifying the winning strategy and having the courage and confidence to see it through.”

I have been lucky to have been instructed in ground breaking cases in a developing field of law at the most interesting time. I was instructed in the early insider dealing and market abuse cases at a time when no-one believed that such cases could be successfully prosecuted. They were wrong. I love the legal and factual challenges these cases bring and I am proud to have a strong and successful practice in this field acting for the Regulator and also for individual, corporate and international clients.

I wrote the book that I would have liked to have read when I first started doing Insider Dealing cases, when the only text book that existed was last published in 1993. I still get a thrill when I see my book being used in Court or on a client’s desk. I donated a copy to my University Law Library and received a polite but slightly incredulous letter from one of my Professors – who clearly couldn’t quite believe that I had actually written a book.

I love the challenge of turning the difficult or impossible case into the best outcome in the circumstances. The real skill is identifying the winning strategy and having the courage and confidence to see it through even when everyone around you is losing their nerve. This is what Barristers are for in my view.

I hate injustice and will do everything in my power to put right a wrong. Early on in my career I represented a Member of the Bar pro bono who had struggled through adversity to get to the Bar, and had then been terribly badly treated by her pupil supervisor who effectively ended my client’s career mid-way through her pupillage. I took proceedings before the BSB and argued successfully for her reinstatement and then helped her to successfully apply for pupillage elsewhere. Sometimes in life you just have to stand in front of someone when they really need it.


Sarah is a member of the Lloyds Law Reports Financial Crime Editorial Board.

Author of “Insider Dealing: Law and Practice” published by Oxford University Press. The leading textbook in this field.

“Insider Dealing: Law and Practice is an excellent, and much welcomed, commentary on insider dealing from a person with unparalleled experience in this field. The text is as useful for those who are new to the topic as it is for those with substantial expertise. It serves as a good introduction to insider dealing law and gives a practical overview of how insider dealing operates within our legal system. … Insider Dealing: Law and Practicer is a thorough, well considered practitioner’s text and should find its way into the hands of any purporting to have an interest in the financial markets.”
Criminal Law and Justice Weekly

“This is a book which should be purchased by all Chambers and law firms who undertake work in insider dealing cases. … this is a book written by a practitioner for practitioners. it combines diligence with a lightness of touch, and is highly recommended.”
Archbold News Review

“This is a remarkably clear exposition of a dark corner of the City of London. Clarke’s book will be bought by lawyers, accountants and academics, but its avoidance of legal jargon taught this layman what insider dealing is, why its detection is important and what is being done about it.”
Stephen Halliday, Times Higher Education


  • Judicial College – Lecturer on European Criminal Law and Financial Services Offences
  • European Market Abuse Law – Academy of European Law, Trier (June 2016)
  • Sarah regularly lectures on market abuse, financial services and fraud for professional bodies and solicitors firms.


  • Recorder of the Crown Court (2012)
  • Authorised to sit in cases involving Serious Sexual Offences (2016)
  • Grade 4 CPS Prosecutor – General list
  • Grade 4, Rape, Fraud and POCA Panels
  • SFO “A list” (POCA)
  • Bar Standards Board – Board Member 2011-2015
  • Vice Chair of BSB Qualifications Committee
  • CPS Advocacy Assessor
  • Contributing author to LexisNexis and member of the Editorial Board of LexisNexisPSL.
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Thomson Reuters Practical Law – Business Crime
  • Member of the Inns of Court College of Advocacy (“ICCA”)
  • Chair of the ICCA Training and Accreditation Committee
  • Member of the “Rook” Working Group – Advocacy and the Vulnerable pan profession compulsory training. Trainer of “Lead Facilitators” and Inner Temple lead.
  • Inner Temple Advocacy Training Committee. Sarah is a leading advocacy trainer both nationally (for her Inn and in running the annual South Eastern Circuit “Keble” Advocacy Course), and internationally including:
  • US Embassy – Training of Belize Police Service (2016)
  • British High Commission, Islamabad – Pakistan Prosecutions Department (2014, 2015)
  • Bar of Northern Ireland – inaugural course on handling of vulnerable witnesses (2015)
  • Hong Kong Advocacy Training Council inaugural course on handling of vulnerable witnesses (2014)
  • Pakistan Prosecutors at the Special Terrorism Court (Lahore). (2014)
  • Malaysian Bar and Judiciary, Kuala Lumpur. (2011)
  • International Criminal Court (ICC). (2007, 2009)
  • Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). (2009)
  • International Criminal Court for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). (2006 – 2011)
  • South African Bar’s Training the Trainer Course. (2006)
  • Supreme Court for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo. (2005)


  • BA Hons (Dunelm) (1993)
  • Inns of Court School of Law (1994)


  • Criminal Bar Association
  • South Eastern Circuit


Sarah adopts and adheres to the provisions of her privacy notice which can be accessed here.

further information

For further details of Sarah’s practice please click on the links to the left or contact a member of the clerking or client service team.

Bar Council Membership No: 32065
Registered Name: Sarah Anne Clarke
VAT Registration No: 120 8060 59