Sarah Clarke QC

Call 1994 | Silk 2017

Sarah Clarke QC | Call 1994 | Silk 2017

Back to Our People


Sarah Clarke is a specialist in financial services, insider dealing, market abuse and fraud. She is known for her thorough preparation and ability to master complex issues and has a reputation as a tenacious advocate, particularly in cases that involve extensive witness handling and expert witnesses. She is an effective jury advocate but also impresses Judges and Tribunal Chairs with her thorough preparation, legal skills and ability to present solutions to difficult issues.

Business & Specialist Crime

“She has real ability, and is a very conscientious and strong court performer. She is very good at insider dealing cases, having written the leading work on the law and practise of their prosecution.”
Chambers & Partners

Ex-UBS Compliance Officer in Court on $1.8 Million Insider Case
Sarah prosecutes the FCA’s latest high profile insider dealing case involving a former UBS compliance officer.
Click here for full news story

Experience & Expertise

Having previously worked as a Technical Specialist at (what was then) the FSA, Sarah is instructed by the FCA in its more high profile and difficult insider dealing and regulatory cases. In addition she is regularly instructed by clients involved in financial services and enforcement litigation or who require advice on financial services related issues such as insider dealing and market manipulation, the conduct of regulated activities, authorisation and approval applications and change in control issues.

Sarah draws on her six years’ experience in the Enforcement Division of the Financial Services Authority (“FSA”) where she conducted many of the FSA’s high profile insider dealing prosecutions as well as regulatory and disciplinary proceedings before the Regulatory Decisions Committee (“RDC”) and the Upper Tribunal. This followed ten years at the Bar where she had a successful and advocacy heavy practice in general crime, fraud and confiscation.

Chambers and Partners summarises as follows: “her previous experience working for the regulator, as well as her work for a variety of financial institutions, affords her notable experience in cases of fraud, insider dealing and market abuse”.

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 OUP.

  • 2017: Sarah prosecutes the FCA’s latest high profile insider dealing case involving a former UBS compliance officer allegedly passing tips to her co-defendant who then allegedly traded on the basis of that information.
  • 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 in which the defendant dealt on inside information obtained while he was employed at Schroders Investment Management.
    Click here and here for press 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): 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 press coverage
  • R v Ahmad and Sidhu (2011 – 2012): FSA’s first “plea bargaining” case using SOCPA powers.
    Click here for press coverage
  • R v Calvert (2010): FSA’s first insider dealing prosecution of a city professional.
    Click here for press coverage
  • R v Uberoi (2009): FSA’s first insider dealing profession involving a City employee
    Click here for press 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 behavior.
  • 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 recently 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 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. (On-going)
  • 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


“Easy to work with and very responsive. She will put herself out for the good of the clients and you can see that judges clearly trust her.” “She has a great presence and is very calming and reassuring. She has very good judgement and is pragmatic and a real fighter.”
Chambers & Partners

‘Very responsive with an excellent understanding of the regulatory process, having spent time at the FSA and now regularly instructed both by and against the regulator.’
The Legal 500

“She offers rare expertise across both criminal and civil aspects of market abuse and other regulatory work.”
Chambers & Partners

‘Sarah is a powerhouse who should not be underestimated. A leader in the field on insider dealing. She is incredibly forensic and tactical, and has authority and composure both in court and on paper. Fantastic with judges and juries.’
The Legal 500

“She is very calming and reassuring, and has very good judgement. She is pragmatic and a real fighter.”
Chambers & Partners

“She is extremely hard-working and knows what she is talking about. She is practical, client-focused, good at communication and a safe pair of hands.”
Chambers & Partners

“She is a very strong advocate with a powerful intellect, who is not scared to take a decision.”
Chambers & Partners

“She’s hard-working and diligent, with a real eye for detail.”
Chambers & Partners 

“Highly knowledgeable and knows the ins and outs and procedures of the FCA. She’s very engaging and gains the trust of the client immediately.”
Chambers & Partners

‘Hard as nails in the court room where her advocacy shines; what she doesn’t know about insider trading isn’t worth knowing.’
The Legal 500

“An excellent speaker, whose background as a regulator gives added edge”.
Chambers & Partners

“She is extremely well prepared, very knowledgeable and puts the client at the heart of her advice.If it’s really technical she comes to the fore.”
Chambers & Partners

“She is very good at insider dealing cases, having written the leading work on the law and practice of their prosecution.”
Chambers & Partners

“Highly valued by the FCA, which often instructs her in major investigatory matters with significant technical aspects.”
Chambers & Partners

“Highly knowledgeable and very effective.”
The Legal 500

“Experienced and sensible,” “she is an expert on financial market fraud. She works very hard, is quick at seeing the point and writes very clearly and succinctly.”
Chambers & Partners

“She can take complex cases and identify the kernel of the issues.”
The Legal 500

“Extensive experience of market abuse and regulatory actions.”
The Legal 500

“She’s very good, very bright and very focused, and is strong in court. She’s gleaned a lot of experience from being in-house at the FSA.”
Chambers & Partners

“Works extremely hard on her instructions.”
The Legal 500

“She benefits from several years’ experience in the Enforcement Division of the FCA (then the FSA).”
The Legal 500

“She’s an advocate who works extremely hard for the clients and is not afraid to ask difficult questions. She is very skilled in FCA and criminal fraud matters.”
Chambers & Partners


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