Sarah Simcock

Call 2001

Overview

Sarah Simcock’s practice spans the law relating to mental capacity, mental health and healthcare, the police and inquests and inquiries. Her diverse, wide-ranging practice makes her extremely versatile, both as an adviser and advocate having acted for many different kinds of clients including patients, the Official Solicitor, NHS bodies, police forces and medical professionals. Sarah prides herself on being approachable and giving sound, practical advice with a thorough grasp of the law. She is known as a tenacious advocate and for her clear, concise and pragmatic approach.

Sarah is clerked primarily by Tom O’Connor and Louis Wilkins.

“She is a charismatic presence in court, but also displays that seriousness and modesty which encourages judges and juries to trust her.”
Chambers & Partners

Police officer to appeal dismissal following gross misconduct finding as a result of his children being taken into care: Sarah represents the police force.

Experience and expertise

Court of Protection
Sarah has an extensive Court of Protection Practice. Her experience in medical treatment cases includes urgent applications for life saving medical treatment and non-urgent medical treatment such as for HIV, dental surgery and chronic physical conditions. She also has experience of “end of life” withdrawal of medical treatment and issues arising in relation to the validity and interpretation of advanced directives. Sarah regularly deals with cases involving a deprivation of liberty and use of force to provide medical treatment.

Many of Sarah’s cases have involved the interaction between the Mental Health Act 1983 and the Mental Capacity Act 2005 as well as issues of public law.

Sarah frequently acts in welfare cases in the Court of protection in applications relating to best interests in relation to residence and social, nursing or medical care.  These cases have involved the removal of elderly clients into institutional care or their return home from residential care, DNR decisions and residence and contact disputes as well as issues surrounding forced marriage. Sarah has also advised in cases involving allegations of serious sexual assault against adults lacking capacity by family members. Challenges to standard authorisations of a deprivation of liberty regularly arise in Sarah’s cases involving whether residential placements involve a lawful deprivation of liberty or are too restrictive in their nature and whether alternative residential or care options should be explored.

Clinical Negligence and Healthcare
Sarah undertakes clinical negligence claims, acting for both claimants and defendants. She regularly appears in cases in the High Court and county courts, drafts statements of case and advises in claims involving doctors, dentists and professionals from other related fields. Sarah’s recent experience involves a number of cases involving issues of consent as well as surgical negligence in particular in general abdominal and gynaecological cases. Sarah also often deals with cases involving a primary care setting and allegations of failures or delays in diagnosis of serious conditions.

Sarah also has extensive experience of clinical negligence claims for the MOD and in a prison healthcare context including in relation to fatalities. These cases have involved not only allegations in relation to the actions of individuals but also in relation to the workings of the system and the application of guidance, policies and training.

Sarah also has experience acting for the emergency medical services such as ambulance services in negligence claims. Often in these claims the nature, quality and speed of the emergency response are in issue and policy and resources are highly relevant, as well as involving allegations against individuals. Often issues of causation are important in this context.

Police Law
Sarah’s practice encompasses all aspects of police law.  Her diverse and wide-ranging work makes her extremely versatile, both as an adviser and advocate.

Sarah advises and represents a significant number of police forces in a wide variety of civil actions. Sarah has advised and represented the police in cases involving false imprisonment, assault and malicious prosecution as well as misfeasance in public office. Often her cases involve serious allegations of neglect of duty, racial or disability discrimination or claims of negligence by police officers for example in the sphere of child protection or in dealing with vulnerable adults, others arise out of deaths in custody or deaths following police contact. She has acted in jury and judge alone trials and regularly appears in interim applications. She also has a particular interest in breach of confidentiality claims.

Sarah undertakes a wide variety of general advisory work, advising on such matters as implementation of operational policy and legislation as well as working relationships with other public bodies for example in relation to child protection and the protection of vulnerable adults. Sarah has a special interest in disclosure issues and public interest immunity applications and regularly advises and represents police forces in family or other civil proceedings. Sarah has advised in relation to public order policing, the use of entry and search powers and police use of the Mental Health Act 1983.

A significant part of Sarah’s police practice involves disciplinary work.  Sarah regularly acts in police gross misconduct proceedings. These cases often concern the most serious conduct involving allegations of dishonesty, sexual impropriety, neglect of duty, discreditable conduct, breach of confidentiality or data protection and computer misuse. Sarah is experienced at dealing with the type of legal issues which arise in these cases including in relation to abuse of process, Art 8 rights to privacy, disclosure obligations and issues of public interest immunity. Sarah also has considerable experience in advising on evidence and in drafting of charges in gross misconduct cases. She also advises and acts for the IPCC. Sarah appears in the Police Appeals Tribunal and is representing a police force on an officer’s appeal from a gross misconduct finding as a result of his children being taken into care as a result of his physical mistreatment of them having successfully obtained his dismissal at the initial hearing. Interesting legal argument arises concerning the correct interpretation of “behaviour” under the regulations where the force relied upon the care orders made by the family court as the “conduct” bringing discredit upon the force.

Public and Administrative
Sarah’s public law practice encompasses aspects of her police law practice, medical and Court of Protection practice and in relation to inquests and public inquiries. Her diverse and wide-ranging work makes her extremely versatile, both as an adviser and advocate.

Sarah has acted for police forces as well as different government and statutory bodies and prisons in cases of judicial review and human rights claims for false imprisonment arising out of challenges to detention or treatment whilst detained or breach of Articles 2, 5, 6 and 8 ECHR. She has also advised and acted in a variety of judicial review proceedings including those arising out of police forces’ application of the police pensions regulations and unsatisfactory attendance and performance procedures as well as in relation to decisions not to prosecute suspected offenders. Sarah recently advised a police force in the judicial review claim of a victim of a sexual assault where it was alleged that the police force had improperly taken no further action against the suspected offender.

Sarah has advised in cases in relation to judicial review of coroners’ decisions such as in the mis-application of the law of causation in a coronial context and in relation to whether there have been errors of law in the returning of a particular conclusion or in leaving such a conclusion to a jury and upon complex issues of disclosure and public interest immunity.

Inquests & Inquiries
Sarah has a wealth of experience in difficult and sensitive inquests, including those conducted under Art 2 and with a jury, sometimes attracting significant publicity. Her coronial experience spans various areas of particular expertise. Sarah is known for her knowledge and practical approach which instils confidence in her clients.

Sarah regularly acts in inquests in relation to deaths in police and prison custody, involving force or restraint used by police officers or resulting from self-harm. Sarah has represented police forces as well as the Ministry of Justice, during her time as Treasury Counsel.

She continues to represent bodies who provide healthcare services in prisons as well as individual medical professionals such as prison GP’s. These inquests usually involve not only inquiry into the actions of individuals but also in relation to the workings of the system and the application of guidance, policies and training. Sarah is often involved in Art 2 inquests resulting from a death of a person detained in a psychiatric institution.  These inquests highlight the cross-over between a custodial and a medical context and Sarah’s practice in both the police and clinical negligence and health care fields is an asset in this regard.

Sarah also regularly acts in inquests where a death has occurred following contact with the police either as a result of firearms operations, an arrest or as a result of ongoing involvement with child protection issues or the protection of vulnerable adults as well as mental health issues.

Sarah often represents families, NHS Trusts, private healthcare bodies and individual clinicians in inquests involving medical deaths both in relation to hospital care and primary care in the community. These involve a wide variety of issues including surgical deaths and deaths from infective processes such a c-diff or MRSA or as a result of drugs prescriptions or failure or delay in diagnosis of life threatening conditions.

Sarah also regularly advises on judicial review of coroners’ decisions and on complex issues of disclosure and public interest immunity.

Sarah has regularly acted for the emergency services other than the police, such as the London Fire Brigade and various ambulance services. Often the nature, quality and speed of the emergency response are in issue and the question of whether there is a causal connection to the death. Often policy and resources are relevant. In representing the emergency services Sarah is also often seeking to assist the coroner with the expertise the emergency services witnesses hold in an area that is often not well understood. Sarah acted for the London Ambulance Service in the 52 inquests into deaths as a result of the 7/7 London bombings. This inquest comprised a wide-ranging inquiry into individual deaths, in particular the issue of survivability, whether those who were injured by the bomb blasts, but did not die immediately, could have been saved, perhaps by different or more timely action by the emergency services. Hallett LJ, sitting as coroner, came to conclusions that in all those cases where the person had succumbed to their injuries nothing could have been done to save them. Hallett LJ also made an in depth inquiry into the quality and nature of the emergency response generally with a view to making recommendations to prevent future deaths.

CASES AND WORK OF NOTE:

COURT OF PROTECTION

  • SW [2016]
    Representing a young woman with a learning disability in Court of Protection proceedings concerning her capacity to consent to sexual relations and marriage, as well as contact with men including her fiancé. Complicated evidential issues arose in relation to the capacity evidence in this case, the expert psychiatrist having given her opinion that SW retained capacity in relation to decisions about sexual relations but not contact or marriage. As a result the proceedings also concerned best interests decisions in relation to these issues.
  • CT [2016]
    Acting for elderly man with dementia by the Official Solicitor in welfare application in the Court of Protection to determine where it was in his best interests to reside and what care package was appropriate. The Local Authority were initially of the view that he should remain in residential care, but following extensive consideration between the parties of the options, the court approved the agreement of a trial return home in accordance with his wishes.
  • AB and CD [2016]
    Representing elderly couple by the Official Solicitor in a welfare application in the Court of Protection who were resident in a care home in the presence of a dispute amongst family members in relation to where they should live and the nature of their care.
  • JB [2016]
    Representing care home resident with dementia by the Official Solicitor in application by her to challenge the standard authorisation of her deprivation of liberty at the care home. She had been taken into residential care temporarily due to her home becoming uninhabitable but there had thereafter been no proper efforts to return her home in accordance with her wishes. The Court of Protection approved a care package allowing her to return home.
  • HS [2016]
    Representing Polish man in welfare application in the Court of Protection in relation to residence and care best interests issues. HS was resident in a neurological rehabilitation unit and deprived of his liberty there. He remained there despite the fact that there was no further medical progress to be gained and agreement by the parties he should be discharged to residential care. However he wished to return home to Poland and there were questions as to whether this was possible and what interim measures in the UK were suitable.
  • LB [2016]
    Representing young woman living in supported accommodation by the Official Solicitor in Court of Protection proceedings relating to a dispute between the family and local authority surrounding the care package provided in particular concerning whether it was the least restrictive option in various respects. Following a round table meeting the issues were narrowed by the parties such that the court was then able to make an order approving the final care plan.
  • AL [2016]
    Representing an elderly woman with a learning disability and dementia by the Official Solicitor in Court of Protection proceedings in relation to a dispute over best interests as to residence between the family and clinical commissioning group. AL had lived with her sister for her whole life but had recently been taken into residential care due to concerns for her well-being and safety. The CCG were of the view she should remain there whilst her sister wished to continue to care for her at home.
  • GA [2016]
    Representing NHS and Social Care Trust in Court of Protection proceedings as to the best interests of patient in relation to where he lives and what care he receives. GA had been living in the community but his physical and mental condition had deteriorated through disengagement with health and social services to such a degree that he was hospitalised. The Court was then concerned with where he should live upon his discharge from hospital and in trying to prevent any similar crisis in the future.
  • OM [2016]
    Representing the clinical commissioning group responsible for commissioning accommodation and care for young man from Isle of Wight with learning disabilities and physical health problems. A crisis situation had arisen resulting in an urgent application to the Court of Protection when he had refused to leave his grandmother’s house to return to his residential care unit following a visit. A dispute arose as to his best interests in relation to where he should live pending more permanent and suitable accommodation being found for him on the Isle of Wight.
  • TD [2015]
    Advising NHS Trust in relation to potential Court of Protection proceedings in relation to the medical treatment of a patient detained under the Mental Health Act and lacking capacity to make decisions concerning medical treatment for both physical and mental health conditions. The patient had a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and was HIV positive but due to delusional beliefs periodically refused testing to monitor her physical condition and treatment for HIV. Sarah advised on whether proceedings needed to be instituted, procedures to be followed and on obtaining necessary   evidence.

PROFESSIONAL DISCIPLINE & REGULATORY

  • PC Field (2016)
    Junior counsel (led by Sarah Clarke) representing Thames Valley Police in gross misconduct proceedings involving allegations of the officer dishonestly misrepresenting his back injury to the force and remaining off sick when he was in fact fit for work
  • PC X (2016)
    Successfully presenting on behalf of the British Transport Police in gross misconduct proceedings arising out of allegations of discredit brought upon the force by the officer’s children having been taken permanently into care due to his physical mistreatment of them
  • Sidwell v Police Medical Appeal Board (2015)
    Representing Derbyshire Constabulary in judicial review of decision of PMAB that the officer was not permanently disabled within the meaning of the Police Pensions Regulations having acted as legal advisor to the Panel under the previous proceedings under the unsatisfactory performance and attendance Regulations.
  • DS Blackbrow (2014)
    Representing the IPCC in gross misconduct proceedings in relation to officer failing to investigate a rape allegation and failing to review the log detailing the allegation
  • PC Davies (2014)
    Successfully presenting gross misconduct proceedings for Thames Valley Police in relation to inappropriate sexual relationship with a domestic violence victim
  • Insp Davies and PC Swales (2014)
    Successfully presenting gross misconduct proceedings for Dyfed Powys Police in relation to sexual acts carried out on duty between two police officers
  • Former Police Constable Hardy (2013)
    Successfully acted for Metropolitan Police Commissioner in Police Appeals Tribunal relating to disciplinary findings of sexual misconduct with colleagues

PUBLIC & ADMINISTRATIVE

  • FY v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2016]
    Advising police force in judicial review claim of a victim of a sexual assault where it was alleged that the police force had improperly taken no further action against the suspected offender. Issues arose as to the correct application of force and national guidance to the particular facts of the case.
  • MM v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2016]
    Advising police force in and drafting response to judicial review claim by victim of a racially aggravated assault where it was alleged that the police force had improperly influenced the CPS not to prosecute the suspected offender. This claim involves serious allegations against police officers and police civilian staff of racial discrimination against the Claimant.
  • Sidwell v Police Medical Appeal Board [2015]
    Junior counsel (led by John Beggs QC) successfully representing Derbyshire Constabulary in judicial review of decision of PMAB that the officer was not permanently disabled within the meaning of the Police Pensions Regulations. This claim involved complex issues of the correct interpretation of “medical condition” and the definition of “permanent disablement” under the regulations.
  • Birmingham City Council v Sarfraz Riaz and others [2014]
    Acting on behalf of West Midlands Police application for reporting restrictions order in injunction proceedings concerning child sex exploitation. This case involved novel civil injunction applications against men alleged to have been involved in child sexual exploitation but convicted thereof. The police force was involved in legal argument surrounding the complex balancing exercise to be undertaken when deciding whether to publish identities where there was possible risk to life, but where publication was in the public interest.
  • Campbell v Essex Police [2012]
    Successfully acted for Essex Police in an appeal by way of case stated against court order to return firearms in circumstances of domestic violence. This case highlights the public protection role of the police in making decisions concerning those members of the public who are unfit to hold a firearms licence, the court being persuaded by Sarah’s argument that a significant degree of deference to police discretion should be afforded by the court given their responsibility and expertise in the area.
  • 52 inquests into 7/7 London bombings [2011]
    Acting for the London Ambulance Service. This inquest comprised a wide-ranging inquiry into individual deaths, in particular the issue of survivability, whether those who were injured by the bomb blasts, but did not die immediately, could have been saved, perhaps by different or more timely action by the emergency services. Hallett LJ, sitting as coroner, came to conclusions that in all those cases where the person had succumbed to their injuries nothing could have been done to save them. Hallett LJ also made an in depth inquiry into the quality and nature of the emergency response generally with a view to making recommendations to prevent future deaths. http://7julyinquests.independent.gov.uk/
  • Blick v Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Constabulary [2011]
    Successfully defended judicial review of decision to disclose information on an Enhanced Criminal Records Certificate
  • Baha Mousa Public Inquiry [2010]
    Junior counsel acting for team of soldiers in this public inquiry into the death of an Iraqi detained by British troops. The group comprised 15 individual soldiers who were in conflict with other witnesses in the inquiry due to allegations of assault or mistreatment of detainees amounting to torture made against them or because they themselves had made such allegations against others. The group also comprised an army lawyer who had been alleged to have expressly sanctioned in legal advice the use of ‘stress positions’ on detainees and also an army medic who was alleged to have been complicit with others in mistreatment of detainees contrary to his medical duties. http://www.bahamousainquiry.org/

CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE

  • JS v NHS Trust [2016]
    Advising and representing hospital in case of alleged surgical negligence in perforation of small bowel and further failure to identify the injury intra-operatively. Issues of consent to treatment also arise.
  • AH v NHS Foundation Trust [2016]
    Advising and drafting pleadings for the Claimant in case of alleged surgical negligence in spinal surgery in failing to adequately decompress nerve resulting in the necessity for further surgeries and permanent damage
  • SD v GP [2016]
    Advising Claimant and drafting letter of claim in case involving the delayed diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy
  • EF v Surgeon [2016]
    Advising Defendant in claim involving surgical negligence causing vessel damage and hysterectomy
  • EL v NHS Trust [2015]
    Advising and drafting defence in claim of obstetric negligence in failing to recognise a placental abruption in woman in labour
  • Inquest into death of Leah Styles [2014]
    Representing private psychiatric hospital in Art. 2 jury inquest into death of detained psychiatric patient by hanging. In depth inquiry was undertaken into the assessment of risk and its appropriateness and the causal consequences of those assessments.
  • Inquest into death of Linda McArthur [2014]
    Representing NHS Trust in inquest of patient due to a pulmonary embolus. Medical factual issues arose as to the extent of investigation and recognition of the PE and application of policies and guidance within this context.
  • Inquest into death of John Hay [2014]
    Art 2 jury inquest into accidental drug related death of prisoner representing Prison GP. Complex issues arose as to standards of care in the prescription of methadone programmes on initial reception into prison and in relation to the mechanism of cause of death in this case.
  • Inquest into death of Malgorzata Doniec [2014]
    Acting for NHS Trust in maternal death as a result of dural puncture during epidural injection. The coroner investigated issues of individual actions of medical professionals as well as systemic issues which resulted in a delay in CT brain scanning. The issue of neglect arose and hypothetical issues of causation were particularly significant in this case where the initial puncture of the dura was not the subject of criticism.
  • Inquest into death of Samantha Samson [2014]
    Acting for NHS Trust in inquest into 2 year old’s death due to multiple complex medical problems at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Due to the complicated inter-relating nature of her medical conditions the medical and pathological evidence as to cause of death was difficult to disentangle in this case.
  • Inquest into death of Thi Hien Tran [2013]
    Inquest into death of prisoner on anti-coagulants from brain haemorrhage representing prison health care services. Difficult issues arose as to the standards of care to be expected within a prison setting and there was also some complicated expert medical evidence relating to cause of death.
  • Inquest into death of Adrian Johnson [2013]
    Art 2 jury inquest into death of prisoner by hanging representing health care services in prison
  • Overton v Hughes [2012]
    Representing a GP in application in High Court for injunction under Protection from Harassment Act as a result of former patient harassing him, his staff and family members including leafleting the GP surgery.
  • Inquest into the death of Alina Sarag [2012]
    Inquest into death of a teenager related to tuberculosis representing a GP who saw her prior to her death. The medical evidence in this case was complex as the presentation of Ms Sarag’s TB was atypical and the causation of her death was complicated.
  • 52 inquests into 7/7 London bombings [2011]
    Acting for the London Ambulance Service. This inquest comprised a wide-ranging inquiry into individual deaths, in particular the issue of survivability, whether those who were injured by the bomb blasts, but did not die immediately, could have been saved, perhaps by different or more timely action by the emergency services. Hallett LJ, sitting as coroner, came to conclusions that in all those cases where the person had succumbed to their injuries nothing could have been done to save them. Hallett LJ also made an in depth inquiry into the quality and nature of the emergency response generally with a view to making recommendations to prevent future deaths. http://7julyinquests.independent.gov.uk/
  • Baha Mousa Public Inquiry [2010]
    Junior counsel acting for team of soldiers in this public inquiry into the death of an Iraqi detained by British troops. The group comprised 15 individual soldiers who were in conflict with other witnesses in the inquiry due to allegations of assault or mistreatment of detainees amounting to torture made against them or because they themselves had made such allegations against others. The group also comprised an army lawyer who had been alleged to have expressly sanctioned in legal advice the use of ‘stress positions’ on detainees and also an army medic who was alleged to have been complicit with others in mistreatment of detainees contrary to his medical duties.
    http://www.bahamousainquiry.org/

POLICE

  • PC CF (2016)
    Junior counsel (led by Sarah Clarke) representing Thames Valley Police in gross misconduct proceedings involving allegations of the officer dishonestly misrepresenting his back injury to the force and remaining off sick when he was in fact fit for work. Complex issues relating the legality of covert surveillance, the officer’s Art 8 rights and disclosure arose in this case.
  • FY v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2016]
    Advising police force in judicial review claim of a victim of a sexual assault where it was alleged that the police force had improperly taken no further action against the suspected offender. Issues arose as to the correct application of force and national guidance to the particular facts of the case.
  • Inquest into the death of Jack Susianta [2016]
    Representing the London Fire Brigade in inquest into the death of teenager due to drowning in canal following police pursuit in Hackney. The fire brigade are the service responsible for rescues in water and the coroner’s inquiry extended to their actions taken in attempting to find and rescue Jack, the co- operation between emergency services on the day and guidance, policies and training available to firefighters concerning water rescue.
  • PC VM (2016)
    Successfully presenting on behalf of the British Transport Police in gross misconduct proceedings arising out of allegations of discredit brought upon the force by the officer’s children having been taken permanently into care due to his physical mistreatment of them. Interesting legal argument arose concerning the correct interpretation of “behaviour” under the regulations where the force relied upon the care orders made by the family court as the conduct bringing discredit upon the force. The officer is appealing his dismissal to the Police Appeals Tribunal.
  • MM v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2016]
    Advising police force in and drafting response to judicial review claim by victim of a racially aggravated assault where it was alleged that the police force had improperly influenced the CPS not to prosecute the suspected offender. This claim involves serious allegations against police officers and police civilian staff of racial discrimination against the Claimant.
  • Sousse Inquests (2016)
    Acting on behalf of Metropolitan Police Service in pre-inquest hearings in relation to deaths of British tourists as a result of a terrorist attack at a holiday resort in Sousse, Tunisia (covering Claire Watson’s absence). The pre-inquest hearings were to deal with complicated matters of scope of the inquiry and disclosure to IP’s in these very high profile set of inquests due to be heard in 2017.
  • Sidwell v Police Medical Appeal Board (2015)
    Junior counsel (led by John Beggs QC) successfully representing Derbyshire Constabulary in judicial review of decision of PMAB that the officer was not permanently disabled within the meaning of the Police Pensions Regulations. This claim involved complex issues of the correct interpretation of “medical condition” and the definition of “permanent disablement” under the   regulations.
  • Inquest into death of Habib-Ullah [2015]
    Acting on behalf of Thames Valley Police in month long complex inquest into death in police custody due to restraint and ingestion of drugs. The coroner conducted an in depth inquiry into individual police officer’s actions in the restraint but also into the available guidance, policies and training to police officers from the force concerning restraint, searching of someone’s mouth and provision of first aid.
  • Birmingham City Council v Sarfraz Riaz and others (2014)
    Acting on behalf of West Midlands Police application for reporting restrictions order in injunction proceedings concerning child sex exploitation. This case involved novel civil injunction applications against men alleged to have been involved in child sexual exploitation but convicted thereof. The police force was involved in legal argument surrounding the complex balancing exercise to be undertaken when deciding whether to publish identities where there was possible risk to life, but where publication was in the public interest.
  • In Amenas (2014)
    Acting on behalf of Metropolitan Police Service in pre-inquest review hearings in relation to multiple deaths as a result of a terrorist attack on the In Amenas gas field in Algeria (covering Claire Watson’s absence). The pre-inquest hearings were to deal with complicated matters of scope of the inquiry and disclosure to IP’s in these very high profile set of inquests heard in 2015.
  • DS BB (2014)
    Representing the IPCC in gross misconduct proceedings in relation to officer failing to investigate a rape allegation and failing to review the log detailing the allegation. This case occurred against a complex factual background of the alleged mis-classifying and therefore under-reporting of rape allegations as physical assaults in the Sapphire Unit or not as crimes at all in order to present crime figures in a more positive light. The IPCC had conducted a wide-ranging investigation and since that time the Sapphire Unit has been dissolved.
  • PC CD (2014)
    Successfully presenting gross misconduct proceedings for Thames Valley Police in relation to inappropriate sexual relationship with a domestic violence victim. This case concerned the abuse of the officer’s position of trust and authority with a vulnerable member of the public. The officer and the victim had denied any inappropriate relationship but the Panel found the matter proved on the basis of other evidence called.
  • Muthiah Deceased (2014)
    Acting on behalf of the London Fire Brigade in inquest in relation to death of a man in a house fire caused by a fridge freezer. The Senior Coroner conducted an in depth inquiry into the knowledge of the relevant company as to the safety of its product at the relevant time. The LFB assisted with factual evidence of their dealings with the relevant bodies concerning histories of fires with these products and also with considerable technical expertise from the specialist fire investigators as to the particular causes of these fires.
  • Insp DE and PC SW (2014)
    Successfully presenting gross misconduct proceedings for Dyfed Powys Police in relation to sexual acts carried out on duty between two police officers.
  • Schroeder Deceased (2014)
    Acting on behalf of Metropolitan Police Service in Art. 2 inquest in relation to death of man in police detention as a result of sickle cell disease. This case involved complex causation evidence relating to the interplay between various factors in the death, including restraint by police officers. The Coroner praised police efforts in dealing with a deterioration in his medical condition and no criticism was made of any police action.
  • Former Police Constable HH (2013)
    Successfully acted for Metropolitan Police Commissioner in Police Appeals Tribunal relating to disciplinary findings of sexual misconduct with colleagues.
  • Campbell v Essex Police (2012)
    Successfully acted for Essex Police in an appeal by way of case stated against court order to return firearms in circumstances of domestic violence. This case highlights the public protection role of the police in making decisions concerning those members of the public who are unfit to hold a firearms licence, the court being persuaded by Sarah’s argument that a significant degree of deference to police discretion should be afforded by the court given their responsibility and expertise in the area.
  • 52 inquests into 7/7 London bombings [2011]
    Acting for the London Ambulance Service. This inquest comprised a wide-ranging inquiry into individual deaths, in particular the issue of survivability, whether those who were injured by the bomb blasts, but did not die immediately, could have been saved, perhaps by different or more timely action by the emergency services. Hallett LJ, sitting as coroner, came to conclusions that in all those cases where the person had succumbed to their injuries nothing could have been done to save them. Hallett LJ also made an in depth inquiry into the quality and nature of the emergency response generally with a view to making recommendations to prevent future deaths. http://7julyinquests.independent.gov.uk/
  • Blick v Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Constabulary (2011)
    Successfully defended judicial review of police decision to disclose information on an Enhanced Criminal Records Certificate.
  • Baha Mousa Public Inquiry [2010]
    Junior counsel acting for team of soldiers in this public inquiry into the death of an Iraqi detained by British troops. The group comprised 15 individual soldiers who were in conflict with other witnesses in the inquiry due to allegations of assault or mistreatment of detainees amounting to torture made against them or because they themselves had made such allegations against others. The group also comprised an army lawyer who had been alleged to have expressly sanctioned in legal advice the use of ‘stress positions’ on detainees and also an army medic who was alleged to have been complicit with others in mistreatment of detainees contrary to his medical duties.
    http://www.bahamousainquiry.org/

INQUESTS & INQUIRIES

  • Sousse Inquests [2016]
    Acting on behalf of Metropolitan Police Service in pre-inquest hearings in relation to deaths of British tourists as a result of a terrorist attack at a holiday resort in Sousse, Tunisia (covering Claire Watson’s absence). The pre-inquest hearings were to deal with complicated matters of scope of the inquiry and disclosure to IP’s in these very high profile set of inquests due to be heard in 2017.
  • Inquest into the death of Jack Susianta [2016]
    Representing the London Fire Brigade in inquest into the death of teenager due to drowning in canal following police pursuit in Hackney. The fire brigade are the service responsible for rescues in water and the coroner’s inquiry extended to their actions taken in attempting to find and rescue Jack, the co- operation between emergency services on the day and guidance, policies and training available to firefighters concerning water rescue.
  • Inquest into death of Habib-Ullah [2015]
    Acting on behalf of Thames Valley Police in month long complex inquest into death in police custody due to restraint and ingestion of drugs. The coroner conducted an in depth inquiry into individual police officer’s actions in the restraint but also into the available guidance, policies and training to police officers from the force concerning restraint, searching of someone’s mouth and provision of first aid.
  • In Amenas (2014)
    Acting on behalf of Metropolitan Police Service in pre-inquest review hearings in relation to multiple deaths as a result of a terrorist attack on the In Amenas gas field in Algeria (covering Claire Watson’s absence). The pre-inquest hearings were to deal with complicated matters of scope of the inquiry and disclosure to IP’s in these very high profile set of inquests heard in 2015.
  • Inquest into death of Leah Styles [2014]
    Representing private psychiatric hospital in Art. 2 jury inquest into death of detained psychiatric patient by hanging. In depth inquiry was undertaken into the assessment of risk and its appropriateness and the causal consequences of those assessments.
  • Inquest into death of Linda McArthur [2014]
    Representing NHS Trust in inquest of patient due to a pulmonary embolus. Medical factual issues arose as to the extent of investigation and recognition of the PE and application of policies and guidance within this context.
  • Inquest into the death of Santosh Muthiah Deceased [2014]
    Acting on behalf of the London Fire Brigade in inquest in relation to death of a man in a house fire caused by a fridge freezer. The Senior Coroner conducted an in depth inquiry into the knowledge of the relevant company as to the safety of its product at the relevant time. The LFB assisted with factual evidence of their dealings with the relevant bodies concerning histories of fires with these products and also with considerable technical expertise from the specialist fire investigators as to the particular causes of these fires.
  • Inquest into death of John Hay [2014]
    Art 2 jury inquest into accidental drug related death of prisoner representing Prison GP. Complex issues arose as to standards of care in the prescription of methadone programmes on initial reception into prison and in relation to the mechanism of cause of death in this case.
  • Inquest into the death of Martin Schroeder Deceased [2014]
    Acting on behalf of Metropolitan Police Service in Art. 2 inquest in relation to death of man in police detention as a result of sickle cell disease. This case involved complex causation evidence relating to the interplay between various factors in the death, including restraint by police officers. The Coroner praised police efforts in dealing with a deterioration in his medical condition and no criticism was made of any police action.
  • Inquest into death of Malgorzata Doniec [2014]
    Acting for NHS Trust in maternal death as a result of dural puncture during epidural injection. The coroner investigated issues of individual actions of medical professionals as well as systemic issues which resulted in a delay in CT brain scanning. The issue of neglect arose and hypothetical issues of causation were particularly significant in this case where the initial puncture of the dura was not the subject of criticism.
  • Inquest into death of Samantha Samson [2014]
    Acting for NHS Trust in inquest into 2 year old’s death due to multiple complex medical problems at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
  • Inquest into death of Thi Hien Tran [2013]
    Inquest into death of prisoner on anti-coagulants from brain haemorrhage representing prison health care services. Difficult issues arose as to the standards of care to be expected within a prison setting and there was also some complicated expert medical evidence relating to cause of death.
  • Inquest into death of Adrian Johnson [2013]
    Art 2 jury inquest into death of prisoner by hanging representing health care services in prison.
  • Inquest into the death of Alina Sarag [2012]
    Inquest into death of a teenager related to tuberculosis representing a GP who saw her prior to her death. The medical evidence in this case was complex as the presentation of Ms Sarag’s TB was atypical and the causation of her death was complicated.
  • 52 inquests into 7/7 London bombings [2011]
    Acting for the London Ambulance Service. This inquest comprised a wide-ranging inquiry into individual deaths, in particular the issue of survivability, whether those who were injured by the bomb blasts, but did not die immediately, could have been saved, perhaps by different or more timely action by the emergency services. Hallett LJ, sitting as coroner, came to conclusions that in all those cases where the person had succumbed to their injuries nothing could have been done to save them. Hallett LJ also made an in depth inquiry into the quality and nature of the emergency response generally with a view to making recommendations to prevent future deaths. http://7julyinquests.independent.gov.uk/
  • Baha Mousa Public Inquiry [2010] Junior counsel acting for team of soldiers in this public inquiry into the death of an Iraqi detained by British troops. The group comprised 15 individual soldiers who were in conflict with other witnesses in the inquiry due to allegations of assault or mistreatment of detainees amounting to torture made against them or because they themselves had made such allegations against others. The group also comprised an army lawyer who had been alleged to have expressly sanctioned in legal advice the use of ‘stress positions’ on detainees and also an army medic who was alleged to have been complicit with others in mistreatment of detainees contrary to his medical duties.
    http://www.bahamousainquiry.org/

 

Recommendations

Sarah has been consistently ranked in both of the legal directories. She is ranked as a leading junior by The Legal 500 for Administrative & Public Law and Inquests & Inquiries, and also features as a leading junior in the Chambers & Partners directory for Police Law.

Solicitors who spoke to The Legal 500 described her as a responsible lawyer with a growing reputation.”

Other recent directory editorial includes the following:

  • measured, calm and impressive;
  • no-nonsense, very diligent;
  • specialises in coronial law;
  • a rising name in police law; 
  • an expert in healthcare law.
  • has a wealth of knowledge and experience in representing doctors;
  • someone who knows the papers backwards;
  • highly valued;
  • has a broad level of experience;
  • well prepared and provides sound advice; and
  • able to think on her feet under pressure.

Reflections

I have wanted to be a barrister for as long as I can remember and I count myself very fortunate that I became a tenant at Serjeants’ Inn because there I have not only made great friends amongst my colleagues but I have also been privileged to enjoy diverse and fascinating areas of law in which to practice in a truly supportive work environment.

“It is the human side of my cases that is most fascinating, most challenging and most rewarding to me.”

I strive to learn something from every case I do, not only as a barrister and advocate to improve how I can best serve my clients’ interests but also about myself, my approach and what is important to me. One of the most humbling aspects of my job is just how much we can learn from our clients, whether a police officer, doctor or patient there is always something to take away on which to reflect.

What I most enjoy about my practice at the Bar is the individuality and creativity I can bring to my cases. People may not think of the Bar as a creative profession but I think we are lucky to be able to bring our own approach and ideas to make a difference to each case. What is also so rewarding is that in addition to this we have the opportunity to work with our solicitors and clients as a team and everyone can bring their own experience and unique perspectives to work towards a common goal in any given case. In what seems like an increasingly hostile and confrontational world it is gratifying to be able to work together in this way.

The world is always changing, and the law has to evolve with it. The different areas of my practice all involve things which people care about deeply, issues which matter to everyone and which we are invested in as a society; our health, our safety and security, our relationships with each other and with institutions which have power over us and impact our lives. These are big conceptual issues to grapple with but it is the human side of my cases that is most fascinating, most challenging and most rewarding to me, whether that is a case involving when medical treatment should be withdrawn even if it will end someone’s life, whether the use of force by a police officer was excessive or whether a surgeon negligently injured a patient.

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: 43034
Registered Name: Sarah Louise Simcock
VAT Registration No: 802155568