Sara Benbow is a civil mediator and a barrister, specialising in property and commercial law. She qualified as a barrister in 1990 and has been mediating since 2003. She is recommended by Legal 500 as a Mediator.
Sara has been a barrister for more than 25 years and is a senior member of Hardwicke’s Property and Commercial Teams. As well as her mediation and advocacy work, Sara is regularly called upon to write articles, to provide seminars and webinars, and to speak at conferences on various areas of property law. She is also a contributing author to Cousins: Law of Mortgages.
At the heart of Sara’s practice is property litigation, and she brings that knowledge and experience into her work as a specialist property mediator. She has considerable expertise in disputes involving real property such as boundaries, easements and adverse possession, co-ownership, mortgages, and the impact of insolvency on property rights, as well as conveyancing disputes including issues as to specific performance, rescission or registration, rectification, wills and trusts and, especially in the property-development context, cases about planning, covenants, regulated user, options or overage provisions.
Sara is also an experienced and knowledgeable commercial and residential landlord and tenant lawyer, covering both contentious and non-contentious work and understanding the perspectives of landlords, tenants and others such as beneficiaries, guarantors or insolvency practitioners who hold interests related to commercial or residential leasehold land.
Sara is a founder member of The Property Mediators, and has considerable experience and an impressive rate of success as a mediator in property disputes covering most of the areas mentioned above. Her continued parallel work as a barrister also helps her to retain a real connection with the property sector and an understanding of the needs and interests of the parties who seek assistance from her as a mediator.
Sara brings that expertise to bear also in the wider context of commercial disputes, where she is equally effective as a mediator.
The successful mediation of most disputes requires a combination of rigorous analysis, active listening and creative thought in an environment which builds trust and focuses on the way forward rather than the difficulties past. Sara manages to combine a friendly and accessible yet no-nonsense and tenacious approach with a keen practical and business sense, always seeking to keep the parties engaged and help them look beyond the confines of their adopted positions to find inventive solutions. Given her background in property and commercial law, that process often includes an element of testing with each party the strength of the arguments on which they rely to sustain them on the key legal issues rather than merely providing a conduit for discussions between them.
Some comments from clients
- “Whilst I have taken part in a number of mediations over the years, I can’t imagine that any of those practitioners could possibly have achieved your result”
- “Your patient help in guiding us to an unlikely settlement was invaluable”
- “Sara did an excellent job and gained all of our confidences”
- “Thank you for a well-conducted and highly professional mediation”
- “You brought a unique personal skill and empathy to the proceedings, without which no solution would have been possible”
Sara was trained and accredited by the ADR Group in 2003. She is a member of the Civil Mediation Council and a founder-member of The Property Mediators
Sara’s time away from work is divided between a range of musical activities, running around muddy fields across the UK and beyond umpiring women’s lacrosse, attempting to improve her rowing technique and waiting for hope to triumph over despair as a fan of West Ham United.
Sara Benbow lives in the Thames Valley and has Chambers in London, but mediates everywhere in the country.
- Civil Mediation Council
- The Property Mediators
- Property Bar Association
- Chancery Bar Association
Cousins: Law of Mortgages (Sweet & Maxwell, 3rd edition – 2010)
- LLB (Hons)
- Accredited Mediator
Legal 500 recommends Sara as a Mediator: “a magnificent mediator, who is capable of cracking the hardest of disputes, and has many years of top-level property law experience behind her.”
Chambers UK says: “Sara Benbow of Hardwicke enjoys a strong profile in commercial and property mediation. Her practice has a national footprint” and “Sara is approachable and practical, and gives reality checks in a constructive way.”
Bar Pro Bono Unit Reviewer