Home > Our people > Barristers > Sarah Clarke
Sarah Clarke
  • We take data and privacy issues very seriously. See our privacy policy.

She is responsive and thorough, delivering astute advice which is always commercial and client-focused.

Chambers UK

An excellent commercial litigator.

Legal 500

She is a very good strategist and pays great attention to detail.

Legal 500

Sarah is an experienced and unflappable advocate with extensive experience of commercial chancery litigation in all courts.

She is praised for her attention to detail and her ingenuity in identifying practical solutions for the officeholders, individuals, companies and partnerships who seek her advice.

Her particular specialisms are commercial law, company law and insolvency law.

Sarah is on the SFO Panel of approved counsel.

Civil Fraud & Asset Tracing

Sarah is an experienced and unflappable advocate with extensive experience of commercial chancery litigation in all courts. She is praised for her attention to detail and her ingenuity in identifying practical solutions for the officeholders, individuals, companies and partnerships who seek her advice. Her particular specialisms are commercial law, company law and insolvency law. Sarah is on the SFO Panel of approved counsel.

Commercial Litigation

Sarah’s commercial practice encompasses contractual disputes, commercial fraud, consumer credit, insurance and guarantees.

Recent Work:

  • Junior counsel (led by Brie Stevens-Hoare QC) in a complex £30m knowing receipt claim. The claim related to the sale of a development site by LPA receivers to a company with connections to the development advisor.
  • Acted for the claimant in a malicious falsehood claim against a former supplier. The supplier had made statements about the quality and suitability of the binder used by the claimant in soil stabilisation works which caused the loss of a substantial highway construction contract.
  • Advised a factoring company seeking to recover payment for the supply of shop fittings to 500 high street clothing stores.
  • Russell Ian Payne & Katie Susan Payne sub nom Nigel Stretton Woolsey V Russell Ian Payne: Nigel Stretton Woolsey v Katie Susan Payne [2015] EWHC 968 (Ch) Acted for the appellant who argued that a loan agreement was not subject to various requirements of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 because it was exempt from regulation under s.16B and/or was a non-commercial agreement under s.74(1).
  • Set aside a £2m default judgment based on a guarantee.
  • Represented the liquidators of a winter theme park in an application to determine whether the proceeds of an insurance claim for ticket refunds belonged to the company or the individual ticketholders.
  • Represented the defendant applicant for interpleader relief in a claim relating to sculptures by Auguste Rodin.

Companies, Joint Ventures & Partnerships

Sarah regularly advises and represents companies, company officers and LLPs in company law matters. She has substantial experience of claims arising from the breach of director’s duties, the legality of dividends, shareholder disputes and unfair prejudice petitions. Her contributions to Tolley’s insolvency law include ‘Fraud and Misfeasance: Directors, their Liabilities and Duties’.

Recent Work:

  • Advised on the meaning and effect of pre-emption and dis-enfranchisement provisions in the articles of association of a company operating a chain of restaurants.
  • Advised a Company as to the steps required to rectify the register of companies following errors in the documents filed at Companies House to reflect a complex de-merger.
  • Acted for the Respondent to an injunction and claim in unfair prejudice arising from alleged breaches of a shareholder agreement.
  • Advised the beneficial owners of an offshore company who were unable to realise the value of their beneficial shareholding as a consequence of errors in a historic group restructure.
  • Acted for the petitioning members in an unfair prejudice petition between various members of an LLP which owned and operated a sport club. The claim concerned allegations of several years of mismanagement and was settled before trial.
  • Acted for the Defendant director/shareholder in an application to recover remuneration drawn in the form of unlawful dividends.
  • Registrar of Companies v Swarbrick and others (Joint Administrators of Gardenprime Ltd in Administration) [2014] EWHC 1466 (Ch) [2014] All ER (D) 144 (May). Acted for the joint administrators seeking an order for the removal of sensitive information from administrators’ proposals filed at Companies House.
  • Burry & Knight Ltd and another v Knight [2014] EWCA Civ 604 [2014] All ER (D) 120 (May) acted for a shareholder seeking access to the register of members in the proceedings at first instance and on appeal to the Court of Appeal (led by Lexa Hilliard QC).

Corporate Insolvency

Sarah has extensive experience of insolvency law as it applies to companies, partnerships, limited partnerships and LLPs, which she has developed by advising and representing insolvency practitioners, debtors, creditors and other interested parties. Her detailed procedural knowledge encompasses all aspects of administration, company voluntary arrangement and liquidation, from the inception of the process to its conclusion.

She is regularly instructed in transaction avoidance claims, fraudulent and wrongful trading, misfeasance of officeholders and directors, public and private examination, directors’ disqualification and cross border insolvencies.

Sarah has made an in-depth study of the Insolvency (England & Wales) Rules 2016 and the likely problems that will arise under the New Rules. She was part of the team that presented the well-attended and highly acclaimed half-day Seminar on the New Rules on 14th March 2017, which was addressed by the Chief Bankruptcy Registrar, Stephen Baister. A Handout based on the material used at the Seminar is available upon request.

Recent Work:

  • An application to remove administrators appointed for the improper motive of defeating an arbitration or for an order permitting the arbitration to proceed.
  • Advising, in the context of the administration and restructuring of a global law firm, how restrictions on reuse of company names apply to members an LLP, and how liability may be avoided.
  • A cross-border administration application in respect of a global market research company incorporated and registered in United States.
  • An application for letters of request by the liquidators of a group of companies. The High Court of the Isle of Man was asked to recognise the appointment of the liquidators and give assistance, in the form of orders for the provision of information from a bank in the Isle of Man and the companies’ director, a resident of the Isle of Man.
  • Acted for a director seeking to defend a winding up petition that had been presented by HMRC based on allegations of MTIC fraud. As provisional liquidators had been appointed, the case raised questions of the director’s standing to oppose the petition.
  • Obtained an injunction against a former employee of a FTSE 250 company to restrain her from presenting a winding up petition. The ex-employee claimed to be entitled to contractual bonuses and damages arising from the termination of her employment.
  • Caldero Trading v Beppler & Jacobson Ltd. Part of a legal team that advised and represented the provisional liquidators of an English company which owned, via a Montenegrin subsidiary, a very substantial hotel resort in Montenegro.

Personal Insolvency

Sarah routinely handles personal insolvency proceedings such as applications to set aside statutory demands, bankruptcy petitions by creditors and IVA supervisors, interim orders, validation orders and antecedent transaction claims. She also has considerable expertise in issues which are specific to personal insolvency, such as discharge and annulment and second bankruptcy.

Recent Work:

  • Advising a group of victims of sexual assault as to the effect of the defendant’s bankruptcy on their civil claims. Issues included the bankrupt’s ability to pursue an appeal against the judgments on liability and/or participate in the trial of quantum.
  • Advising as to annulment and discharge of a historic bankruptcy in circumstances where all records of the bankruptcy had been destroyed.
  • Acted for the Defendant to transaction at an undervalue proceedings brought by a Danish Trustee in Bankruptcy. The claim concerned the sale of shares in a company that owned and operated a hotel and raised questions about the appropriate methodology to be used when valuing shares.
  • Russell Ian Payne & Katie Susan Payne sub nom Nigel Stretton Woolsey V Russell Ian Payne: Nigel Stretton Woolsey v Katie Susan Payne [2015] EWHC 968 (Ch), in which the court considered, in light of conflicting authorities, the correct test to be applied where annulment was sought under s.282(1)(a) on grounds that the petition debt was disputed.

Property Insolvency

Sarah’s insolvency practice includes applications relating to property insolvency.

Recent work:

  • Application by a Landlord for permission to forfeit the lease of a commercial premises.
  • A transaction at an undervalue/ misfeasance claim relating to the transfer of company property to a director.
  • Application for the appointment of a provisional liquidator deadlocked property company. As the sole objective of the company was the development and sale of a property in Spain the powers of the provisional liquidator, unusually, included a power of sale.

Financial Professionals, Insolvency Professionals, Directors & Officers

Sarah regularly deals with claims concerning the liability of directors and insolvency practitioners for breach of fiduciary duty and/or negligence.

Recent work:

  • Acted for an insolvency practitioner accused of misconduct, professional negligence and contempt of court as a result of the loss of documents believed to be in his custody. Assisted with the search for documents and preparation of evidence which resulted in a compromise of all claims against the officeholder.
  • Acted for the claimant company in proceedings against its former directors and against the liquidator of a connected company for breaches of duty relating to proofs of debt and distribution.
  • Acted for the claimants in a professional negligence claim against an IFA.
  • Acted for the directors of a charitable company in relation to misfeasance claims brought by a liquidator and the Charity Commission with a total value of £3m.

Directory recommendations

Sarah is recommended for Insolvency in Chambers UK and the Legal 500.

“She is responsive and thorough, delivering astute advice which is always commercial and client-focused.” – Chambers UK

An excellent commercial litigator.’ – Legal 500

Professional associations

  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Young International Arbitration Group
  • R3

Publications

  • Tolley’s Insolvency Law
  • Smith Owen and Bodnar on Asset Recovery
  • Lexis PSL Insolvency Chapter, CVA section

Qualifications

  • SFO Proceeds of Crime Panel B list
  • BA Medieval and Modern History (Birmingham)
  • PGDL (BPP Law School)
  • BVC (Inns of Court School of Law)
  • Diplock Scholarship, Blackstone Entrance Exhibition

CSR

Chancery Bar Association Pro Bono Subcommittee

Menu