Sarah Walker

Call: 2013

Sarah’s practice covers all areas of Commercial Chancery litigation. She appears regularly in her own right in the High Court, County Courts and First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) and has considerable experience as a junior in higher value and more complex litigation.

She was recognised as a rising star in Property Litigation in the Legal 500 (2021) and is now ranked as a leading junior, being recorded as “A supremely bright, reliable and hard-working barrister. The quality of Sarah’s written work is always of an extremely high standard and she has the persuasive and intelligent advocacy style to match” (2022).

Sarah is appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown and is frequently instructed to advise and represent government departments and agencies, including HMRC, the Insolvency Service, the Official Receiver and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Notable recent/ongoing work includes:

  • Acting for a German bank (led by Stuart Hornett) in a complex s.994 petition and breach of warranty claim relating to its investment in a start-up technology company. Trial took place over 3 weeks in May 2022.
  • Acting for the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in directors disqualification proceedings on the allegation of trading to the detriment of HMRC. The matter settled a week before trial.
  • Acting for a successful dependent in a claim for financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. Sarah successfully obtained judgment for the applicant’s living expenses and a payment in respect of the applicant’s CFA uplift [Germones v Crafter (Feb 2022)].
  • Providing advice regarding an indemnity under an assignment agreement in a complex situation involving a multi-million pound fraud and both civil and criminal proceedings.
  • Acting for a builder in a 3-day construction trial. The matter settled on the day judgment was due to be handed down (2021).
  • Acting for the Defendants in a family dispute over the true nature of an oral agreement and the beneficial ownership of two property developments which culminated in a 6-day trial. Sarah achieved a successful outcome and costs order in favour of the Defendants [Bulled v Petrie [2020] EWHC 2485 (Ch)].
  • Acting for the Second Defendant (led by Stuart Hornett) in a claim arising out of a partnership dispute and petition under s.994 of the CA 2006. The case involved serious allegations and counter-allegations of fraud, breaches of director’s duties and setting up competing businesses. Sarah and Stuart were successful on all the above points, resisted the petition under s.994 CA 2006 and established that many UK and Indian companies’ assets worth £30 million+ were partnership property or held on trust. The Court awarded the Second Defendant indemnity costs of the action. The case led to numerous heavy applications including injunctions and share transfer orders in the face of a competing Indian injunction; debarring orders; relief from sanctions and applications for pre-dissolution distributions where Sarah and Stuart represented all the Defendants [Badyal v Badyal [2018] EWHC 68(Ch)].
  • Commercial

    Sarah undertakes work in all aspects of commercial litigation.  Sarah’s clients include well-known entities such as the Richemont Group and the Kennel Club as well as small businesses and individuals. Her current and recent instructions include:

    • Representing a well-known travel agent in a claim by a customer for cancellation of their holiday, which was due to take place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Providing advice regarding an indemnity under an assignment agreement in a complex situation involving a multi-million pound fraud and both civil and criminal proceedings.
    • Representing a builder in an action for unpaid fees and defending a counterclaim for defective work.
    • Advising a number of antiques traders regarding the cancellation of an Antiques fair at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Civil Fraud & Asset Recovery

    Sarah has considerable experience bringing and defending claims including allegations of dishonesty.  She has been involved in cases alleging “sham” documents as well as cases involving professional negligence claims involving mortgage/identity fraud, vintage car fraud and property investment project fraud.  Recent and notable cases include:

    • Committal proceedings, led by Romie Tager QC, arising out of a civil fraud and misrepresentation claim involving a multi-million pound property investment scheme.
    • Acting as sole Counsel in relation to a fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract and tracing claim arising out of an investment of nearly £700,000 in a property development project.
    • Acting for two of approximately 15 proposed defendants in relation to an alleged multi-million pound international vintage car fraud, led by Justin Kitson. The matter included a one-day hearing to determine whether the claimant was entitled to resurrect proceedings in the High Court, following an election to pursue the matter in New York.
  • Company & Partnership

    Sarah has experience in Company and Partnership matters.  She has experience in dealing with unfair prejudice applications and protecting the rights of minority shareholders as well as just and equitable winding up.  Her recent and current instructions include:

    • Acting for a German bank (led by Stuart Hornett) in a complex s.994 petition and breach of warranty claim relating to its investment in a start-up technology company which culminated in a c.3-week trial. Judgment outstanding.
    • Defending a claim arising out of a partnership dispute and unfair prejudice petition involving approximately £30 million of assets, led by Stuart Hornett [Badyal v Badyal [2018] EWHC 68(Ch)]. Stuart and Sarah were also successful on appeal [Re: Paramount Powders (UK) Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 1644].
  • Insolvency

    Sarah’s practice covers both corporate and individual insolvency matters. Many of the commercial and property cases she has been involved in have included an insolvency element.  However, she also appears as an advocate on behalf of debtors and creditors in pure insolvency proceedings.

    Sarah is regularly instructed in the following matters:

    • Directors’ disqualification proceedings.
    • Public interest winding-up petitions.
    • Contested winding-up and bankruptcy petitions.
    • Applications to annul a bankruptcy order or to rescind a winding-up order.
    • Injunctions to restrain presentation or advertisement of winding-up petitions.
  • Landlord & Tenant

    Sarah represents and advises landlords, tenants and lenders in relation to residential and commercial properties. She is regularly instructed on possession and forfeiture matters as well as disrepair claims, service charge disputes and 1954 Act lease renewals.

    Current and recent instructions include:

    • Advising on and acting for a landlord in a high value claim for an account of profits arising out of unlawful sub-letting.
    • Advising on various issues relating to possession proceedings in respect of residential premises.
    • Advising a landlord on the various options available to recover rent arrears which had accrued during the various COVID-19 lockdowns and subsequently.
  • Professional Negligence

    Sarah acts for and advises claimants and defendants in professional negligence claims particularly in relation to legal, conveyancing and accounting practices. Sarah’s cases include:

    • Acting for the intended beneficiary of a will in a claim against solicitors for negligently failing to follow up on a draft will sent to the elderly client.
    • Advising on a potential claim against a local authority following its failure to remove tenants from a property.
    • A claim against a firm of solicitors for negligently drafting a sale agreement, conditional on planning.
  • Real Property

    Sarah undertakes work on real property matters in areas including co-ownership disputes, boundary disputes, easements (particularly rights of way and rights to light), adverse possession and party wall litigation. Recent matters include:

    • A family dispute in the High Court over the ownership of two valuable property development plots, involving common intention constructive trusts, resulting trusts and proprietary estoppel as well as allegations of forgery. The matter culminated in a 6-day trial in 2020, where Sarah obtained a favourable judgment and costs award for her clients.
    • Acting for a bridging company in relation to possession proceedings to recover a circa. £1million loan and defending a counterclaim from the borrower on the basis of an unfair relationship.
    • A claim in nuisance between neighbours.
    • Advising property owners in relation to a boundary dispute with their neighbours.
  • Trusts, Probate & Estates

    Sarah’s property practice regularly includes consideration of probate and administration matters.  She has experience in dealing with claims for family provision under the 1975 Act and incapacity as well as dealing with breach of trust and tracing claims in asset recovery.  Recent cases include:

    • Advising and acting for a husband in a claim for reasonable financial provision from his separated wife’s estate.
    • Acting for the executors in a contentious probate matter contesting the validity of a will on the basis of lack of capacity and/or undue influence.
    • Acting for a successful dependent in a claim for financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. Sarah successfully obtained judgment for the applicant’s living expenses and a payment in respect of the applicant’s CFA uplift [Germones v Crafter (Feb 2022)].
  • Notable Cases

    Bulled v Petrie [2020] EWHC 2485 (Ch)

    A family dispute in the High Court over the ownership of two valuable property development plots, involving common intention constructive trusts, resulting trusts and proprietary estoppel as well as allegations of forgery. The matter culminated in a 6-day trial in 2020, where Sarah obtained a favourable judgment and costs award for her clients.

    Re Paramount Powders [2019] EWCA Civ 1644

    Successful resisted (led by Stuart Hornett) an appeal against the refusal by the trial judge to make a just and equitable winding-up under s.122(1)(g) of the Insolvency Act 1986. The case involved a detailed analysis of the authorities concerning the analogy with partnership concepts, clean hands and winding up being a last resort.

    Badyal v Badyal [2018] EWHC 68(Ch)

    Appeared for the Second Defendant (led by Stuart Hornett) in a claim arising out of a partnership dispute and petition under s.994 of the CA 2006. The case involved serious allegations and counter-allegations of fraud, breaches of director’s duties and setting up competing businesses. Sarah and Stuart were successful on all the above points, resisted the petition under s.994 CA 2006 and established that many UK and Indian companies’ assets worth £30 million+ were partnership property or held on trust. The Court awarded the Second Defendant indemnity costs of the action. The case led to numerous heavy applications including injunctions and share transfer orders in the face of a competing Indian injunction; debarring orders; relief from sanctions and applications for pre-dissolution distributions.

    Al-Nesnas v Al-Najar and others (2017) Ch

    Acted for the Claimant (led by Romie Tager QC) in committal proceedings arising out of a claim for civil fraud and breach of contract and following a successful application for a freezing order. The committal proceedings were settled prior to the full hearing. Sarah has continued to be involved in various satellite issues relating to the beneficial interests held in various properties related to the Defendants.

    Re: Ferretti (2016) Ch.

    Sarah acted for a world-renowned hair stylist (led by Romie Tager QC and Stuart Hornett) in a complex shareholder/company dispute involving injunctive and interim relief before settlement was achieved.

  • Legal 500 2022
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