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Sarah Crowther

Sarah Crowther

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Sarah Crowther is a specialist in all claims for injury, illness or accident involving an international element.

Her practice is wide ranging, from cases of catastrophic injury in road accidents against foreign insurers or involving foreign nationals, to others with significant EU law issues. She regularly advises on jurisdiction and applicable law disputes and has appeared in recent high profile appeal cases on applicable law in both the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

Sarah regularly acts in the High Court for both claimants and defendants, Sarah balances a “commercial approach” with a “compassionate nature”.

She undertakes all kinds of personal injury and clinical negligence work, including asbestos-related illness claims.

Sarah has a public law and human rights practice, which focusses on discrimination, especially in the supply of goods and services and employment fields. She has appeared successfully in the employment tribunal, High Court and EAT.

Notably, she has appeared in the leading cases on religious rights discrimination, including representing the Christian hoteliers whose refusal to supply a same-sex couple with a double-bedded room led to the Supreme Court and currently, in Northern Ireland, where she acts on behalf of the bakery which refused to bake a cake with a message promoting same-sex marriage.

Personal Injury

Sarah acts for both claimants and defendants in a full range of personal injury disputes, including both catastrophic injury claims, such as spinal injuries and also fatal accident claims. She handles employer’s liability claims, including asbestos-related illness claims, public liability claims, road accidents and consumer claims. Sarah frequently writes and speaks on personal injury topics.

She is General editor and a contributor to the APIL Guide to Accidents Abroad (Jordans), July 2013, a comprehensive practitioners’ text on all aspects of personal injury claims with an international element. She has contributed to Jordans online legal information service and has contributed to New Law Journal on personal injury and conflicts topics.

Speaking engagements include: APIL special interest group on claims against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau involving accidents abroad; APIL annual conference (Using Rome II and claims under foreign law) and also on the service regulation and direct claims against insurers.

Cases

Marshall v MIB [2015] EWHC 3421 (QB), Dingemans J 92 December 2015) Conflict of Laws – Uninsured drivers – Applicable Law – Fatal accident claims – French law – EU law

Moreno v MIB [2015] EWHC 1002 (QB); [2015] Lloyd’s Rep IR 535 (Gilbart J, 17 April 2015) Conflict of Laws – Uninsured drivers – Motor Insurance directives – EU – Insurance – Applicable Law – Personal Injury – Catastrophic injury

Hyde v SARA Assicurazioni [2014] EWHC 2881 (Ch) QBD (Judge Moloney QC) (Lawtel 30 July 2014) Conflict of Laws – Italian law – Direct right against insurer – Policy indemnity limits – Costs

Cox v Ergo [2014] UKSC 22; [2014] 2 W.L.R. 948; [2014] 2 All E.R. 926; [2014] R.T.R. 20; Times, April 14, 2014; [2012] EWCA Civ 854 (CA), [2012] RTR 11 (First Instance) Conflict of Laws – Wrongful Death claims – question of whether action could be brought pursuant to Fatal Accidents Act despite German applicable law – use of foreign law expert evidence

Wink v Croatia Osiguranje DD [2013] EWHC 1118 QBD (Haddon-Cave J) (Lawtel) Conflicts of Laws – jurisdiction – tort gateway CPR 6.36 – forum non conveniens – direct action against insurer – Croatian law – whether damage sustained in jurisdiction sufficient to establish claim before English courts

Cox v Ergo & Ministry of Defence [2012] EWCA Civ 1101 (CA) Conflict of Laws – Assignment – Choice of Law – Rome I and Rome Convention – whether wrongful death claim validly assigned to MoD under German law

Bacon v Nacional Suiza Seguros y Reaseguros [2010] EWHC 2017 (QB) [2010] ILPr R 46 Direct action against insurer – Spanish law – Foreign expert evidence – Catastrophic injuries – Road traffic – Temporal scope of Rome II Regulation

Howe-Jones v FirstAssist & Another [2010] EWHC 3909 Montreal Convention – international carriage of passengers by air – clinical negligence – whether development of pressure sores ‘accident’ – Convention limits – application of Convention and identity of carrier

Hartwell v AG for British Virgin Islands [2004] UKPC 12; [2004] 1 WLR 2473 Vicarious liability – Employer’s liability – Scope of course of duties test – whether police force liable for injuries sustained by British tourist wounded by off-duty officer’s gun. Assessment of damages in BVI

International Illness, Injury & Travel

Sarah regularly advises on all conflicts issues in tort and contract, especially jurisdiction in consumer and injury claims. She frequently acts in applicable law disputes including limitation, contribution claims, remedy, evidence, interest and costs. She has particular expertise in handling cases which require foreign law expert evidence and witnesses.

Sarah has acted in many of the important cases regarding direct actions against motor and public liability insurers across Europe and in respect of the appropriate interpretation of the EU law relating to claims on behalf of victims of uninsured or unidentified drivers where the accident is in the EU. She has experience of litigation in Montreal and Athens Convention claims, including clinical negligence, disability discrimination and air passenger rights issues. She has handled domestic and international claims under the Convention regimes, including norovirus and food poisoning.

Employment & Discrimination

Sarah has represented clients with religious beliefs which are in collision with the protected characteristics of others, including sexual orientation, political opinion or religious or philosophical belief in both the employment sphere and also in respect of the provision of goods and services. She has advised clients with respect to their obligations under the Equality Act 2010 regarding provision of services, including services abroad, to consumers with disabilities.

Sarah is currently representing the Northern Ireland bakery company whose refusal to print a slogan supporting same-sex marriage onto a celebration cake is the subject of litigation before the Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland.

Sarah has substantial experience of appearing before employment tribunals in a full range of claims, including unfair dismissal, discrimination, equal pay, public interest disclosures and disability issues. She has considerable advocacy experience before tribunals, including successfully appearing before the EAT.

She has conducted High Court employment litigation in injunction applications concerning breach of confidence, fiduciary duty and post-termination restrictive covenant disputes. Sarah speaks and writes in respect of discrimination law, including at CLT conferences: The Church and Employment Law: Can the Church employ only Christians? (2011, 2012) Can religious belief ever justify discrimination? (2013)

Cases

Ashers Bakery, McArthur and McArthur v Lee, AG for Northern Ireland and OFMdFM intervening: Northern Ireland Court of Appeal

Discrimination – religious belief – political opinion – sexual orientation – discrimination in supply of goods and services – human rights – freedom of conscience – freedom not to express views contrary to one’s religious beliefs – devolution – constitutional challenge to equality legislation – support for same-sex marriage as a political belief – Northern Ireland

East of England Ambulance Services NHS Trust v Sanders, (11 February 2016), Laing J, DBE

Employment – Disability discrimination – Unfair dismissal – Findings of fact – Tribunal error

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust v Sanders (17 October 2014) Langstaff P [2015] ICR 293; [2105] IRLR 277

Employment – Administration of Justice – Bias – Recusal – Right to fair and public hearing – tribunal use of internet to conduct own research

Preddy and Hall v Bull and Bull [2013] UKSC 73; [2013] 1 W.L.R. 3741; [2014] 1 All E.R. 919; [2014] H.R.L.R. 4; 36 B.H.R.C. 190; [2014] Eq. L.R. 76; (2013) 157(46) S.J.L.B. 37, [2012] EWCA Civ 83, [2012] 2 All ER 1017

Religious belief – sexual orientation – ECHR – Christian hoteliers unwilling to supply accommodation in double-bedded rooms to same sex couples – question whether direct or indirect discrimination

Black v Wilkinson [2013] EWCA Civ 820; [2013] 1 W.L.R. 2490; [2013] 4 All E.R. 1053; [2013] Eq. L.R. 894; (2013) 157(28) S.J.L.B. 31

Bed and Breakfast – religious belief – sexual orientation – whether exceptions to Equality Act 2010 applied – direct or indirect discrimination – deference to legislature in ECHR rights cases

Ladele v Islington LBC [2009] EWCA Civ 1357, [2010] 1 WLR 955

Religious belief – sexual orientation – employment – ECHR – Christian registrar of births, deaths and marriages – whether she could be excused from officiating at civil partnerships ceremonies

Public Law

Sarah has in the past appeared in many appeals to the Privy Council in both criminal and civil matters which raised constitutional matters, including recently a case concerning prosecution of a newspaper editor for the offence of scandalising the judiciary, raising important questions of freedom of expression and constitutional rights under Mauritian law.

Sarah continues to act pro bono in administrative and public law matters, including from and in the Caribbean.

Sarah’s public law practice includes human rights, in particular in religious belief cases. Sarah has represented clients with religious beliefs which are in collision with the protected characteristics of others, including sexual orientation, political opinion or religious or philosophical belief in both the employment sphere and also in respect of the provision of goods and services.

She is currently representing the Northern Ireland bakery whose refusal to place a message promoting same-sex marriage on a cake has become the centre of a constitutional and devolution dispute concerning the legitimacy of the statutory provisions regarding protection of political opinion and religious belief in Northern Ireland.

Cases

Ashers Bakery, McArthur and McArthur v Lee, AG for Northern Ireland and OFMdFM intervening: Northern Ireland Court of Appeal

Discrimination – religious belief – political opinion – sexual orientation – discrimination in supply of goods and services – human rights – freedom of conscience – freedom not to express views contrary to one’s religious beliefs – devolution – constitutional challenge to equality legislation – support for same-sex marriage as a political belief – Northern Ireland

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust v Sanders (17 October 2014) Langstaff P [2015] ICR 293; [2105] IRLR 277

Employment – Administration of Justice – Bias – Recusal – Right to fair and public hearing – tribunal use of internet to conduct own research

Dhooharika v DPP (Mauritius) [2014] UKPC 11; (2014) 158(18) S.J.L.B. 37; Times, May 6, 2014

Contempt of court – scandalising the judiciary – Mauritius – newspaper editor jailed following publication of interview with disgruntled litigant and comment piece regarding Judge. Freedom of expression – constitutional rights – ECHR. Appeared pro bono for Commonwealth Law Association

Preddy and Hall v Bull and Bull [2013] UKSC 73; [2013] 1 W.L.R. 3741; [2014] 1 All E.R. 919; [2014] H.R.L.R. 4; 36 B.H.R.C. 190; [2014] Eq. L.R. 76; (2013) 157(46) S.J.L.B. 37, [2012] EWCA Civ 83, [2012] 2 All ER 1017

Religious belief – sexual orientation – ECHR – Christian hoteliers unwilling to supply accommodation in double-bedded rooms to same sex couples – question whether direct or indirect discrimination

Black v Wilkinson [2013] EWCA Civ 820; [2013] 1 W.L.R. 2490; [2013] 4 All E.R. 1053; [2013] Eq. L.R. 894; (2013) 157(28) S.J.L.B. 31

Bed and Breakfast – religious belief – sexual orientation – whether exceptions to Equality Act 2010 applied – direct or indirect discrimination – deference to legislature in ECHR rights cases

R (on the application of Hans-Christian Raabe) v Secretary Of State for the Home Department (2013) [2013] EWHC 1736 (Admin)(Stadlen J) (Lawtel)

Religious belief – government appointment to Misuse of Drugs advisory committee – sexual orientation – procedural fairness – Wednesbury unreasonableness of revocation of appointment

Basdeo Panday v Superintendent Wellington [2008] UKPC 24, [2008] 1 AC 1386

Public law – Misfeasance in public office – Bias – Apparent bias of Chief Magistrate (Trinidad and Tobago). Whether proceedings were time-barred

Bernard Coard v AG for Grenada [2007] UKPC 7

Death sentence – constitutionality of automatic sentencing procedure (Grenada)

Maharaj v Teaching Service Commission and another [2006] UKPC 36

Administrative law – public office appointments – legitimate expectation based on administrative error

Forrester Bowe v The Queen [2001] UKPC 19

Criminal law – Privy Council – murder – appeal against conviction – identification evidence – re-trials

Everard Nicholls v The Queen Times 30 January 2001

Criminal law – Privy Council – summing-up unfair and biased

Appointments & Memberships

  • Bar Council Member
  • South Eastern Circuit Committee Member
  • PIBA
  • ELBA
  • PEOPIL

Languages

  • French
  • German

Areas of Law


Recommendations


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Testimonials


“Sarah has a fine legal mind and is extremely capable in the areas of jurisdiction, applicable law and personal injury claims. She is one of the best senior juniors in this area.” Travel, Chambers & Partners 2018

“She is an extremely experienced heavyweight in this field. She is very passionate about the clients she represents and goes all out to get the best results from them.” Travel, Chambers & Partners 2018

“Sarah is excellent on technical points of law and is a persuasive and tenacious advocate.” Travel, Chambers & Partners 2018

“A tenacious advocate, who knows her stuff.” Travel, Legal 500 2017

“Extremely confident, and a powerful and committed advocate.” Personal Injury, Legal 500 2017

“She is an excellent barrister with good judgement and client care skills.” Employment, Legal 500 2017

“She has a first-class grasp of the applicable legal principles and clearly empathises with clients.” Consumer, Legal 500 2017

“Sarah is excellent on technical points of law and is a persuasive and tenacious advocate.” Travel, Chambers & Partners 2017

“She’s extraordinarily bright, has a good bedside manner with clients and is both tough and pleasant.” Travel, Chambers & Partners 2017

“She’s a real specialist in jurisdiction and applicable law, who knows the legislation like the back of her hand.” Travel, Chambers & Partners 2017

“She picks up all the issues quickly and takes a pragmatic view on tactics.” Personal Injury, Legal 500 2016

“Very impressive advocacy skills; her questioning is precise and her cross-examination is very effective.” Employment, Legal 500 2016

“She has great experience across all first instance and appeal courts.” Consumer, Legal 500 2016

“She is practical, focused, tremendously fun to work with and someone who always appears to be one step ahead.” Travel, Chambers & Partners 2016

“She explains complex legal issues in such a way that after she’s finished you feel as if a cloud has been lifted.” Travel, Chambers & Partners 2016

“A very tenacious advocate, who is very persuasive and always thoroughly prepared.” “She can be relied upon to provide robust and commercial advice, whilst also showing a caring and compassionate nature when meeting with lay clients.” Chambers & Partners 2015

“She is a very able advocate who wins the respect of the court, clients and opponents with her straightforward, friendly and common-sense approach.” Chambers & Partners 2015

“She is great with clients and witnesses, developing a good rapport and putting them at ease.” Employment, Legal 500 2015

“A very good team player, full of good ideas and suggestions.” Personal Injury, Legal 500 2015

“She has a fine legal mind but is still approachable and down to earth.” Legal 500 2014

“Supportive and client friendly.” Legal 500 2014

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