Year of Call:
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.
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)
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  ICR 293;  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  UKSC 73;  1 W.L.R. 3741;  1 All E.R. 919;  H.R.L.R. 4; 36 B.H.R.C. 190;  Eq. L.R. 76; (2013) 157(46) S.J.L.B. 37,  EWCA Civ 83,  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  EWCA Civ 820;  1 W.L.R. 2490;  4 All E.R. 1053;  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  EWCA Civ 1357,  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
Appointments & Memberships
- Bar Council Member
- South Eastern Circuit Committee Member
Areas of Law
- Clinical Negligence
- Product Liability
- Employment & Discrimination
- Law In Sport
- Personal Injury
- International Illness, Injury & Travel
- Professional Negligence
- Public Law
“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