East Anglia:
01245 280 880
020 7520 6000

Sara Lawson is a highly experienced criminal and regulatory barrister who brings meticulous preparation and dedicated determination to her work and specialisms in fraud, criminal insolvency and regulatory work. Her wealth of advocacy skills, accumulated from years of jury trials and her expertise in disclosure, PII and other evidential and forensic issues have been recognized by her appointments as or to:

  • A member of the SFO QC Panel
  • The Regulatory List A for HSE, ORR and Environment Agency
  • Standing Counsel to the Department for Business (Insolvency Service) (as a junior)
  • A Grade 4 (the highest) on CPS general panel, proceeds of crime panel and rape and serious sexual assault panel


FraudSexual Offences

  • Operation Steamroller (2008-2016) first junior in SFO boiler room fraud involving share mis-selling and losses of over $100m to UK investors; instructed to assist investigation, advise on jurisdictional issues and restraint; conducted a series of lengthy trials between 2011 and 2016 resulting in 9 convictions for conspiracy to defraud and money laundering. In 2012 conducted year-long disclosure review of more than 33 million items of digital material with a 9 counsel team.
  • R v F and S (2014)  Acted for BIS as a third party, successfully resisting disclosure of LPP material where another Government agency had inadvertently waived privilege in a CPS fraud trial.
  • Operation Apprentice (2010-2011) Disclosure junior in City of London Police investigation into the tax affairs of Portsmouth Football Club.
  • Operations Virtue, Televise, Undulating, Unclench, Galloway and others (2000 onwards) acted for HMRC for more than 20 years.
  • Advised private foreign company on provisions of Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, relating to its business.
  • Represented the Crown in foreign applications for mutual legal assistance (MLA) in the UK and drafted UK applications for MLA for the SFO, the CPS and MHRA.

Sara has considerable experience in sexual offence cases. As a junior she was on the CPS rape and serious sexual abuse panel. She worked for the London RASSO unit advising and prosecuting serious sexual offences. Sara has also defended such cases and has advised companies and the Naval Prosecuting Authority. She is specifically trained to work with vulnerable victims, witnesses and intermediaries and  is a facilitator in the nationwide Vulnerable Witness Training Programme.

  • R v X (2014)  Advised RASSO on historic rape allegations dating back to 1970s
  • R v X and Y (2012-2013) Advised RASSO on charging decisions for rape allegations involving children and vulnerable witnesses.
  • Operation Folkestone (2010-2012) Lead the prosecution of serial rapist (nine counts) and successfully defended his appeal against conviction and an indeterminate sentence for public protection.
  • (2008)  Acted for Attorney General of the Falkland Islands advising on cases and appearing in the Falkland Islands Supreme Court to prosecute multiple sexual cases.

Professional Disciplinary & Regulatory

Health and SafetyInsolvencyOther Work

Sara is on the Government Regulatory A List, prosecuting the most serious cases for the Health and Safety Executive, the Office of Rail and Road and the Environment Agency. She continues this work in Silk.

Sara is experienced in interpreting and acting upon expert and inquest evidence as well as specialist technical provisions that affect the investigation and prosecution of workplace incidents in all settings.

Recent health and safety work includes:

  • HSE v X Ltd, X Ltd and X Ltd – (ongoing) Instructed to prosecute where serious injury resulted from a fall from height at a leisure complex.
  • HSE v X Ltd and X Ltd (ongoing) Instructed to prosecute where a serious injury resulted from a fall from height at a motor racing welding premises.
  • R v Meadows WR LLP (2017) Death by falling from a height on a building site, breach of CDM’s.
  • HSE v Port of Tilbury (London) Ltd (2017) Serious injury to agency worker and risk of harm to employees driving cranes when loading and unloading ships.
  • ORR v X Ltd and X Ltd (2016-2017) Leading prosecution junior in death of a railway worker.
  • HSE v Non Destructive Testing Services Ltd (2016) Death of a pile testing engineer from carbon monoxide poisoning.

As Standing Counsel to the Department for Business (BIS) (now the Insolvency Service), Sara advised on and prosecuted allegations of corporate insolvency offences and breaches of regulations by those acting as insolvency practitioners (both as trustees to individuals and as liquidators to insolvent companies). She also advised on policy.

  • R v L (2015-2016) Prosecuted (for BIS) a bankrupt who eventually pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice (by lying to County Court Judges in denying that he was the bankrupt in question) and to consequent insolvency offences.
  • Operation Fresco (2014-2016) Lead counsel prosecuting allegations of mortgage fraud and corporate offences against a property developer and his associates.
  • In the matter of X and Y (2016) Advising on the alleged infringement of Employment Agency Regulations by various website companies.
  • R v D and another (2014 -2015) Representing BIS in third party proceedings successfully to retain an historical restraint order.
  • R v F and S (2014) Representing BIS as a third party in a criminal trial involving issues of LPP and waiver. (Material successfully withheld.)
  • R v P (2013-2016) Prosecuted insolvency practitioner who took money from insolvent companies and individual bankrupts.
  • R v W and W (2009-2012) Prosecuted for BIS appeals in the Crown Court and Court of Appeal against conviction and confiscation relating to unlawfully re-using a company name and thereby profiting.

  • Advice to the National Probation Service on presentation of evidence in court
  • Advisory work for BBC’s “Judge John Deed”
  • Advisory work for Carlton Television’s “Kavanagh QC”.



Publications, Lectures and Training


Restriction on re-use of a company name offence: section 216 of the Insolvency Act 1986: Practical Law

Material omissions from statement relating to company’s affairs: section 210 of the Insolvency Act 1986: Practical Law

Destruction, mutilation or falsification of company records: section 209 of Insolvency Act 1986: co-author Practical Law

The Chronological Table of Local and Personal Legislation 1215-1990: Law Commission

  • Trained Customs officers in PII practice, procedure and ex parte applications.
  • Trained BIS lawyers on disclosure practice and procedure.
  • Facilitator in new national training course on advocacy and vulnerable witness handling.


See more

LLB(Hons) Business Law inc Revenue Law; Accountancy; Business Finance

Inns of Court School of Law (commercial law option)

Law Commission – consultant researcher in law reform team

Inns of Court School of Law (commercial law option)


See more

South Eastern Circuit

Fraud Lawyers Association (FLA)

Health and Safety Lawyers’ Association (HSLA)

Criminal Bar Association





Professional Appointments

See more

QC List of Counsel for Serious Fraud Office (SFO) (2017)

Regulatory List A Advocate for Health & Safety Executive (HSE) (2012-current)

Regulatory List A Advocate for Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) (2012-current)

Regulatory List A Advocate for Environment Agency (EA) (2012-current)

Standing Counsel to Department for Business (Insolvency Service) (2012-2017)

Grade 4 Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Prosecutor (2012-2017)

Grade 4 CPS Rape Panel (2008-2017)

Grade 4 CPS Serious Crime Division List (2008-2017)

Grade 4 CPS Proceeds of Crime Division List- (2008-2017)


See more

Barrister Governing Bencher of Inner Temple (Master of the Bench) (2015


See more

Basic French