Overview

Sarah is a recognised expert on disputes relating to environmental, social and human rights issues. She has successfully defended clients against parent company liability claims in the English courts, including obtaining strike out orders at first instance and defending appeals up to the Supreme Court. Sarah is one of only a few lawyers to combine this experience on complex and high-profile group litigation with experience advising on complaints to non-judicial mechanisms, such as OECD National Contact Point Specific Instances, and private sector-based accountability mechanisms, as well as drafting and developing these mechanisms.

Sarah uses this unique experience to advise clients on managing dispute risks in the context of compliance and regulatory advice and advises clients across a number of sectors on risk management and governance issues associated with the developing business and human rights agenda. She is regularly engaged in policy discussions on this topic and contributes to domestic, international and industry policy consultations on regulation and standards.

Sarah regularly presents on these issues at national and international conferences and events. She has presented at UN conferences for a number of years on the emerging legal risk landscape relating business and human rights issues, including on the topics of mediation and transnational human rights litigation, using mediation as a viable access to remedy, the relationship between corporate legal liability and human rights due diligence and using blockchain and emerging technologies to improve supply chain human rights risk management.

Sarah is a member of DLA Piper's Boardroom Advisory Service, which provides strategic, commercial and evidence-based advice to boards, specifically tailored for the challenges and risks they face.

Experience 
  • Defending parent company liability claims in the English High Court and Court of Appeal (permission for the Claimants to appeal to the Supreme Court refused), involving submissions as to English, Australian, Canadian and Kenyan Law. This case was one of three seminal Business and Human Rights cases recently before English Courts that has clarified this area of law, in particular, relating to legal liability that can attach from public statements and commitments to international and sector-based standards.
  • Advising a number of multinationals and investors on parent company liability risk, including in relation to:
    • Board-level risk appetite, alignment with purpose and values and implementation through governance structures, risk management processes and contractual mechanisms;
    • Regulatory disclosures, public statements, policies and processes;
    • Fund structuring and investment management relationships.
  • Acting in relation to a complaint to the UK National Contact Point alleging breach of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
  • Advising on the design of novel grievance mechanisms for the purpose of dealing with environmental, social and human rights complaints.
  • Advising on a complaint to a private accountability mechanism and options for effective remediation between the parties and final determination.