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Call: 2006 | Solicitor: 1994

Sarah Pope MCIArb

Albion Chambers

Broad Street Bristol BS1 1DR

  • Overview

    Sarah is the head of Albion’s Private Law Children Team.  She is instructed in both private and public law matters and her in-depth knowledge of safeguarding and child protection makes her particularly well placed to act in disputes between parents where these issues arise.  Sarah is ranked in the highest band in Chambers & Partners and listed as a leading junior in the Legal 500.  She is a qualified IFLA arbitrator in Children cases and has completed the FLBA’s Vulnerable Witness training.

    In the private law sphere, Sarah represents parents and children in the most serious cases involving domestic abuse, relocation, allegations of emotional harm, parental manipulation, addiction and poor mental health.  In her public law work she acts in cases involving non accidental injury, fabricated induced illness, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and learning disability.  Having practised in the Court of Protection in the past, Sarah has a particular interest in cases involving the deprivation of liberty of children and young people.

    Sarah joined Albion Chambers in 2014, having practised in London for over 20 years. She is an experienced trial advocate, is quick witted and fights her client’s corner. Clients and instructing solicitors have praised her for her client care skills, her meticulous preparation, her effective cross-examination and her “incisive”, “straight talking” approach. A significant proportion of Sarah’s work arises through personal recommendation.

    Before she transferred to the Bar, Sarah was a solicitor for over 10 years.   During this time, she founded Wilkinson Pope, a niche family law practice in Islington, where she specialised in representing children (both directly and through their guardians) and their parents.   On her transfer to the Bar, Sarah joined 14 Gray’s Inn Square (now Fourteen), where she was instructed by some of London’s leading specialist family law firms and where she continues as a Door Tenant.

    Public Access: Sarah is licensed under the Public Access rules and her previous experience as a solicitor equips her well for this type of work.

  • Child Law Private
  • Child Law Public

    Sarah has extensive experience of acting for all parties in private law and public law children proceedings and therefore of assessing each case from every angle. Having been a member of the Law Society Children Panel for many years, she is a popular choice with Guardians.

    Sarah’s practice in care proceedings encompasses the full range of issues including child death, NAI, intrafamilial sexual abuse, fabricated illness, learning disability, teenage pregnancy and concurrent criminal proceedings.

    Sarah is also experienced in cases involving fact finding, wardship, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and cases with an international element.

    In private law cases Sarah offers pragmatism and a solution-based approach.

    Cases of note:

    • BT & GT (Children: twins – adoption) [2018] EWFC 76 – Sarah represented the older siblings of twins who had been separated by the Local Authority at the age of six when they were in foster care and then placed separately for adoption, in breach of their care plans. Her two child clients sought contact with the twins. As a result of the girls’ ages (14 and 15), instructions were received via the Official Solicitor who accepted that, in the context of adoption, direct contact was not feasible. Indirect contact agreed with the prospect of the introduction of direct contact being considered in two years’ time.
    • B (A Child) [2018] EWCA Civ 2127 – Represented the mother in care proceedings in which she and her husband were accused of causing fractures to their son’s lower legs and ribs. Both parents were teachers. Appeal made to the Court of Appeal after findings made against the mother, on the basis that the Local Authority had failed to put a positive case to the mother in cross examination leading to an unfair fact finding process.
    • Re R (A Child) [2018] EWFC 28 – Acted for the mother in this case which involved a sort of “reverse Charlie Gard” situation. At one point, against medical advice, the mother wanted her child to be allowed to die, to prevent the child’s continuing suffering from her profound disabilities. The outcome of the final hearing was favourable to the mother as the Local Authority agreed to fund attunement work and psychotherapy for the mother and the objective of the care plan was reunification of the child to the mother’s care within two years.
    • Re S (A Child) [2017] EWCA Civ 44 – Acting for the mother in international Children Act and Wardship proceedings in the High Court. There was a fact finding hearing in which the Judge found some of the mother’s complaints against the father made out, but not others. Very unusually following a fact finding hearing, the mother was successful in appealing part of the findings made. The appeal also considered the use of similar fact evidence in family proceedings.
    • A Local Authority v J [2008] EWHC 1484 (Fam) [2008] 2 FLR 1389 – Adoption – Contact – Post-adoption contact with mother or half-siblings – Whether to be ordered. Care – Welfare – Parenting assessment – Whether failure of emotional care and failure to co-operate justified adoption – Whether post-adoption contact with family members to be ordered.
    • London Borough of Enfield v Ms A and 1 Or (2006) [2006] EWHC 1466 – Care Proceedings – Child Protection – Care arrangements for child subjected to physical abuse – approval of Local Authority care plan to place child with maternal relatives outside the jurisdiction.
    • Haringey London Borough Council (2) Hackney London Borough Council v Mrs S & 7 Ors [2006] EWHC 2001 – Care Proceedings – Child Protection – Children – Non Accidental Injury – Care arrangements for child subjected to assault and wilful neglect – Witchcraft – Ndoki – Kindoki.
Sarah Pope MCIArb


“Utterly focused on the right outcome for her client. A fearless, brilliant advocate who gets results”

“Sarah is a fierce advocate who would not compromise the client’s position. She is able to assure clients and ensure that their approach is reasonable”

“Sarah is fantastic with putting the client’s case forward and assisting the solicitor with progressing the case”

Chambers and Partners 2024 

‘Sarah is a very strong and ferocious advocate with extensive knowledge. She has a calm presence and clients trust her. She is able to deal with the most difficult cases and navigate tricky counsel on the other side with ease.’

Legal 500 2024 

‘Sarah gets to grips quickly with the real issues in the case.’

‘Sarah is a very strong advocate and will fight for her clients to the end.’

‘If you’re up against it in a private children case, Sarah is the counsel you want by your side.’

Chambers and Partners 2023

‘A tenacious advocate who gets results.’

Legal 500 2023

“Sarah is wonderful with clients and extremely knowledgeable in children matters. She is very effective in front of a judge, authoritative in court and yet sympathetic where required.” “She’s robust and fiercely protects her clients’ interests.”
Chambers and Partners 2022

“Sarah is a formidable advocate. She radiates confidence and is a really safe pair of hands for children work. She is brilliant to work with.”
Legal 500 2022

“Sarah is brilliant to work with. She listens to what solicitors and clients have to say. She is very knowledgeable and experienced. She is confident and an excellent advocate, fearsome in cross-examination. She is very good at dealing with clients and coming up with solutions. She inspires confidence.”
Legal 500 2021

“Children law junior frequently representing parents, interveners and local authorities in both public and private matters. Her expertise ranges from non-accidental injury and death of baby cases to sexual abuse fact-finding proceedings. She is often instructed in care proceedings.”
“She is authoritative, decisive and a formidable advocate.” “She has an excellent ability to take in a large volume of complex material and identify the issues, explaining and advising with succinct clarity thereafter.”

Chambers and Partners 2021

“Sarah is committed to client care of the highest standard. She has a pragmatic approach, but deals with clients in a sensitive and friendly way. She is well liked by lay and professional clients alike. Sarah is meticulous in her preparation and her attention to detail, which is borne out in her advocacy.”
Chambers and Partners UK

Sarah has been recognised as a Leading Family Junior in both Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500 over many years.

Chambers and Partners
Sarah has been commended for:

  • the “determination and energy” she brings to a case
  • the emphasis she places upon client care
  • her ability to analyse information well
  • her ability to guide the instructing solicitor along the right path
  • her “tenacious and thorough” advocacy

2014 – “Sarah Pope is highlighted in particular for her strong performances in court and for the experience she brings having been a former solicitor”
“A very experienced childcare lawyer”
“Because she was a solicitor she appreciates all the difficulties her instructing solicitors have to put up with”

2015 – “She’s very approachable, very good with the client and she produces very good paperwork. Very gutsy, she always puts the clients’ interests first. She reads everything in detail and is very persuasive in front of a judge”
2016 – “Very hard-working, very well prepared and very thorough. She’s a very good advocate, who has good judgment and lots of experience as both a barrister and a solicitor.”
2017 – “Often acts for guardians on public children law cases. She has experience in a wide variety of issues, including FGM, international relocation, child death and sexual abuse.”
2018 – “Sarah is committed to client care of the highest standard. She has a pragmatic approach, but deals with clients in a sensitive and friendly way. She is well liked by lay and professional clients alike. Sarah is meticulous in her preparation and her attention to detail, which is borne out in her advocacy.”
2019 – Assiduous and robust advocate. Very good with clients.”
2020 –“Very experienced and a very effective advocate. She is absolutely fantastic at dealing with difficult clients.”

The Legal 500
Sarah has been praised for being:

“simply a great barrister”
“highly respected and advances difficult cases with skill and sensitivity”
“Approachable and helpful and meticulous in her preparation”


  • BA (Hons) Law & French

Professional memberships

  • FLBA
  • ALC
  • Adoption UK, MHLA
  • Western Circuit


  • Current Chair of the Bristol Family Law Bar Association
  • Former member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Lawyers for Children 2015-2018
  • Former Independent Costs Adjudicator for the Legal Aid Agency


Sarah speaks fluent French and conversational Italian.