Sarah Palin2018-11-07T11:30:11+00:00

Project Description

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

Call: 1999

A real star of the junior media Bar. She is hugely impressive, excellent with clients and very strong in her field.”

Sarah Palin
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020 7353 8845

Barrister Overview

Listed as “up and coming” in the Evening Standard’s 1000 Most Influential People, Sarah practices in all areas of media and information law, including defamation, privacy, breach of confidence, data protection, freedom of information, harassment, negligent misstatement, Articles 8 and 10 related human rights law, contempt, election law and reporting restrictions. She also has a strong interest in media regulation. She is recognised by the legal directories as a leading barrister in these areas.

Sarah has extensive experience in media and information law litigation, acting for both claimants and defendants, she has advised a broad range of clients, including government departments, local authorities, police forces, NHS trusts, professional regulatory bodies, television companies, the national and local press, as well as individuals. Her practice also includes pre-publication advisory work for national newspapers, magazines, broadcasters and major publishing houses.

Sarah has appeared in numerous high-profile defamation and privacy actions. She represented Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Daily Mail, at The Leveson Inquiry and previously acted on behalf of the BBC at The Hutton Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly. Her significant cases include acting with Andrew Caldecott QC on behalf of the intervening media in the Supreme Court in Spiller v Joseph, an important case in the development of the defence of honest opinion. High profile claimant cases include acting for Mohammed Dahlan (the Palestinian Authority’s former Minister for Security), Neil and Christine Hamilton, and Bruce Grobbelaar.


Sarah is recommended as a leading junior in Defamation and Privacy in Chambers and Partners, Who’s Who Legal and The Legal 500.

Popular junior who draws praise for her advocacy skills and busy defamation and privacy practice. She is best known for acting on behalf of newspaper groups and media organisations.  “Extremely knowledgeable on defamation and media issues. Always a pleasure to deal with.” “She has a loyal publishing clientele.” Chamber and Partners 2019

“Provides a high standard of service to her clients.” The Legal 500 2018

“I have used her on defamation claims and have been very impressed.” Chambers and Partners 2017

“An excellent source of advice and service” The Legal 500 2016

Reputable barrister whose expertise covers both defamation and privacy cases. She has been involved in a number of the practice area’s key cases, including Spiller v Joseph. “She’s enormously hard-working and provides sound advice.” Chambers and Partners 2016

“She is hugely experienced and talented, and offers practical rather than academic solutions.” The Legal 500 2015

“Sarah enjoys a strong reputation, and is instructed by solicitors for her detailed knowledge of the newspaper industry and her ability to tackle heavyweight disputes.” Sarah is acknowledged for her “Good drafting and clear advice. Chambers and Partners 2015 

“She applies academic knowledge and practical intelligence to great effect.” The Legal 500 2014 

“She is hugely impressive, excellent with clients and very strong in her field.” Chambers and Partners 2014

Sarah Palin is “a real star of the junior media Bar.” The Legal 500 2013/14

Sarah Palin boasts “impressive intellectual dexterity” and provides “great strategic thinking and tactical input.” Chambers and Partners 2013

Sarah Palin’s recent sorties have included appearing in defence of Associated Newspapers in a libel action brought by Nicola Horlick, as well as acting in a number of other high-profile libel and privacy cases. She is known not only for her knowledge of the media industry, but also for the “drive and enthusiasm she brings to each and every case. Chambers and Partners 2012

Sarah “grasps complicated issues swiftly and provides practical, commercial advice.” Chambers and Partners 2011

“Proactive and impressive” Sarah Palin is “very balanced and able to take things in her stride without being fazed by unexpected things happening. Her noteworthy work has included acting as junior counsel in a successful reporting restrictions judicial review. Chambers and Partners 2010

Sarah Palin, a name on many people’s radar, who is “amazing for someone so junior” Chambers and Partners 2008

Representative Cases

Steve Morgan CBE v Associated Newspapers (2017) – Junior Counsel (led by Catrin Evans QC) for the publishers of the Daily Mail in respect of a libel claim brought by the chairman of Redrow. 

Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha v (1) Westdeutscher Rundfunk Koln (2) Associated Newspapers Limited (2017) – Junior Counsel (led by Andrew Caldecott QC) for The Mail on Sunday in relation a claim for libel by Roberto Carlos, the former Brazilian and Real Madrid player, over allegations that he took performance-enhancing drugs during his career, including in and around the 2002 World Cup, when he won the World Cup as part of the Brazilian national team. 

An Inquiry into Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Turkey – Sarah was appointed to assist Lord Woolf CH, Professor Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC KCMG, and Sir Edward Garnier QC in a high-profile inquiry into the current human rights situation in Turkey, focusing in particular on freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Turkey. 

Information Commissioner v Colenso-Dunne [2015] UKUT 471 – Advised affected third parties in relation to a freedom of information request and whether the information sought was ‘sensitive personal data’ within section 2(g) of the DPA.

JK Rowling v Associated Newspapers Limited [2014] EMLR 23 – Junior Counsel for the defendant newspaper in a libel action brought by the author. Led by Andrew Caldecott QC. 

MATCH Hospitality AG, Match Services AG & Byrom Group Plc (2014) – Junior Counsel advising FIFA partners appointed to provide ticketing and hospitality for the FIFA World Cup 2014 and 2018 in relation to defamatory publications around the world following the arrest in Brazil of a company director. 

Waghorn v General Medical Council (2014) – Counsel for the GMC in relation to a number of claims for libel, misuse of private information, breach of the Data Protection Act and under the Human Rights Act 1998 by doctors who have been erased or suspended from the Medical Register. 

The Leveson Inquiry: Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press (2011-2014) – Junior Counsel for Associated Newspapers. 

Jooste v General Medical Council (2014) – Acted for the GMC in a successful application to strike out an action against the GMC in respect of publications arising out of an investigation into the claimant’s fitness to practice and interim suspension (Decision of Tugendhat J). 

R v Kupstys (2014) – Counsel for national newspaper on an application at Lincoln Crown Court to successfully lift a section 4(2) order prohibiting the reporting of the mistaken release by the Prison Service of a prisoner on remand during his trial for murder. 

Edwards v General Medical Council (2014) – Acted for the GMC in relation to a claim for libel, misuse of private information, breach of the Data Protection Act and under the Human Rights Act arising out of a fitness to practise investigation. 

Thour v Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust [2012] EWHC 1473 – Counsel for the defendant NHS Trust in a successful defence at a trial before Tugendhat J in respect of a claim brought in relation to a defamatory employment reference. 

Sergeant Jones v Cornwall and Devon Media Limited and Western Morning News & Media Ltd (2012) – Counsel for the regional media in relation to a claim for libel brought by a police officer in relation to allegations of impropriety in the conduct of his professional duties. 

M v East Midlands Newspapers Limited (2012) – Acted for the defendant newspaper in a privacy, data protection and negligence claim in relation to an alleged breach of reporting restrictions protecting the anonymity of a victim of a sexual offence. 

Dr Petrus Jooste v GMC (2012) Counsel for the GMC in a successful application for summary judgment in respect of a claim for libel, malicious falsehood and damages under the Human Rights Act 1998. 

MNO v STU & PQR (2011) – Counsel for a government department, instructed by the Treasury Solicitor, in a libel action. 

Clift v Clarke [2011] EWHC 1164 – Counsel for the defendant online publisher in a successful resistance of a Norwich Pharmacal application for the disclosure of information likely to lead to the identification of the authors of comments posted on a national news website. 

R v Local World Limited (2011) – Acted for the publisher and editor of the North Devon Journal in respect of a prosecution for breach of a s.39 order (Children and Young Persons Act 1933, s.39) for publishing the name of a teenage victim. The publisher was fined following a plea of guilty, and the CPS agreed to discontinue against the editor. 

Joseph v Spiller [2010] UKSC 53 – Junior Counsel for the media Interveners (Guardian News and Media Limited, Times Newspapers Limited, Associated Newspapers Limited) in important Supreme Court decision on opinions. Led by Andrew Caldecott QC. 

Horlick v Associated Newspapers Ltd [2010] EWHC 1544 – Junior Counsel for the defendant in a libel action brought by Nicola Horlick concerning allegations about her performance as a fund manager. Led by Andrew Caldecott QC at a successful trial by judge alone of preliminary issues of meaning and whether the words were fact or comment. 

Al Abdin v Telegraph Media Group PLC (2010) – Counsel for the defendant in a libel action concerning allegations of violent extremism. 

Sophie Dahl and Jamie Cullum v Associated Newspapers Limited (2010) – Counsel in a claim for breach of privacy in respect of an article revealing details of their wedding. 

Jenkins v Sheffield Wednesday Football Club (2009) – Counsel for football club in claim under Data Protection Act 1998. 

Dr Hassan v General Medical Council (2008) – Counsel for the GMC in an action brought by a doctor under the Data Protection Act 1998 in respect of a fitness to practise investigation by the GMC. 

R (on the application of Dacre) v Westminster Magistrates’ Court [2009] 1 W.L.R. 2241; [2009] 1 Cr. App. R. 6 – Junior Counsel for the defendants in successful judicial review proceedings to quash the magistrates’ refusal to stay a criminal prosecution for breach of reporting restrictions. 

Mohammed Dahlan v Al Jazeera Satellite TV [2008] EWHC 923 – Junior Counsel for the claimant, a leading Palestinian politician, in a claim over a broadcast on Al Jazeera. Case settled shortly before trial. Led by Andrew Caldecott QC. 

Burstein v Associated Newspapers [2007] EWCA Civ 600 – Junior counsel (led by Victoria Sharp QC as she then was) for the defendants in successful application for summary judgment on a defence of fair comment. This was the first consideration of the defence of fair comment by the Court of Appeal for many years. 

Martyn Jones MP v Associated Newspapers [2007] EWHC 1489 – Junior Counsel for defendant newspaper in jury trial of justification defence. Significant judgment on indemnity costs, Part 36 offers and CFA claimants. 

Lowe v Associated Newspapers [2007] 2 WLR 595 – Junior Counsel for defendant (led by Victoria Sharp QC as she then was) in a significant case in the development of the defence of honest opinion. 

Neil and Christine Hamilton v Max Clifford, News Group Newspapers and Express Newspapers [2004] EWHC 1542 – Acted for the claimants in libel actions arising from Nadine Milroy-Sloan’s false accusations of rape. 

The Hutton Inquiry Junior Counsel for the BBC (led by Andrew Caldecott QC). 

Donal MacIntyre v Chief Constable of Kent [2003] EMLR 9 – Junior Counsel for the claimant (with Andrew Caldecott QC and Manuel Barca). Settled with substantial damages paid to the claimant. 

Grobbelaar v News Group Newspapers [2002] 1 WLR 3024 – Junior Counsel for claimant (led by Richard Hartley QC) in the House of Lords (misdirection in the summing-up, excessive damages and perversity) and Court of Appeal [2001] 2 All ER 437 (Reynolds privilege; misdirection and unreasonable verdict). 

Attorney-General v BBC [2001] EWHC Admin 1202 – Junior Counsel for BBC (led by Andrew Caldecott QC) in contempt proceedings arising from the publication of the identity of a victim of sexual abuse.

Cases and News

702 2018

Who’s Who Legal

Who's Who Legal One Brick Court, Jane Phillips and Andrew Caldecott QC recognised as most highly regarded in defamation, media and entertainment by Who’s [...]

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Publications and Seminars

Contributor to Arlidge, Eady & Smith on Contempt, 5th Edition, 2017

Author, Atkin’s Court Forms on Confidence, Privacy, Data Protection, Freedom of Information and Interception of Communications, 2018

Author, Atkin’s Court Forms on Contempt, 2014


MA (Hons), Modern History, University of Oxford (Brasenose College)

CPE Postgraduate diploma in law, City University

Privacy Notice

Name and contact details of the Data Controller

Sarah Palin
One Brick Court
London EC4Y 9BY
Tel: 020 7353 9945
Email: clerks@onebrickcourt.com

Individuals to whom this Privacy Notice applies
1. This notice applies to all those whose personal data I process in the course of my practice as a barrister. It applies to you if (a) you are an individual and I have been instructed to act on your behalf (that is, you are “my client”), (b) you are a person mentioned in my case papers whether because you work for or are otherwise connected with a company, organisation or public body which has instructed me to act on its behalf or because, for example, you are a witness or are referred to in documents with which I have been supplied, (c) you are my instructing solicitor, (d) another lawyer or professional involved in a case in which I am acting, or (e) a member, pupil or employee at One Brick Court. If you are my client, you will have received a copy of this Privacy Notice when I was first instructed on your behalf.

Collection, use and reasons for processing your personal information
2. What information I obtain, and why and how I use that information, varies with the source and type of information:

Personal information where I am acting for you
2.1. If you are my client, I collect and store your personal details, other information that you have provided to me or your solicitor in connection with your case, and information about you contained in documents provided by others involved in the case, such as witnesses and opposing parties. This information may be obtained upon receipt of instructions, receipt of documents sent by your solicitor or other lawyers involved your case, or from you directly.

Personal information of individuals who are not my client
2.2. If you are not my client, you should know that I collect and store the names, employment details and contact details of third parties with whom I deal in the course of my practice, and the personal data of individuals contained in instructions, case papers and communications in cases in which I am instructed. This information may be obtained upon receipt of instructions, upon enquiries being made about my services, through dealings with third parties concerned with my work, from you directly or from enquiries being made by me about you, your work or your services.

2.3. If you are a member of Chambers, a pupil or employee at One Brick Court, I collect, store and use your name, contact details, work done by you (if you are a pupil), and other information about you that may be contained in Chambers internal documents or that you provide to me yourself.

3. The purposes for which I process the above personal data are the provision of legal services, the administration of my practice (including my membership of One Brick Court), legal research, practice development and marketing, training and assessing pupils, training mini-pupils and work experience students, and dealing with any complaints or disputes. The processing of the above personal data is necessary for those legitimate interests. Where I process your personal data for those legitimate interests, I have taken into account your data rights and considered that they do not override my interests in relation to the data I hold and the use I make of those data.

4. I lawfully process some of the above personal data in order to be able to comply with my legal obligations, for example dealings with HMRC.

5. If your personal data reveal your racial or ethnic origin, your political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or your trade union membership, data concerning your health or data concerning your sex life or sexual orientation, or data relating to your criminal convictions and offences or related security measures, I will only process those data where you have given your explicit consent, where the processing relates to personal data which are manifestly made public by you, where the processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims, or where the processing is otherwise permitted by law.

6. I will retain your personal data for so long as is necessary for the purposes identified above. This may vary depending on the context in which I acquired the data and the purpose for which I process those data, and, in the event of any sort of dispute for as long as is necessary to resolve it.

Security of your personal information
7. I take appropriate technical and organisational measures to prevent the loss, misuse or alteration of personal information.

Sharing your personal data
8. I may disclose your personal data to third parties where it is reasonably necessary to carry out any of the purposes set out above in this Notice.

Your rights
9. You may at any time:

9.1 Ask for confirmation that I am processing your personal data and request a copy.
9.2 Request the rectification of your personal data or for your data to be completed if data are incomplete.
9.3 Request that I erase your personal data.
9.4 Request that I restrict the extent of my processing of your personal data.
9.5 Request receipt of the personal data you have provided for transmission to another data controller, or request that I provide those data directly to another data controller.
9.6 Object to my processing of your personal data.

10. I will need to verify your identity before I can comply with any request.

11. I may be entitled or obliged to refuse your request or objection. If I do so, I will give you my reasons.

12. You have a right to complain about my processing of your personal data, including how I have responded to any request you’ve made about how I use your personal data, to the Information Commissioner (www.ico.org.uk and/or 0303 123 1113) the Supervisory Authority of any EU Member State.