Sarah is a specialist housing, property and local government barrister. She became chair of the Social Housing Law Association in January 2019.
She is frequently instructed in possession actions, applications for injunctive relief and homelessness matters. Her caseload involves all aspects of housing law including anti-social behaviour, gaining tenancies by deception, subletting and failed successions. She regularly deals with cases raising issues of capacity, judicial review claims, public law defences and the Equality Act 2010. She also has experience in cases concerning allocations, Gypsy and Traveller law, Children Act 1989, Local Government Act 1972, Environmental Protection Act 1990, welfare benefits, private landlord and tenant, leasehold issues and disrepair.
Sarah has appeared in the Court of Appeal (see notable cases) and the High Court. She is recommended in Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 being described as providing “…extremely impressive [written advice]”, being “…very personable and always a formidable opponent” and “dedicated, committed and excellent with clients, she is impressively knowledgeable when it comes to everything housing-related”. “Sarah is always well prepared, and has a clear and effective advocacy style.”
As chair of the Social Housing Law Association, she is currently feeding into the Master of the Rolls Working Group on possession proceedings and, in 2019, was part of the JUSTICE housing disputes working party. In 2018, she was part of the advisory board from the report ‘Closing the Gaps: Health and Safety in Housing’, commissioned by the charity Shelter following the Grenfell Tower fire.
Sarah has been invited to speak at various conferences and delivers training on all aspects of her practice.
Sarah’s practice covers all aspects of housing law, including:
- Possession proceedings (bringing and defending)
- Homelessness and allocations
- Equality Act 2010 duties
- Housing benefit
- Anti-social behaviour
- Disrepair, nuisance and Environmental Protection Act 1990
- Right to buy/acquire
- Succession claims
- Human rights and public law defences
- Judicial review of local authority decisions
- Decants for regeneration projects and possession based on demolition of the property
- Unlawful eviction and harassment claims
She acts for local authorities, private registered providers and tenants.
Sarah was lead counsel for the tenants in Jarvis v Evans  EWCA Civ 854 (see notable cases). It was held that a section 8, Housing Act 1988 notice served by a landlord is a “notice to terminate a tenancy” and if such a notice is served by a landlord who is unlicensed in Wales, it is invalid. This case was the first to see the provisions of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 before the higher courts.
Sarah acted successfully for a local authority resisting a challenge to the making of an immediate possession order in circumstances where the behaviour was caused by the tenant’s son as opposed to the tenant herself: Royal Borough of Greenwich v Charlotte Tuitt  EWCA Civ 1669;  HLR 10.
- Landlord & Tenant
Sarah has experience of actions between private landlords and tenants and is able advise on various issues, including type of tenure, service of notices, bringing and defending possession proceedings, including those relating to mortgaged properties, claims for unlawful eviction and harassment, landlord licensing and registration and injunctions to enforce access and other covenants.
Sarah has enjoyed recent success in the Court of Appeal for the tenants in a case concerning landlord licensing in Wales: Jarvis v Evans and another (Shelter Cymru intervening)  EWCA Civ 854 (see notable cases).
- Local Government
Sarah has been instructed in applications for urgent consideration, interim relief and claims for judicial review which have included issues such as enforcement of warrants, homelessness, housing, immigration, Children Act 1989, council tax, data protection and human rights issues.
In addition, Sarah has experience of s.222 Local Government Act 1972 injunctions and prosecutions, Gypsy and Traveller law, duties owed to children, welfare benefits, allocation policies, damages under the Human Rights Act, the introduction of discretionary policies and other policy matters.
Sarah is currently instructed in:
- a high-profile case for an authority to advise in relation to the redevelopment of a gypsy and traveller site. The authority want to redevelop the site because of various concerns (crime and access for emergency services, poor facilities, fly-tipping and drainage). The residents have Mobile Homes Act 1983 pitch agreements;
- a judicial review concerning the interaction between provisions of the Children Act 1989, ss. 111 and 222, Local Government Act 1972, s.1, Localism Act 2011 and the Fraud Act 2006;
- advising a local authority on the possible consequences of a stock transfer; and,
- advising on a policy concerning Mobile Homes.
Sarah was junior counsel in a case concerning the proper approach to be taken by housing benefit authorities to the restriction of benefit for occupiers of “exempt” accommodation to which the normal local housing allowance and “maximum rent” rules do not apply: Birmingham City Council v SS and SA  EWCA Civ 1211;  H.L.R. 6.
Sarah was instructed, as part of a team, by a large local authority to advise on the drafting and implementation of a council tax scheme for the area.
- Anti-Social Behaviour
Sarah’s practice encompasses all aspects of anti-social behaviour including trials in the Magistrates’, Crown and County Court, closure orders, noise abatement, Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (including private claims), anti-social behaviour injunctions, gang-injunctions and nuisance possession claims. She has trained police and local authorities on the use of civil orders to prevent anti-social behaviour.
She was junior counsel in James v Birmingham City Council  EWCA Civ 552;  1 WLR 23 which was the first time the Court of Appeal considered gang-injunctions under section 34 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009.
- Public Law, Equality & Human Rights
Sarah enjoys all aspects of public law having completed an LLM (Public Law) at UCL. She is a member of Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA) and the Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA). As part of her housing and local government practice, Sarah deals with public law, Equality Act and human rights issues on a regular basis.
As well as her current local government work, Sarah has recently been instructed in:
- defending and advising in a case concerning a charitable service where there have been alleged breaches of the Equality Act 2010 and data protection law;
- advising an organisation on alleged breaches of the Equality Act 2010 arising in relation to a training course;
- advising a housing association on its policy concerning Mobile Homes; and,
- advising a housing association with regards to alleged breaches of the Equality Act 2010 arising out of how they provide information to their tenants.
Sarah has also been instructed to advise on challenges to Ombudsman decisions and an inquiry by a regulator in relation to alleged misconduct and mismanagement of a housing association.
Sarah has completed a secondment for a large local authority dealing with issues of freedom of information and data protection and has delivered training on the same. She has advised upon information requests by the Secretary of State, data sharing and issues of data collection, retention and use. She is currently part of Chambers’ GDPR team.
Sarah advises and represents in all areas of property law. She has appeared in the High Court in relation to property disputes. Sarah has experience of service charge disputes, leasehold enfranchisement, proceedings relating to breach of covenant or condition, rent repayment orders and has advised on matters under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.
- Notable Cases
SS and SA v Birmingham CC  EWCA Civ 1211;  H.L.R. 6. Junior counsel for the local authority in a case concerning the proper approach to be taken by housing benefit authorities to the restriction of benefit for occupiers of “exempt” accommodation to which the normal local housing allowance and “maximum rent” rules do not apply.
Birmingham CC v Rafiq and others, County Court at Birmingham, January 2014. Junior counsel for the local authority in a gang injunction trial against 12 respondents (the application contested by 10 of the respondents) that lasted 19 days. The trial raised a variety of issues including evidential matters (e.g. the approach to: hearsay; community surveys; 999 call logs; police intelligence; and, ‘stale’ evidence) and the meaning of “engage”, “encouraged”, “assisted” and “gang-related violence” within section 34, Policing and Crime Act 2009.
James v Birmingham CC  EWCA Civ 552;  1 WLR 23. Junior counsel for the successful local authority in an appeal against the grant of an injunction to prevent gang-related violence under section 34 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009.
Morrison Facilities Services Limited v Norwich City Council  EWHC 487 (Ch). Junior counsel in an application for an interim injunction in a public procurement case.
Jarvis v Evans and another (Shelter Cymru intervening)  EWCA Civ 854 – lead counsel for the successful Respondent tenants in the first Court of Appeal case to consider the provisions of Part 1, Housing (Wales) 2014. Landlords who are not licensed under Part 1 cannot rely upon a section 8 or section 21, Housing Act 1988 notice served by them to obtain possession unless they have used an authorised agent.
Royal Borough of Greenwich v Charlotte Tuitt  EWCA Civ 1669;  HLR 10. Represented the successful local authority in the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal held that a district judge had correctly exercised her discretion in granting an outright possession order despite the fact that it was the appellant’s son, and not the appellant herself, who had been responsible for the anti-social behaviour.
Octavia Housing v Winter  EWCA Civ 436. This was a claim in relation to rent arrears where the tenant counterclaimed for damages for disrepair. At trial, the counterclaim was dismissed and judgment entered for arrears. After having his first appeal dismissed, the tenant sought permission to bring a second appeal. Sarah appeared on behalf of the landlord due to the tenant being a litigant in person. Permission was refused.
- Legal Publications
Contributor – Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents (EF&P), vol 24(1) Landlord and Tenant (Social Housing) (2019, LexisNexis)
Assistant Editor – Encyclopaedia of Housing Law (March 2012 – March 2017)
Affordable Housing – Modern Guide to Construction and Delivery (2016, Lexis online publication)
Co-author of Judicial Review Proceedings: A Practitioners Guide, 3rd edition (LAG, 2012).
Salmon, S. “Cost awards in Environmental Protection Act 1990 prosecutions”, Local Government Lawyer, May 24, 2019.
Salmon, S. “Remembering mediation in housing cases”, Local Government Lawyer, November 30, 2018.
Salmon, S. “Homelessness update”, Local Government Lawyer, November 3, 2017.
Manning, J., Salmon, S., Gladwyn, B. and Rees, R. “A nightmare for social landlords and their tenants?”, SHLA website, 24 October 2016. A paper considering, in depth, the Court of Appeal decision in Cardiff CC v Lee (Flowers)  EWCA Civ 1034 (available at http://www.shla.org.uk/news/116,a-nightmare-for-social-landlords-and-their-tenants).
Salmon, S. And Saunders, J. “The Simpler the Better? The Future of Renting Homes in Wales” J.H.L. 2014, 17(5), 103-108.
Manning, J. and Salmon, S. “Gang injunctions, ASBOs and the closest fit” Local Government Lawyer May 23, 2013.
Orme, E. and Salmon, S. “Shaky ground” Solicitors Journal 2011, 155(44), 12-13 (examined the proposals put forward in the Government consultation paper “A new mandatory power of possession for anti-social behaviour”).
Madge-Wyld, S. and Salmon, S. “Valuable possession: Take 2” New Law Journal 15 & 22 April 2011, pages 527-528 (the rights and wrongs of Article 8 and possession claims).
Chan, R. and Salmon, S. “Badge of Honour” Solicitors Journal, Vol 155 no 15 (Gang injunctions: trophies or deterrents).
Babington, V. and Salmon, S. “Schedule 11 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008: the awkward position of introductory tenancies” J.H.L. 2010, 13(6), 112-116.
- Public Access
Sarah is registered with the Bar Council as able to accept work under the Public Access scheme.
Leading Junior (Social Housing), Legal 500 2020: “Her pleadings and advice are always immaculately set out, persuasive, clearly written and well researched. Sarah is also a confident and successful court advocate.”
Chambers and Partners 2019, Social Housing (Band 3). Described as well versed across all aspects of landlord and tenant law, with particular expertise in anti-social behaviour cases and complex possession proceedings. She is widely praised for her advocacy skills and highly respected for her leading commentary on housing law and judicial reviews. Her complementary acumen in public law matters buttresses her enviable practice.
“Dedicated, committed and excellent with clients, she is impressively knowledgeable when it comes to everything housing-related.” “Sarah is always well prepared, and has a clear and effective advocacy style.”
Leading Junior (Social Housing), Legal 500 2018. Described as “excellent in her client care and in the results she achieves”.
Chambers and Partners 2018, Social Housing (Band 3): “Her written advice is extremely impressive and her breadth of knowledge is always helpful. She’s very personable and always a formidable opponent.” “Knows the law inside out and thinks of things that haven’t crossed the solicitor or client’s mind. She is also very confident on her feet.”
Leading Junior (Social Housing), Legal 500, 2017. Described as “[a] very confident advocate, who ensures she always delivers a good service.”
Chambers and Partners 2017, Social Housing (Band 3) described as being “… an excellent advocate: unfazed, likes a complex case, likes a challenge.” “Very able, she’s very good with clients, manages cases well and is a very solid advocate.”
Leading Junior (Social Housing), Legal 500, 2016 described as bringing “… depth of knowledge and industry awareness.”
Leading Junior (Social Housing), Legal 500, 2015, described as having “excellent client-handling skills”.
Chambers and Partners 2015, Social Housing (Up and Coming). Attracting “wide praise from sources for her client care skills and her comprehension of complex points of law”. “A first-class litigator.” “She’s personable, proactive and a real favourite with clients.”
Leading Junior (Social Housing), Legal 500, 2014, described as “A formidably intelligent, exceptional advocate, who provides robust and confident advice.”
Chambers and Partners 2014, Social Housing (Up and Coming), described as: “A favourite of lay-clients and instructing solicitors, she is ‘great on complex human rights cases – she’ll take a difficult case and turn it around’. She is ‘a workaholic and an excellent advocate’.”
Social Housing Law Association (Chair)
Housing Law Practitioners Association
Administrative Law Bar Association
Human Rights Lawyers Association
Property Bar Association
Bar Finals, BPP Law School – Very Competent
LLM Public Law, University College London (focusing on civil procedure, administrative law and judicial review, human rights and environmental law).
LLB (Hons) I – First Class
- Scholarships and prizes
- Sir Thomas More Bursary, Lincoln’s Inn
- Hardwicke Entrance Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
- Sir Samuel Evans Prize 2005 (awarded to the candidate from one of the constituent institutions – University of Wales – that has attained the highest standard in examination)
- Sweet and Maxwell Law Prize for the Highest Overall Average
- Heather Meredydd Parry Prize for the Most Outstanding Performance in the Law Finals Examinations by a Woman Student
- Meurig Williams Prize for the Best Medico-Legal Dissertation – “The Twenty First Century Need for Family Funding for Legal Representation at Inquests”
- Oxford University Press Law Prize for excellence in the Part II(i) examinations
- Calcott Pryce Part II(i) Prize for an exceptional performance in law examinations
- Calcott Pryce Subject Prizes in Dissertation Two (“Is Obesity the New Tobacco?”), Family and Child Law, Law of Environmental Protection, Land Law, Legal System and Law of Contract.
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