Sarah Coles



Since qualifying as a solicitor in 1998 I have specialised in medical law, handling a vast array of cases including cerebral palsy, delays in diagnosis of cancer, delay in diagnosis and inappropriate treatment of spinal injuries and surgical errors.

I have obtained over £21 million in damages for my clients and their families, but I realise it is not just a matter of obtaining damages, most clients want answers from the doctors as to what happened, why it happened and is there any treatment that can help them. To many this is far more important than awards of damages. My clients’ objectives for pursuing cases are my primary concern.

What Inspired You To Get Into Law?

From a very young age, I either wanted to be a policewoman or a lawyer - I don’t know why really, except that I wanted to help people resolve issues and make good any wrongs! I therefore chose Law as an A Level and found studying the law so interesting that I went on to study Law at Hull University. I've never looked back.

What Is The Most Rewarding Aspect Of Your Role?

Quite often in medical law, it is difficult to prove a successful claim because it is such a complex area and therefore a number of cases are not successful, in terms of recovering damages. However what is often more rewarding is finding out answers for my clients as to what happened and why, and to reassure them it wasn’t their fault. My clients, despite not having any awards for damages, are satisfied and appreciative as it has helped them move on from often traumatic circumstances. This is what I find rewarding.

What Do You Like About Working At Irwin Mitchell?

Irwin Mitchell is a superb firm and I am very lucky to be surrounded by genuinely lovely people, all excel in their field and I have learned a great deal from being here. In addition Irwin Mitchell is dedicated to supporting charities, locally and nationally and I have had the pleasure to be involved with this.  It makes it all worthwhile. 

What Do You Do Away From The Office?

I have a number of interests including diving, skiing and partaking in the odd extreme activity such as sky-diving or bungee jumping. But my main love is football and I am an ardent Norwich City supporter - if only I could cook as well as Delia Smith! I recently also took a year out before joining Irwin Mitchell during which time I went travelling around the world, spending several months in South Africa volunteering in the Kwa Zulu-Natal region providing HIV education and caring for orphaned children.

I'm pleased to be supporting Wheelchair Sports Hull. For more information about this organisation, go to

Read My Comments On The Latest News

  • 01/09/2016
    Baby Joy For Former Policeman Who Lost Hand And Both Legs To Killer Infection

    Dean and Kirsty are a truly inspirational couple who have overcome challenges which would have left many people wanting to give up. Not diagnosing and treating Dean’s infection that led to sepsis, early enough changed his life forever and although nothing can turn back the clock, the award of damages he will receive means he will be able to afford suitable and different prosthetics throughout his life and the on-going rehabilitation he will need as his remaining joints become over used, so he can be as active as possible and help in the bringing up of his new baby. It’s important that lessons are learned from this sepsis case to improve the diagnosis and treatment of others in future. Through our close work with The UK Sepsis Trust we have seen the urgent need to promote the signs of sepsis and provide early care in the UK and hope that this awareness campaign will help save thousands of lives and improve the outlook for all of those affected.

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  • 10/08/2016
    CQC Report Brands Humber NHS Foundation Trust Mental Health Services ‘Unsafe’

    Mental health services are absolutely vital in providing the help and support those suffering with mental health issues require. It is absolutely imperative these individuals, who can be extremely vulnerable, are able to access the care and treatment they require and that they are dealt with by staff that are trained to deal with these issues. “Clearly, it is a very real concern that the mental health services run by the Humber NHS Foundation Trust have been rated as inadequate by the CQC. Even more concerning is that the Trust appears not to have made improvements since its previous inspection in 2014, which highlighted a number of similar concerns around mental health provision. “It is critical the findings of the CQC’s latest inspection are analysed by the Trust and steps are taken to make improvements and to reassure those in the region that mental health services will be improved quickly. “Both personally and at Irwin Mitchell I’ve witnessed first-hand the consequences poor mental health services can have on those who rely on them for help and support and this year we are supporting a local mental health charity, Leeds Mind, to raise funds that will be used to provide assistance for those who need it.

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  • 13/07/2016
    NHS Guidelines Say To Treat Signs Of Sepsis As Urgently As Heart Attack Symptoms

    “The development of the NICE guidelines for sepsis is hugely welcomed. Any steps that can be taken to raise awareness, both within the medical profession and the public, are enormous steps. “I have worked on behalf of many clients – children and adults - who have sadly experienced a delay in diagnosis of sepsis and with tragic results, so it is promising to see that the NHS has recognised this condition as a high priority and is working towards combatting this delay. “Thousands of people’s lives are devastated as a result of sepsis and we must do all we can to raise this awareness. These guidelines formalise this and are a result of a lot of hard work by doctors, affected families and charities such as UK Sepsis Trust led by Dr Ron Daniels.”

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  • 16/05/2016
    Mother Speaks Of Relief After Settlement Secured For Daughter Who Suffered Injuries At Birth

    “The injury Courtney suffered to her right shoulder and as such has had a significant impact on her life as she has faced a series of challenges with tasks many people take for granted. “Shoulder dystocia is an obstetric emergency and hospitals have specific procedures in place to try and avoid this type of injury occurring. It was accepted by the Judge at trial that due to the slowness of the labour, Courtney should have been delivered by C-section but unfortunately, in this case a C-section was not carried out. “Had it been carried out she would not have had her shoulder damaged during the delivery process and all this would have been avoided. “Clearly patient safety should always be the main priority for medical staff, particularly on maternity wards where mothers and babies are vulnerable. It is a situation which could have been avoided if the appropriate expertise had been obtained to manage the labour. “We are glad to have secured a settlement from the Trust for Courtney and her family and hope the conclusion of the legal action provides them with an opportunity to put their ordeal behind them and look forward to the future knowing that Courtney will be able to access the services she needs.”

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