Sarah Wallace



About My Role

Sarah defends financial crime, fraud and regulatory investigations, with particular experience of defending large and complex criminal or regulatory investigations or prosecutions by bodies such as:

  • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • Serious Fraud Office (SFO)
  • HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC and RCPO)
  • Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS)
  • Crown (or Fraud) Prosecution Service (CPS or FPS)
  • Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)
  • Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA)

In relation to FCA Enforcement investigations, she advises individuals and firms at risk of or under FCA Enforcement investigations, whether criminal, civil or regulatory investigations, for alleged misconduct, rule breaches or criminal offences (eg insider dealing, misleading statements, market abuse or 'boiler rooms'). Sarah was seconded to the FCA's Enforcement Division in 04/05 and represented a senior executive in the first-ever acquittal in an FCA prosecution for insider dealing.

Her practice includes defending restraint, confiscation, asset recovery and other proceeds of crime proceedings, company director disqualification and professional discipline matters (in particular FCA and SRA fitness to practice). Sarah also advises on 'general crime' and motoring matters.

Market View

"Generous with her time, brave and tactically very shrewd."  "She gets to the essence of what matters early on and, importantly, she can see what advice that a client should get early on - which are the cases to negotiate and which are the ones to fight hard." - Chambers & Partners, 2017

Sarah Wallace is "one of the best and hardest-working litigators around" - ​Legal 500 2016

The "commercially savvy" Sarah Wallace is described as "extremely diligent and hard-working". Sources go on to praise her depth of experience dealing with regulators such as the FSA and FCA. - Chambers & Partners 2016

The "pragmatic" Sarah Wallace "fights tooth and nail for her clients". She is also noted for being "very hardworking" and "increasingly very active in the financial services field" - Legal 500 2015

"One of the most dogged solicitors I know. She's someone who will never leave a stone unturned - she has a remarkable attention to detail." - Chambers & Partners 2015

Sarah Wallace displays "excellent judgement" and has earned the reputation as a "fearsome opponent". She is "tenacious in pursuing the interests of her clients whilst giving realistic advice." - Legal 500 2014

Described as a "tenacious" and "diligent" lawyer, who is "committed to her cases" and provides "very good client care." - Chambers & Partners 2014

Sarah Wallace produces work of the "highest quality" - Legal 500 2012

What Inspired You To Get Into Law?

Interesting work, no day is the same, meeting different and interesting people from varied backgrounds, finding practical and cost effective solutions for clients who may be facing difficult or challenging times in their personal or work life.

What Is The Most Rewarding Aspect Of Your Role?

Working out different angles to represent and defend our clients' best interests. Being involved in what can be cutting edge litigation that makes new law. Most importantly though, clients being happy and satisfied with the outcome of our work.

What Do You Like About Working At Irwin Mitchell?

IM is a friendly, modern, entrepreneurial and forward thinking law firm with like minded motivated people who work hard and passionately for our clients.

What Do You Do Away From The Office?

In the winter I like skiing and ski touring, and in the summer mountain walking and a bit of climbing.

Read My Comments On The Latest News

  • 05/07/2016
    Three Found Guilty In Libor Rigging Trial

    “If the SFO were smarting from the broker acquittals in the second Libor trial, they will feel vindicated and emboldened by these verdicts - as well as a little relieved, as the jury deliberated for some time. “Whether it signals further UK Libor prosecutions remains to be seen, although after the forthcoming Euribor trial the SFO may decide to draw a line underneath benchmarks. “There is also a certain irony in that fact that those convicted may well have fared better had they been dealt with in the United States. “Historically there has been questions raised about the effectiveness of the SFO and we have previously voiced our opinion on the required changes in legislation. However, I doubt that any politician, least of all Theresa May, will have the future of the office on their mind at the moment. “If the new corporate criminal liability offences currently under Government consultation make it into our law then the SFO could be busy. Assuming of course that their prosecution budget is not reduced through any post Brexit public spending cuts.”

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  • 24/06/2016
    The UK Votes To Leave The EU

    Today’s decision to leave the EU doesn’t mean that UK businesses will not be affected by new far reaching data protection rules which are due in 2018. If a UK business trades in the European Union and offers goods or services to individuals in the EU, the new regulations will still be relevant. It will also continue to apply if a UK business monitors the behaviour of individuals in the EU – this could even extend to the use of cookies. If a business trades only in the UK, the issue is less clear as the UK Government may choose to include equivalent legislation anyway. It is generally accepted that the data protection laws are out-dated and I suspect that data protection will not stay the same for long, even though we are leaving the EU. In other words, there will be some reform. We just don’t know what it will look like.

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  • 18/05/2016
    The Queen’s Speech 2016

    "The Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill contains some useful provisions. At the micro level, councils currently make excessive use of pre-commencement conditions, often in circumstances where they are unnecessary. We regularly see consents with more than a dozen such conditions. Since each must be signed off before a lawful start can be made, the developer is at the mercy of the least efficient council or stakeholder officer determining any one of the applications to discharge the conditions. But we will need to see the legislation to see if it will be effective. "It is difficult to get excited about a “National Infrastructure Commission”. At the end of the day, the level of infrastructure we invest in (and whether the nation can afford to do it, or not to do it) is essentially a political decision. We have seen with the on-going, and still unresolved, debate over South East airport capacity that kicking the can down the street to an independent body – however well qualified - only delays the date of that political decision.”

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  • 12/05/2016
    Government To Introduce New Corporate Money Laundering Offence

    David Cameron’s proposal to widen the ‘failure to prevent’ type of corporate crime for bribery and tax evasion to include fraud, money laundering and other financial crime is a game changer. It would bring the UK’s approach closer to that of the US. FCA-regulated firms in the financial services sector will be familiar with the requirement for effective systems and controls to prevent financial crime and face the threat of fines and public censure if they don’t have suitable measures in place. The Prime Minister now views criminal enforcement as the tool to ensure corporate compliance in all industries, not just financial services in what is in increasingly tough approach to regulation.

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