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Sarah Balfour



I am a Partner and have been at Irwin Mitchell for over 11 years. I am passionate about my clients and providing the best service that I can. I practice exclusively in family law – specialising in divorce and related financial matters, as well as advising parents on matters relating to their children.

I regularly act for professionals and members of the business community and offer practical, commercially focused advice. My cases often involve an international element and I have a particular focus on the treatment of Trust and business assets within divorce.

I am a vocal advocate of pre- and post-nuptial agreements and am regularly instructed in relation to these. My clients range from those with high levels of inherited family wealth to those professionals or business-persons with assets that they have built up themselves. I have written extensively on nuptial agreements and regularly provide updates and training seminars to other professional advisors through the Midlands.

In relation to children matters I take a sensitive and child-focused approach. I regularly act in relation to highly contentious contact and residence disputes. I have worked on cases involving NYAS and children’s guardians and regularly instruct independent social workers and other experts.

Whatever a client’s circumstances, my focus is always on providing the highest level of service.


Sarah is an "efficient and hard-working" practitioner. Sources say she is "tenacious, understanding, and cuts to the chase quickly." - Chambers & Partners 2018

"She is formidably hard-working, technically very strong and has bags of energy." - Chambers & Partners 2017

She impresses interviewees with her “masterful command of the detail of the cases and delightful manner with clients.” - Chambers & Partners 2016

Sarah was at all times exceptionally hard working and unflappable, with a highly intelligent and client focused view; the final result exceeded all my expectations" - Jo Bailey, client

"Sarah has been excellent throughout. She has always been most diligent, attentive and empathetic I have no hesitation in endorsing her for these excellent qualities. Most importantly her competence, knowledge and opinion in all matters legal is always a great reassurance to me in decision making. Always a friendly voice at the end of the phone." - Karen Hart, client

What Inspired You to Get into Law?

My mother tells me that I was a very early talker and once I started I just didn’t stop. I asked her endless questions about everything I could and loved all forms of interaction. Not much has changed over the years. I have always loved the discussion of ideas and their practical application. This alongside a love of reading led me to study law at university. Once I was there I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer. It was only the precise area of law that foxed me for a while. I wanted an area that was both technically demanding but that had heart. I thought family law would tick all the boxes, and I was right!

What Is The Most Rewarding Aspect Of Your Role?

As a family lawyer I work with clients during what is often the most difficult time of their lives. I pride myself on offering the most professional and sensitive advice I can. I feel privileged to be able to help my clients embark upon the rest of their lives.

What Do You Like About Working At Irwin Mitchell?

I love working at Irwin Mitchell. It is a groundbreaking law firm – its approach is fresh and innovative. It attracts the best lawyers and ensures they never lose the human touch.

Within the family team I work alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. We share a dedication to our clients and a passion for the law. As a network we are unrivalled – we have experts that cover the length and breadth of the country and can offer exceptional service. We are a close knit and supportive team; you could say that we are a family law family.

What Do You Do Away From The Office?

Away from the office I am a mum of two engaging and energetic boys. We love the outdoors and as members of the National Trust we enjoy visiting their gardens and parks. Having lived in Birmingham for more than half of my life I have very much adopted it as my home. I love its vibrant and diverse culture, its green spaces, cafés and restaurants. When I get opportunity I always take advantage of its thriving street food culture.

Read My Comments On The Latest News

  • 11/05/2018
    Hart Committal Appeal Statement

    “It is right that the Court of Appeal has upheld the decisions previously made. In his sentencing, His Honour Judge Wildblood QC set out a clear message that orders made by the court must be respected. The judgment was fair, balanced and set out the many opportunities that Mr Hart had been given by Mrs Hart to comply with the court’s orders and enable her to manage her company effectively and efficiently. "Today the Court of Appeal has expressly endorsed that message. Once it has made a decision, the court does have the teeth to enforce it. "Mrs Hart has pursued these proceedings with a heavy heart. All she has ever sought is the ability to run the company awarded to her in an effective way. She has behaved in an exemplary fashion in conducting the proceedings which were extraordinarily difficult, lengthy and costly due to the approach of Mr Hart."

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  • 23/03/2018
    Hart Committal Proceedings Statement

    “Mrs Hart attended court with a heavy heart. All she has ever sought is the ability to run the company awarded to her in an effective way. “She behaved in an exemplary fashion in conducting the proceedings which were extraordinarily difficult, lengthy and costly due to the approach of Mr Hart. “In the judgment handed down, His Honour Judge Wildblood QC sets out a clear message that orders made by the court must be respected and this case is further evidence that the family courts are prepared to take action to ensure to enforce the law.”

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  • 16/04/2015
    Pensions Anxiety For Retirees Following Divorce

    As the number of over 55s divorcing increases, the treatment of pensions in a divorce is an increasingly important matter. “For those who have planned and provided for their retirement, the prospect of losing pension can cause a great deal of anxiety, but with careful advice, understanding and mediation it is often possible to find a favourable solution for both parties. “The sharing of pensions can be a complex issue during a divorce, which makes it absolutely crucial to take appropriate legal action and take every possible step to ensure a favourable solution is found and both parties can move on with their lives without fear for their financial future.

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  • 09/07/2014
    Family Lawyers See Pre-Nup Instructions Rise

    There was previously some uncertainty around pre-nups and there was potential for the courts to overrule them too easily. The proposed amendments to the law would give them more weight as long as they were produced to a certain criteria. Only in exceptional circumstances where this criteria is not met will the courts decide not to uphold them.”

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