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Sarah Wallace



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

"Clever and highly committed," with "good client care skills," Sarah "is an experienced practitioner with a strong record of advising on matters at the intersection of financial crime and regulatory proceedings." – Chambers & Partners, 2018

"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 is "tactically excellent" and "a lawyer you definitely want on your side." She is a "streetwise financial services lawyer and is very alive to the interplay of civil and criminal aspects of an investigation or dispute". She is "adept at tailoring her services and approach to the different requirements of different cases." -Legal 500, 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

  • 20/02/2017
    Financial Conduct Authority And Prudential Regulation Authority Publish Decision Making Changes

    “It’s important for the FCA to operate as smoothly as possible and for those under investigation not to feel the process is oppressive or unduly lengthy. The settlement change is likely to trigger more FCA investigation cases being contested at the RDC stage rather than settling, which is no bad thing. "Individuals and companies may have felt under pressure to settle earlier in the process although now they may feel more confident to contest aspects of a case with the ability to still retain the potential for a discount on a financial penalty. "Most individuals or officers of firms under investigation, feel a degree of stress when dealing with FCA Enforcement so any steps that improve the process are to be welcomed."

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  • 14/02/2017
    Serious Fraud Office - The Big Funding Debate

    “The ‘blockbuster’ funding method on a case by case basis is more economical for the SFO as they are not incurring overhead costs during quiet times. This method allows them to have access to extra funding for investigations into large and complex corporate criminal cases such as international bribery or financial crime. “The Treasury is acting as a gatekeeper to the body which does leave control in their court, and although this may not be the most well designed method of funding, currently it seems to be working because it’s difficult to predict when major criminal cases will arise. “Core funding has decreased over the years but if this was to increase, it’s still unlikely that it will be enough to cover such large scale investigations that the SFO need to put just as much time into. Individuals and companies should not assume that the SFO is cash-strapped and will not have the money to investigate them.”

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  • 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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