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Sarah Forshaw QC

“Brilliant. An amazing advocate…” Chambers UK - 2018

Call 1987    Silk 2008

Practice Profile

Sarah Forshaw QC, described by an independent FT journalist as the ‘criminal barrister of choice if you can get her’, has maintained an impressive and diverse practice since taking Silk. She is frequently instructed to represent high profile individuals charged under the Sexual Offences Act and her track record marks her out as a leader in this field. 

Her skill and experience in cases involving historic sexual allegations are legendary. They include the successful defence of publicist Max Clifford against a second round of allegations from the 1970's, of a doctor accused of sexual assault on patients and of a high-profile businessman alleged to have engaged in sex with a minor. In 2019 she was instructed to defend a music producer charged with the historic rape and sexual assault of two young complainants. He was unanimously acquitted of all counts.

She has built a formidable reputation at the Central Criminal Court, having defended in over 40 Old Bailey murder trials. Notable successes include the defence of one of 19 boys on trial at the Old Bailey for the murder of a 15 year old schoolboy at Victoria station and of a 17 year old boy charged with a double murder in Leytonstone in a drug related gang attack. She is often sought out for young defendants in joint enterprise killings, and was involved in the recent post "Jogee" appeals of Johnson and others. More recently, she represented the first defendant in the Jodie Chesney murder. Her client was unanimously acquitted of both murder and manslaughter.

In cases of Fraud and Financial crime, she is frequently instructed to defend professional clients in the most complex and demanding cases. A firm believer that the best advocates undertake both prosecution and defence work, Miss Forshaw secured convictions for the Serious Fraud Office against all defendants in a long-running £80 million PONZI fraud. Sarah also recently successfully argued for the dismissal of all charges against her client in Operation Lunar, a multi-million Tax fraud using capital loss relief, that had been listed for several months in 2018.

General Crime experience has included the successful prosecution of the "Fake Sheikh", Mazher Mahmood, for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and successfully defending the only individual acquitted in a multi-handed international conspiracy to import £5m of cocaine from South America. She has been described as ‘silky smooth’ in court and ‘a class advocate…brief, eloquent, with a dash of theatre’.

Alongside her criminal practice, Sarah is often instructed to appear before regulatory bodies, primarily for members of the medical profession. Recent cases before the General Medical Council include the successful reinstatement of a doctor accused and subsequently cleared of raping a nurse, and the trial at GMC (following acquittals in the Crown Court) of another doctor against whom a young patient had made allegations of numerous sexual assaults, all of which were found not proven by the GMCSarah Forshaw QC was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2008 and quickly established a formidable practice in Silk. She was appointed co-Head of Chambers in 2009 and from 2012-2014 was Leader of the South Eastern Circuit (the largest of the six geographical Circuits of the Bar of England and Wales). She was nominated for Crime silk of the Year 2014 by Chambers & Partners and is a band 1 silk in the current edition. 

Fees for regulatory and all private criminal work are agreed by the Senior Clerk.

To view the privacy notice for Sarah Forshaw QC please click here.

Recent Cases

  • R v. EG [C.O.A.] 2019

    Multiple Allegations of BDSM Rape

    Sarah Forshaw QC successfully overturned the appellant’s convictions in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division in a case involving allegations of BDSM rape. The original trial attracted considerable media attention and involved multiple complainants. Instructed by Nigel Richardson of Hodge Jones Allen.

  • R v. Petrovic & ors [C.C.C.] 2019

    Murder of Essex Schoolgirl Jodie Chesney

    Sarah Forshaw QC represented the first of four defendants in the high profile Jodie Chesney murder trial. Following the highly publicised 8 week trial Miss Forshaw’s client was acquitted of both murder and manslaughter. Instructed by Sunita Mehta of ABV Solicitors.

    BBC News report here.

  • R v. O [Isleworth] 2019

    Allegations of Historic rape & sexual assaults

    Sarah Forshaw QC defended a member of the music industry accused of historic rape and sexual assault of two complainants. The defendant was unanimously acquitted on all counts following a 2 week trial. Instructed by Zahir Ahmed of Gentle Mathias Solicitors.

  • Operation Zajic [Southwark] 2019

    £Multi-Million Charity Fraud

    Sarah Forshaw QC acted in this Multi-million pound charity fraud. Our client, a Rabbi, was said to have facilitated the laundering of millions of pounds using Chabad UK Charities as a front for his illegal activities, the accounts it is alleged, were used to process the proceeds of sales of counterfeit, prescription or unlicensed medication sold online. The money was thereafter withdrawn through currency exchanges, payments to Money Service Bureaus, cheques, withdrawn in cash. 234 transfers totalling £8.4 million were sent to 51 different entities based overseas, predominantly in Hong Kong and Cyprus to remove the money from the UK. Instructed by ABV Solicitors.

  • G.M.C. v. Dr. V 2019

    Contested Fitness to Practise hearing before the MPTS

    Sarah Forshaw QC successfully represented this Doctor at his full hearing before the MPTS re: fitness to practise. Dr. V faced allegations of sexually motivated inappropriate behaviour against a patient. Following a three-week contested hearing, during which the patient and others gave live evidence, the tribunal found all the allegations of sexual motivation ‘not proved’. Instructed by Paul Morris of BCL Solicitors LLP.


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