Sarah Wood

Sarah is frequently instructed to advise on and appear in financial proceedings following a divorce or separation. She has a proven knowledge of complex trust arrangements, TOLATA claims and the impact of bankruptcy in relation to one of the parties to the proceedings.

Sarah has extensive experience of dealing with cases where there are contemporaneous family financial proceedings and criminal POCA claims. 

Sarah has recently lectured on the interplay between family financial proceedings and the bankruptcy of a party to those proceedings.

My approach

Sarah is well known for her approachable and user-friendly attitude.  She has a 'can-do' and problem-solving approach to cases that clients welcome and appreciate.  Her experience in the criminal courts ensures that she does not shy away from meticulous and detailed cross-examination as and when it is necessary in the best interests of the client.

My work

Sarah is an experienced and highly accomplished practitioner who specialises in criminal and family matters involving high-value assets and complex financial arrangements. In her criminal work, she is a well respected jury advocate known for her experience of prosecuting and defending lengthy, complex, high-value fraud and money laundering cases. She is renowned for her ability to master substantial and multifaceted issues.

Sarah has experience in all aspects of the financial proceedings that follow a divorce or separation; her knowledge and experience of international asset-tracing and complex offshore trust arrangements gained through her criminal work give her a distinct advantage in this area of work.

She is one of a handful of counsel at the Bar with experience of dealing with cases where there are contemporaneous proceedings in the criminal and family courts in relation to the same assets and is therefore able to advise clients and appear in all aspects of both sets of proceedings.  

What my clients say

Client Testimonial: Sarah Wood
My first dealings with Sarah were as a third party appointed barrister in the early stages of my divorce proceedings. Sarah handled that instruction with professionalism, dynamism, and consideration. Such was the impression Sarah left on me I made no hesitation in approaching her to represent me for the final, and incredibly complex, stages of my divorce.
Throughout our professional relationship, Sarah has made me feel like her number one priority. Sarah is contactable pretty much 24/7/365 and responded to any question/theory/thought (no matter how nonsensical) I had, at whatever hour of the day and on whatever day of the week, promptly and knowledgeably. Sarah’s work ethic and efficiency are unrivalled in my unfortunate but substantial experience of legal representation. In addition to her exemplary client/customer service, her wealth of experience, expertise and diligence was prevalent throughout. In a system where uncertainty prevails, Sarah’s personality and approach breed confidence and reduced my anxiety to manageable levels.
To summarise concisely, I genuinely would have absolutely no other legal representation in the future other than Sarah Wood.


"Dear Sarah

As promised, here is a little review for you. Every word from the heart.

I can never thank you enough for everything you’ve done for me. It’ll take a while to sink in properly, but I feel FREE! And I’m certainly very glad I’m still alive!

In great appreciation


Ex-Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll in relation to the case of ATHWAL

When I was approached to write a testimonial to the work of Ms Sarah Wood in securing the settlement for Mrs Sarbjit Athwal in relation to her former matrimonial home I thought it would be relatively easy. However once you start to retrace the journey, what Ms Wood achieved becomes quite remarkable.

Mrs Sarbjit Athwal was a main prosecution witness in a murder trial and as a result the police moved her away from her matrimonial home as they feared her life was in danger and she herself would become a murder victim.

Mrs Athwal had been living with a family that had effectively made decisions without her knowledge and permission but due to the threats and intimidation Mrs Athwal had suffered over many years had little or no knowledge of those decisions. Mrs Athwal’s husband had been a willing partner in the subterfuge and had hidden both funds and legal processes from Mrs Athwal for years.

Mrs Athwal’s Mother in Law, who had been convicted of the murder of Mrs Athwal’s Sister In Law, was registered on the deeds of the former matrimonial home as a joint owner with Hardave Athwal and Sarbjit Athwal.

Mr Hardave Athwal maintained he was the sole occupier of the house and unable to meet the mortgage payments due to illness although others stated he had was working. The house fell into disrepair and mortgage arrears.

Mrs Athwal was left to attend court appearances on her own after the legal firm she had engaged collapsed leaving insufficient paperwork. No paper trail and no opportunity for further legal aid.

In early 2014  Ms Sarah Wood came to the assistance of Mrs Athwal.  From that moment Mrs Athwal’s life changed. Acting without the assistance of a solicitor, inheriting papers that were both inadequate and poorly prepared, Ms Wood immediately stamped her professionalism on the case.  At the first court hearing Ms Wood addressed the court eloquently and forcefully and obtained further time to prepare the case. During the following months Ms Wood identified areas of investigation needed to present the case correctly and gave clear direction to both Mrs Athwal and the people identified to obtain the information required.

The final hearing took place over a total of 6 days.  Ms Wood’s presentation of the facts and cross examination revealed the extent of the dishonesty of the other parties. Ms Wood’s presentation to the court and dedication to the case allowed Mrs S Athwal to obtain a just and satisfactory settlement. It cannot be underestimated the professional skill and determination shown by Ms Wood. The result was remarkable and Ms Wood’s attitude and ability exemplary.

Mark Percival - Leicester

"I was fortunate enough to engage Sarah Wood as my direct access Barrister to defend me in a case concerning money laundering.

It was my first experience of going through the legal system as a defendant, and initially it was quite daunting; following a case conference with Sarah most of my concerns were dispelled. I found Sarah to be highly professional, but at the same time very approachable and really informative. Despite her being immersed in the legal system on a daily basis, she is still aware of how it may feel for a Client.

I have dealt with many Solicitors and some Barristers in the past with legal cases I have been involved with through business and some of them prove very difficult to contact directly, and may get back to you in due course after leaving messages. Sarah was very accessible, and responded promptly to enquiries; if she was tied up she would often email initially by way of acknowledgement and then telephone thereafter.

Throughout the case, which extended to around a month in Court, she was always punctual and arrived in plenty of time to talk to me prior to entering the Courtroom. When I had to make decisions to make she would clearly indicate the pros and cons of each side of the argument empowering me to make the right decision. As well as the professional side, she showed great understanding of my personal position throughout and showed a genuine concern for my welfare.

My case was a technical one, and involved two other parties and their respective legal teams, and the outcome of my case was dependent upon the outcome of the two other defendants. She interacted well with the other teams and ensured that my position was protected when it came to conflicts of interest. Whilst I am not a legal person she obviously conducted herself well in the Court environment, and was confident and reassuring in her delivery, and cross examination of witnesses. Her summing up to the Jury was outstanding, both informative and graphic; I felt she definitely ‘connected’ with them.

Whilst the outcome for me was always dependent upon factors outside of Sarah’s control, and a guilty verdict for the other defendants would invariably mean a guilty verdict for myself – I felt that she maximised my chances at every opportunity for a favourable outcome, include her support to the other legal teams. I was indeed found guilty, and depended upon Sarah to secure me a non-custodial sentence. The package she put together including character statements, medical reports and mitigating factors was impressive; this together with her delivery on the day did manage to persuade the Judge to suspend my sentence. The other parties received custodial.

Prior to sentencing, she prepared me for the worst and gave me so much advice on what to expect, the procedures and useful links to websites that gave comprehensive information. This included what would happen if I went to prison, what to pack and what to expect. I always found her approach to be realistic – yes, she hoped to get a suspended sentence, but she wouldn’t raise my hopes with unrealistic expectations. This type of preparation is essential as it galvanises your thoughts as to what to put in place for your family and any business matters.

To sum up, I would definitely use Sarah again and would recommend her wholeheartedly. A breath of fresh air in the legal system."

"As a litigant in person, I am so thankful I found Sarah. I can not praise her
enough for her exceptionally hard work, emotional support, generousity in
giving of her time and guidance and  doing all she could to manage my costs
for me. I could not have navigated the two years from the First Appointment to
the Final Hearing without her.
From our first meeting when Sarah took me through the history, I knew I was
in safe hands. Whilst managing me with genuine compassion, (during that
conference) she covered all the ground. I knew she understood me and my
case and had a plan!
Over the months, Sarah steered me and the process brilliantly. She kept me
motivated and on track, was responsive to any requests for help and advice,
direct and clear in her communications and got the best out of me.
Sarah always went the extra mile and often did work beyond her scope and
remit. There were a number of occasions but one that stands out is the
following… On the evening before exchange of statements I realised I had
made a mistake with something and a couple of paragraphs needed to be
amended and redrafted in my statement with the exhibits also needing to be
modified  as a consequence. It was not a problem for Sarah. She jumped on it
and we - Sarah had it sorted in a couple of hours. I cannot imagine anyone else
in her position, doing that and being so gracious about it. 
When we went into the final hearing, I was completely sanguine that nothing
had been missed or forgotten in the preparation. Sarah’s conduct of the
hearing from opening and cross-examination to closing submission was
meticulous. I should mention at this point that the assets in the ‘pot’ were
modest. Sarah fought hard for me regardless of this because she is passionate
about justice.
In short, Sarah is lovely… a phenomenally hard-working professional and a
wonderfully supportive person….really glad she was on my side!" - K Tember

"I had worked with a McKenzie friend and as litigant in person in financial remedy proceedings brought against me by my ex-wife. As the protracted process of over 3 years neared completion I decided to instruct a direct access barrister and was lucky enough, after interviewing others, to find Sarah. In our first video meeting it was obvious that Sarah had genuine warmth, humility and compassion – characteristics that were a breath of fresh air in the arena of family law, and particularly appreciated as I had been the recipient of some pretty unpleasant dialogue from the other side’s lawyer (who, oddly, became the epitome of charm and civility when communicating with Sarah)! Sarah holds a litigation certificate which was of particular value to me as a litigant in person as it meant she could liaise directly with the other side’s lawyer, otherwise I would have had to continue doing that (albeit with her assistance in the background). Sarah’s compassionate approach does not detract at all from her very obvious levels of competence, confidence and ability and I would have no doubt whatsoever that she would be a formidable opponent in any courtroom. Fortunately for me, our hearing was swapped out at the 11th hour for consideration by the judge of an agreed consent order. Sarah was available and responsive, reliable and reassuring throughout. I’m fairly resilient by nature but was beginning to feel vulnerable as a LIP as the hearing date approached – Sarah gave me confidence that any likely outcome would be OK. Her fees were fair and reasonable – I definitely had good value. I would wholeheartedly recommend Sarah."

Dave July 2021

"Sarah Wood is one of the best barristers in handling financial dispute resolution in divorce cases in London.
Sarah was amazing at connecting with me as a client and had a very collaborative approach for us to work smoothly and efficiently on the case. She leaned forward to litigate in addition to representing me in court at the Final hearing. Throughout I saw her diligence, doing what’s right and a fine balance of empathy combined with grit and firmness in court.
I admired her line of questioning to be a logical flow driving the key points in a succinct way, keeping it purely factual. She commanded her due respect in court with that approach!"

''I had a choice of a few barristers to choose from to represent me through Court proceedings but after reading Sarah Woods profile and reviews I felt she was the best suited Barrister for my case.
Sarah’s work was highly professional, she displayed great knowledge of the criminal legal system and put forward my case very well in Court.
Having no knowledge and a lack of understanding of the law and proceedings, Sarah made me feel at ease from the start and was helpful in explaining the process and steps which would be taken. Sarah was also transparent with her costs so I wouldn’t find myself stuck with a huge legal bill at the end.
Sarah was very supportive and her quick response to my emails and calls helped keep me calm throughout despite her busy schedule. Sarah truly went above and beyond what was required from her and I am very grateful.
I received good results, which may not have been the case if a different barrister was used. I would definitely recommend Sarah and wouldn’t hesitate to use her again if needed.
Thank you so much Sarah for being my rock throughout.''

Professional & academic


  • Criminal Bar Association.
  • Fraud Lawyers Association.
  • Female Fraud Forum.
  • Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association.
  • Previous Chair of Young Fraud Lawyers Association.
  • Family Law Bar Association.
  • Committee member of the Cybercrime Practitioners Association.