Sarah Cornish

Sarah Cornish

Call 2002 Grays Inn

Member of Midland Circuit
Member of Criminal Bar Association
Member of Family Law Bar Association
Specialist interest in Youth Court work – Subscriber to Youth Justice Legal Centre and Just for Kids Law


‘A Class act’  – Vulnerable defendant in case of domestic violence

‘Sarah was fantastic. If you could please pass on my thanks to her again’ Professional client in a neighbourhood dispute

‘Thank you so much. It’s such a relief that it’s all over’ Case dismissed as a result of legal representations to CPS.

‘The best Barrister in Leicester’ Defendant in firearms matter.

Practice Profile

An experienced and compassionate advocate with a reputation for robust cross examination, Sarah Cornish was called to the Bar at Grays Inn in 2002.

Her practice to date has been as a specialist criminal trial advocate appearing predominantly in the Crown Court in the East Midlands but also across England and Wales.   She is instructed in both legally aided and private fee cases in the Youth, Magistrates and Crown Court.  Her case load involves multi-handed drugs conspiracies, violent disorders, domestic violence and the most serious sexual and violent cases.

Her advocacy expertise developed in the criminal court covers many of the issues commonly found in cases in the family court:  non-accidental injury, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, emotional harm and neglect in contested hearings.

Sarah has considerable experience in dealing with vulnerable witnesses by dint of their age, developmental or mental health issues or those dependant on drugs and/or alcohol.

Having spent 10 years as an inhouse solicitor advocate, Sarah adopts a client centred approach ensuring those involved in what can be a very daunting experience in the justice system are kept informed and supported throughout the process.  She is approachable and takes time to explain the law in an easy – to – understand manner.

Sarah prepares thoroughly, recognising the devil is in the detail and delivers her advocacy in a concise and persuasive way to obtain the best outcome.  In addition, she enjoys complex legal argument which can result in cases resolving without the need for a contested hearing.

Sarah accepts instruction in public and private law children, domestic abuse and financial remedies.  She is qualified under the direct access scheme to accept instruction directly from members of the public.

Notable Criminal cases

Rape – R v Sekesso Leicester Crown Court 2019

Young adult, rape of family friend, consent

21 year old defendant accused of raping his 25 year old female cousin. D had no previous convictions. CPS to call video-link recent complaint evidence from abroad. It was alleged after a night of heavy drinking, D had had sexual intercourse with C, the heavily intoxicated family friend who had woken up to D having intercourse with her without her consent.  The jury were unable to reach a verdict and CPS offered no evidence.

Youth Rape  – R v JL Leicester Youth Court – 2018

15 year old D, rape of sister 8 years old, vulnerable witnesses and defendants, Abe evidence, Ground Rules Hearing. Intermediary

D was accused of raping his 8 years old sister. Step-father acting as appropriate adult required sensitive handling, intermediary for complainant. Legal argument as to reliability of 8 year old C’s ABE evidence given apparent inconsistencies.  D acquitted of Rape. Child witnesses

Youth Rape R v CDJ Leicester Youth Court 2018

15 years old D, D’s Autism, Intermediary for D, Disclosure Arguments

D accused of anal rape of 14 years old best friend. Repeated legal argument as to disclosure of D’s mobile phone evidence and all medical evidence. Perseverance involving 3 hearings ref disclosure issues led to court ordering CPS to serve evidence resulting in service of original medical evidence raising doubt as to penetration having taken place. D was acquitted of Rape.


R v ChuanFang Zheng Leicester Crown Court 2016

Baby shaking, Causation,medical experts, interpreters

D was accused of shaking her new-born baby resulting in the infant being hospitalised in intensive care for 3 days before death. 5 medical experts were identified and. Instructed by Ms Cornish as junior with Leading counsel cross examining the crown’s experts.  D was vulnerable due to the sensitive circumstances of the case and her inability to speak fluent English.