Sarah Magill

Call To The Bar: 2016

Sarah Magill specialises in organised crime, business crime, regulatory, professional discipline and inquests. She defends and prosecutes complicated, technical matters. She is regularly instructed in evidentially dense, multiple defendant cases, including cases of homicide and fatalities.  Sarah is first-choice counsel for firearms, military-linked cases and cases involving the prison estate.  She has extensive experience in the presentation and cross-examination of specialist professional witnesses and vulnerable witnesses.

Sarah is an experienced Courts Martial advocate and accepts instructions from service personnel subject to service discipline seeking legal representation both directly and via solicitors.  She is the co-author of Forces Legal Resources, a body of articles kept online to assist members of HM Forces navigating the Service Justice System.

Sarah works at a level in excess of her year of call, having been called to the Bar in 2016 as an established criminal solicitor advocate.  Prior to qualification, she had accrued eleven years of litigation experience in regulatory and criminal firms and had conduct of regulatory, fraud and homicide cases of significant complexity.  She was a qualified duty solicitor and a regular in the youth courts, and knows exactly what her instructing Solicitors need and want.  Now routinely instructed in cases involving fatalities and evidentially dense, lengthy trials for both the prosecution and defence, Sarah enjoys repeated instructions in an enviable body of work.

She is just as adept at advising high-net-worth clients and corporations as she is very young children or those with complex mental health diagnoses.  Described as “knowledgeable, warm but assertive when needed” with clients and “articulate and fearless” in court.  She impresses “with her command of detail and with her obviously high level of skill at deciding the really important points to go at. She is also clearly someone who knows what is right and is prepared to stand her ground.”

Sarah is on the specialist regulatory panel which enables her to prosecute on behalf of regulators including the Health and Safety Executive, the Coal Board and the Environment Agency.  She is on the serious organised crime and fraud panels and was appointed to the level 3 CPS general criminal panel in 2018.

Other Work

After the failed withdrawal from Afghanistan left many people in great danger, in September 2021 Sarah created Taliban-regime-target evacuation and resettlement charity ‘Free From Fear’ with a small group of like-minded friends and colleagues. Free From Fear is run by three British lawyers pro bono and they have helped more than 3000 people to move and resettle.

Sarah is the author of military legal guide Forces Legal Resources with Matthew Bolt.

Cases of Interest


Sarah is presently instructed in various large operations involving alleged organised criminal groups involving firearms. She is entrusted to both prosecute and defend alone or with a leader.

Operation Valetta – Burnley Crown Court; junior alone, prosecuting series of exposure attacks involving a predatory male targeting female care home staff at night over nine months. Convicted on all counts.

Operation Adelite – Manchester Crown Court; Defence junior led by Tim Storrie KC in ten-handed conspiracy to murder trial involving drill lyrics. Adduced voluminous defence evidence including music. Relied upon expert in drill. Client acquitted of murder.

Operations Quebec and Quebec 2 – Preston Crown Court; junior alone in the prosecution of multi-handed Operation Quebec and then led junior in the larger more expansive Operation Quebec 2. The prosecutions involved conspiracy to supply class A from Liverpool to Blackpool and elsewhere. All defendants in Operation Quebec were convicted and out of 28 defendants in Operation Quebec 2, 25 were convicted.

Manchester Arena bombing; Operation Mantaline – Manchester Crown Court, led junior for the Crown.  Prosecuted five terror suspects including one in absence for conspiracy to supply class A, offences discovered during the investigation of the arena bombing during the Ariana Grande concert. Later reported within the Inquiry proceedings.

Operation Marley – Preston Crown Court; junior alone, defendant prosecuted for possession of multiple firearms and relevant ammunition with intent to endanger life. Not guilty verdicts recorded and defendant convicted of lesser offence whereby liberty was retained.

Operation Firestorm – Preston Crown Court; assisting an offender [murder]. Junior alone, defendant prosecuted for assisting two defendants charged with murder.

R v J – Manchester Crown Court at Minshull Street – rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and ABH. Marital allegations against spouse. Acquitted of rape and s.47 ABH, hung jury on coercive and controlling behaviour; no retrial.

R v Hamilton [2016] EWCA Crim 78; Conveying articles into prison (cocaine) – this case is the authority for how to sentence conveyance of drugs into prison. Successfully reduced Ms Hamilton’s sentence by half.

Regulatory and Business Crime

Sarah is presently instructed to prosecute and defend high-profile specialist technical cases.

Animal Protection Society v M. et al – Preston Crown Court; instructed to defend consumer trading offences in respect of one of 4 defendants prosecuted by the Animal Protection Society who instructed Parry and Welch Solicitors (no longer trading).  Advanced complex and detailed legal argument in four tranches that had the effect of terminating the prosecution.  The prosecution were robustly criticised and the case received widespread media attention.

R v C – insolvency; director acting when disqualified – Manchester Crown Court; instructed to defend one of two directors alleged to have been acting when disqualified.

Courts Martial

R v Cpl A – Catterick; allegation of sexual assault inside residence block

R v Sgt C – Catterick; defended serviceman soldier charged with s.20 GBH on a subordinate

R v C – Catterick, defended serviceman charged with two counts of attempted s.18 GBH with a knife

Forces Legal Resources can be found at


Inquest touching on the death of a prisoner; Stafford, represented the family in a death in custody case where the cause of death was the consumption of novel psychoactive substances (‘spice’).

Inquest touching on the death of a young man by homicide [ongoing].

Inquest touching on the death of a motorcyclist [ongoing].