Eleanor Sanderson

Year of Call: 2005  


Eleanor Sanderson’s practice focuses around complex and high profile trials in the fields of criminal, regulatory and disciplinary law.

Eleanor is regularly instructed by individuals and companies facing sensitive and difficult allegations, and often where the proceedings attract public or political interest. She also acts for professionals facing disciplinary proceedings before their regulatory bodies.

Eleanor has been featured in Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 directories since 2011, variously in the fields of Professional Discipline, Heath & Safety and Financial Crime.


Eleanor has acted in numerous confiscation hearings (both contested and resolved by negotiation) throughout the course of her criminal and fraud practice. She is a consultant editor for the Lloyds Law Reports on Financial Crime and commentates on the effect of recent Court of Appeal and Supreme Court decisions in this field.

Coroners Inquests

Eleanor has significant expertise in the field of Coronial Law having acted for a range of persons whose conduct has been called into question.

She is regularly instructed by defence unions for doctors when care provided is subsequently the subject of a Coroner’s inquiry, and where deaths have resulted from previously undiagnosed conditions. She is often instructed on behalf of companies and directors where an Inquest follows police and HSE investigations, and where it is anticipated that criminal charges may be brought after the inquest. Her experience in the fields of criminal, health and safety and professional disciplinary law provides her with particular insight as to the likely ramifications of inquest verdicts, and any proceedings that are likely to follow thereafter.

Recent experience includes acting for Southwark Borough Council in a three month “super inquest”, into the deaths, which occurred following a fire at a tower block in Peckham. That inquest, lasting over three months, incorporated a vast range of issues including emergency response to Major Incidents, regulatory compliance by local authorities, the implications of Article 2, and the complexities arising from the involvement of numerous properly interested parties.

Eleanor is currently instructed to represent the Home Office investigation team, Operation Resolve, who are re-investigating from scratch the Hillsborough Disaster, with a view to identifying if any criminal offences have been committed.


  • Re: 96 Deceased
    Inquest into the deaths arising from the Hillsborough Disaster. Instructed to represent the Home Office investigation team Operation Resolve.
  • Re: JC
    Appeared for consultant bariatric surgeon in inquest into death arising from post-operative complications.
  • Re: MA
    Appeared for local authority in inquest into death occurring subsequent to failure of hoist equipment at a care home.
  • Re: 6 Deceased
    Inquest into the deaths arising from a fire at Lakanal, a tower block in Peckham. Instructed by the Local Authority landlord, Southwark Borough Council.


Eleanor has acted for the defence in many serious and complex criminal trials since her call in 2005, prosecuted variously by SOCA, the SFO, the National Crime Agency and the CPS. They have included allegations of conspiracy to manufacture firearms, importation and supply of prohibited drugs, international counterfeiting conspiracy, multi-million pound fraud and money laundering, and allegations of perverting the course of justice on a grand scale. Eleanor has acted in cases where evidence of the alleged offences that span multiple jurisdictions and where mutual legal assistance has been sought from many different countries.


  • Operations Weeting, Sacha & Elveden: Led by Jim Sturman QC, Eleanor acted for a defendant alleged to have conspired with the News of the World’s former editor to pervert the course of justice through the concealment of computers from police searches. Over 6500 pages of surveillance and phone evidence formed the basis of a single allegation of perverting the course of justice.
  • Operation Troy: Eleanor acted for the first defendant alleged to be the mastermind of what investigators described as the largest counterfeiting and video piracy allegation ever uncovered in the UK. Evidence incorporated highly complex expert computing evidence as to the use of the conspirators’ computers and internet “fronts” used to redirect to illegal websites.


Eleanor has been defending in criminal trials since her call to the Bar in 2005, with allegations ranging from possession of an empty cannabis grinder to defrauding investors of over 150 million pounds. Her practice includes crimes concerning violence, firearms, drugs, theft, fraud, burglary, offensive weapons, driving, and perverting the course of justice.


Eleanor has wide experience of a range of fraud, money laundering and other dishonesty matters, including cash forfeiture and confiscation proceedings. Previous high profile cases include “Imperial Consolidated”, an alleged $250 million offshore Ponzi fraud in which the defendant was acquitted after two six month trials, and acting for the Liberal Democrat donor Michael Brown, alleged to have defrauded the former Manchester United Chairman of over $12.5 million. Previous instructions include from the Serious Fraud Office to review FBI/Grand Jury material where the UK trial was preceded by convictions in the US Federal Court.

In 2014 Eleanor acted in the trial of R v X for an Iranian former political prisoner alleged to have laundered the proceeds of crime though networks in Tehran and Dubai. Led by Dean Armstrong QC, the case incorporated expert evidence of “Hawala” systems by which large sums were transferred between jurisdictions. Unusually, expert evidence was called by the defence as to the risks to former political prisoners in Iran in the aftermath of the 1979 revolution, and the exile in Iraq of regime opponents for whose benefit the defendant averred the transfer of millions of pounds were made.

Eleanor has experience of insolvency law in both criminal and civil contexts, including acting for trustees in bankruptcy and third parties attempting to challenge the making of confiscation orders. In addition to her courtroom and advisory work in this area, Eleanor is a consultant editor of the Lloyds Law Reports on Financial Crime.


  • R v CP and others
    Acted for first defendant charged with money laundering of over £10,000,000 through Hawala banking networks in Iran and Dubai. Led by Dean Armstrong QC.
  • R v Umerji [2014] EWCA Crim 421
    Instructed on appeal for defendant convicted of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue of £30 million following a trial in absence. Conviction quashed. Led by William Clegg QC.
  • SFO v Brook
    Acted for first defendant in trial for conspiracy to defraud investors of over £150 million through fraudulent operation of offshore funds based in the Caribbean. Defendant acquitted after 6 and 9 month trials.
  • R v Brown
    Acted for former political party donor alleged to have defrauded high profile investors of over £10 million through a bond trading scheme.

Health & Safety

Eleanor has significant expertise in the full range of Health and Safety, Environment Agency, and other regulatory criminal proceedings. She has acted for both prosecution and defence in relation to allegations of gross negligence manslaughter and corporate manslaughter, and is frequently instructed on behalf of companies and directors in relation to alleged breaches of sections 2, 3 and relevant regulations. She is instructed to advise pre-charge, in challenges to prohibition and improvement notices, and to act at trial. She has acted for clients from a range of sectors including the leisure, residential, retail, agricultural, manufacturing, industrial, recycling, entertainment and nuclear industries. Manslaughter cases include defending a care home owner charged with manslaughter arising from a medication error, and the prosecution of the directors of a firework company whose storage premises exploded, killing two firemen.

Eleanor has similar expertise in the field of fire safety regulation and the Fire Safety Order, and acted in the three-month “super inquest” into the deaths of 6 people following a fire in a tower block in Peckham, in which she was instructed by the landlord, Southwark Borough Council (led by Richard Matthews QC). Her expert knowledge in this field incorporates issues relating to causation and spread of fire, emergency response, fire safety measures and fire resisting construction, manufacture and storage of explosives, and the polluting effects of fire. She both prosecutes and defends charges brought under the Fire Safety Order, and also advises in relation to issuance of, appeal against, and breach of, enforcement and prohibition notices. Her experience in this area includes claims for Judicial Review in relation to enforcement activity by Fire Authorities, and she has previously been instructed in proceedings in which a technical dispute was referred to the Secretary of State for determination.

Her regulatory criminal practice incorporates Environment Agency investigations and prosecutions, and she has lectured on enforcement powers and director’s liability with the 2 Bedford Row regulatory team.


  • R v PML
    Acted for company charged with corporate manslaughter and directors individually charged with associated health and safety offences following a death occurring in an industrial oven at their kayak manufacturing premises. Led by Jim Sturman QC and Richard Matthews QC.
  • HSE v EPL
    Appeared for bespoke home builder in prosecution for health and safety charges arising from a fatal accident on one of their building sites. Sole junior.
  • RBFRS v GF
    Appeared for store manager of national supermarket chain in relation to offences under the fire safety order arising from the locking of fire exits in store. Led by Richard Matthews QC.
  • RDC v JL
    Appeared for local supermarket chain charged with breaches of health and safety at work act arising from workplace transport management and a serious accident to a customer in their car park. Sole junior.
  • EA v Sellafield Limited [2014] EWCA Crim 49
    Appeared for company prosecuted by the Environment Agency following disposal of nuclear waste for their nuclear decommissioning operation contrary to the terms of the permit. Leading authority on the sentencing of very large companies. Led by Richard Matthews QC.
  • R v Winter and Winter
    Appeared as junior for the prosecution of two directors for gross negligence manslaughter, following a fire and explosion at their firework manufacturing premises that killed two attending firefighters.


Eleanor has developed a particular interest in the international aspects of criminal law and has acted in cases where investigations have spanned multiple jurisdictions, evidence has been obtained via Mutual Legal Assistance, and when defendants have appeared before the courts following extradition to the UK. She has advised Pro Bono on appeals from the Jamaican Courts to the Privy Council, and in 2012 spent 4 weeks in Windhoek, Namibia acting as an Independent Trial Observer on behalf of Lawyers Without Borders at the Caprivi Treason Trial” in which 110 defendants were charged with murder and treason in relation to violent rebel coup in the Caprivi Strip. In 2012 she was invited to attend a 5 day conference in Strasbourg held by Fair Trials International on the subject of extradition and cross-border crime.

Professional Discipline

Eleanor has a wealth of experience in the field of professional disciplinary law and regularly appears before a range of tribunals including the General Dental Council, General Optical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council and the First Tier Tribunal, in relation to preliminary proceedings such as interim orders hearing through to full contested hearings. Her practice has incorporated a wide range of allegations in both clinical and conviction cases, and includes where deaths are alleged to have resulted from deficient care. She also appears for medical professionals in inquest proceedings and is regularly instructed by medical defence unions in cases where doctors’ conduct is called into question. Her in-quest experience covers a wide range of disciplines and extends to inquiries into undiagnosed cancers, medication errors and complex surgical procedures.

In addition to her advocacy in this field, she has previously acted as preparation junior in relation to proceedings before the GMC in which a doctor acquitted of rape in a criminal court faced further disciplinary proceedings for the same allegations. Following lengthy legal argument the GMC stayed the proceedings as an abuse of the process.

More diverse disciplinary experience includes appeals against the revocation of Security Industry Association and proceedings before the Traffic Commissioner in relation to Vehicle Operator licences.


  • OC v JT
    Appeared for optometrist facing misconduct charges arising from a failure to diagnose retinoblastoma in a child, which condition resulted in the loss of an eye. No finding of impairment made.
  • GDC v JB
    Appeared for GDC prosecuting a dentist for charges arising from a failure to diagnose an oral cancer which subsequently resulted in death
  • NMC v X
    Appeared for NMC prosecuting nurse for failure to undertake appropriate risk assessments on a psychiatric ward in relation to a patient who subsequently committed suicide.

Directory Quotes

“She has a superb brain. She has a presence in court that is well above her years.” Chambers & Partners 2016

“She’s very bright, engaging and professional.” Chambers & Partners 2016

“Determined and strong when articulating a legal argument.” Legal 500 2016

“She is very thorough in her approach. She listens to her client and has very good knowledge.” Chambers & Partners 2015

“I am really impressed with her advocacy and how she gets results.” Chambers & Partners 2015

“Wise beyond her years.” Legal 500 2015


Consultant editor, Lloyds Law Reports on Financial Crime.