Eleanor Sanderson

Year of Call: 2005  


Overview


Eleanor Sanderson’s practice focuses around complex and high profile proceedings 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 Health & Safety,Financial Crime and Professional Discipline.

Confiscation


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.

Inquests


Eleanor has extensive inquest experience and has acted for a range of individuals, companies, public authorities and investigating authorities in inquests lasting from a single day, to a number of years. She has considerable experience of Article 2 inquests. She also acts in Public Inquiries where issues of causation of death arise, and is currently instructed for a Core Participant in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

In 2015-2016 Eleanor was instructed by the Home Office investigation team, Operation Resolve, at the fresh inquests into the 96 deaths arising from the Hillsborough Stadium disaster. These sensitive and complex proceedings considered evidence generated over 28 years in relation to stadium safety, police conduct and emergency response, and highly detailed expert medical evidence concerning the treatment of each of the deceased.

She previously acted for Southwark Borough Council in the three month “super inquest” into six deaths arising from a fire at the Lakanal tower block in Peckham. Issues considered by the jury included emergency response, fire safety regulation and compliance with the Building Regulations.

She frequently appears on behalf of doctors, healthcare companies, and care home providers when care provided subsequently falls within the scope of a Coroner’s inquiry, including when deaths have resulted from previously undiagnosed conditions or have occurred following an accident within a care setting.

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 potential ramifications of inquest verdicts, and any proceedings that are likely to follow thereafter.

Cases:

  • Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase OneInstructed by manufacturer of fridge-freezer recovered from the fire flat. Led by Richard Matthews QC.
  • Re: CS
    Instructed by the care home at an inquest into the death of a resident who died from burns sustained whilst smoking a cigarette
  • Re: 96 Deceased
    Instructed to represent the Home Office investigation team Operation Resolve at the inquest into the deaths arising from the Hillsborough Disaster
  • Re: JC
    Instructed to act for a consultant bariatric surgeon in an inquest into death of one of his patients arising from post-operative complications.
  • Re: MA
    instructed by the local authority in an 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.

Crime


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.

Cases

  • 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.

Defence


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.

Fraud


Eleanor has wide experience of a range of fraud, money laundering and other dishonesty matters, including cash forfeiture and confiscation proceedings.

In 2018 she acted for Deutsche bank trader AK, the sole defendant acquitted of conspiring to rig the Euro Interbank Offer Rate (EURIBOR) between 2005-2009 at the conclusion of a three month trial, prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office. Other 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  a Liberal Democrat donor, who was 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.

She recently acted for an Iranian former political prisoner alleged to have laundered the proceeds of crime through Hawala banking networks in Tehran and Dubai. 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 was a consultant editor of the Lloyds Law Reports on Financial Crime between 2012-2018.

Cases:

  • R v AK and others
    Acted for Deutsche Bank trader charged with conspiring with others to rig the Euro Interbank Offer Rate (EURIBOR) between 2005-2009. Acquitted after three month trial.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • SFO v JB
    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 B
    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 specialises in regulatory criminal proceedings and defending the most serious prosecutions brought under health and safety, fire safety, and environmental law.

She acts on behalf of companies and directors in relation to allegations of gross negligence and corporate manslaughter and fatal breaches of sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. Her clients extend from family run businesses to publicly listed global companies, operating within a range of sectors including the leisure, residential, retail, construction, manufacturing, agricultural, real estate, hospitality, healthcare, transport, recycling, entertainment, tech, and nuclear industries. In addition to representation at trial, Eleanor also advises pre-charge and in challenges to prohibition and improvement notices.

Eleanor has similar expertise in the field of fire safety regulation and prosecutions under the Fire Safety Order, and frequently acts in technical cases concerning matters such as causation and spread of fire, building construction and Approved Document B, manufacture and storage of explosives, emergency response, and the polluting effects of fire. Her experience in this area includes claims for Judicial Review in relation to enforcement activity by Fire Authorities, and referral of a technical dispute to the Secretary of State for determination.

She acts in prosecutions brought by the Environment Agency and local authorities including in relation to breaches of Environmental Permits, and for landowners issued with notices to clear controlled waste. She recently acted for one of five water company employees charged together with their employer, with obstruction of Environment Agency officers at visits to Waste Water Treatment Works.

Further regulatory criminal experience includes acting for the global online retailer Amazon in proceedings brought by the Civil Aviation Authority for contraventions of Dangerous Goods regulations.

Eleanor has lectured on directors’ liability and regulators’ powers of enforcement together with the 2 Bedford Row regulatory team.

Cases:

  • Wolverhampton CC v C&WDTL Ltd
    Acted for global commercial real estate company prosecuted for section 3 offence arising from a fatality during Storm Doris. Roof structures became detached from a shopping centre managed by the company, causing the death of a young woman in the street below.
  • CQC v BCH(CFH) Ltd
    Acted for residential care provider in relation to charges prosecuted by the CQC under the Health and Social Care Act Regulations for the causation of avoidable harm to two elderly residents.
  • Westminster CC v Hyatt and CGT Ltd
    Acted for owner of central London 5-star hotel prosecuted for section 3 HSWA and Gas Regulations offences, following a gas explosion at the hotel which caused serious injuries. Led by Richard Matthews QC.
  • Millmore and others v Environment Agency [2019] WLR(D) 128
    Case stated appeal arising from the prosecution of five water company employees for obstruction of Environment Agency Officers in relation to an investigation into water pollution.
  • LFEPA v Southwark Borough Council; R (ex parte Southwark Borough Council) v LFEPA [2016] EWHC 1701 (Admin)
    Acted for local authority charged with breach of the Fire Safety Order in relation to the absence of a fire risk assessment and refurbishment works carried out at Lakanal tower block in Peckham.
  • CAA v A (UK) SL Ltd
    Acted for global internet retailer charged with breach of dangerous goods regulations in relation to the transport by air of lithium batteries.
  • R v PM Ltd
    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.
  • HSE v EP Ltd
    Acted for bespoke home builder in prosecution for health and safety charges arising from a fatal accident on one of their building sites.
  • RBFRS v GF
    Acted 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.
  • Rother DC v J Ltd
    Acted 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
    Acted 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 pre-guideline authority on the sentencing of very large companies.
  • R v Winter and Winter
    Appeared as junior for the prosecution of two firework company directors for gross negligence manslaughter, following a fire and explosion at their manufacturing premises that killed two attending firefighters.

International


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 appears before a wide range of regulatory bodies acting for both professionals and regulators. Her practice includes those most serious cases where death is alleged to have resulted from negligence or misconduct, in such cases she is also able to act at inquest and in any subsequent criminal proceedings that may arise. She frequently acts in cases where practitioners face suspension or erasure from their register.

Eleanor is skilled at mastering the detail of professional standards and guidance across a vast array of disciplines and is highly experienced in calling and challenging expert evidence. In the medical field, she has acted in cases concerning a wide range of specialisms with subject matters including undiagnosed cancers, medication errors, emergency medicine, and complex surgical procedures. Her practice in the field of health and safety has required detailed understanding of professional standards within the construction, aviation, manufacturing, hospitality, residential, transport, recycling, retail, tech and nuclear industries.

Eleanor regularly appears before a range of tribunals including the General Dental Council, General Optical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council, PLDPs and the First Tier Tribunal. More diverse regulatory experience includes appearances before the Security Industry Association licensing appeals panel, the UK Council for Psychotherapy and before the Traffic Commissioner in relation to Vehicle Operator licences.

Cases:

  • 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


  • “Incredibly intelligent and able to get to the crux of the case extremely quickly. She is excellent with clients…” – Chambers and Partners 2020
  • “A very responsive and hands-on barrister” Legal 500 2020
  • “An excellent, robust advocate who performs at a level beyond her year of call.” Chambers and Partners 2019
  • “A rising star who is extremely bright.” – Legal 500 2019
  • “An outstanding regulatory lawyer who has a superb brain and is very bright and engaging.” Chambers and Partners 2018
  • “Impressive and excellent overall.” Legal 500 2018
  • “She’s very smart and quick on the uptake.” Chambers & Partners 2017
  • “Intellectually outstanding, meticulous, persuasive and great on her feet.” Legal 500 2017
  • “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

Publications


  • Consultant editor, Lloyds Law Reports on Financial Crime, 2012-2018