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 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.
Eleanor has significant expertise in the field of Coronial Law having 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.
In 2015-2016 Eleanor acted for the Home Office investigation team, Operation Resolve, at the inquests into the 96 deaths arising from the Hillsborough Stadium disaster. This sensitive and complex inquest considered evidence generated over 28 years in relation to stadium safety, police conduct and emergency response, also highly detailed expert medical evidence concerning the treatment of each of the deceased. In 2013 she 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 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.
She is also 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, also by care homes following investigations into sudden or unexplained deaths.
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.
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.
She is currently instructed as junior for a Deutsche Bank trader charged with conspiring with others to manipulate the Euro Interbank Offer Rate (EURIBOR) in a prosecution brought by the Serious Fraud Office.
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.
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 is a consultant editor of the Lloyds Law Reports on Financial Crime.
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 of he Health and Safety at Work Act 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 company charged with the operation of an industrial moulding oven which resulted in death, a care home owner charged in relation to a fatal 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.
She recently acted for the global online retail company Amazon in proceedings brought by the Civil Aviation Authority for contraventions of Dangerous Goods regulations. 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.
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.
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.