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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
Health Care Regulatory:
Eleanor has wide ranging experience in the field of healthcare regulatory law, incorporating the following areas:
Eleanor’s expertise extends to a wide range of medical and medico-legal issues. She has acted for healthcare professionals in cases where deaths have arisen from a variety of causes including post-surgical complications, undiagnosed cancers, respiratory failure and medication errors, and in many cases where difficult clinical decisions have been required, such as in relation to the commencement of end of life care, risk assessment of patients on psychiatric wards, and whether or not to intubate. She is familiar with the many challenges facings healthcare and social care providers and has defended in prosecutions focusing on a wide range of issues including matters as diverse as occupational health policy, infection control and use of single-use items, legionella prevention, screening of staff for blood-borne viruses, falls risk assessment in dementia units, staff training in respect of mobility aids, risk assessment of smoking in social care settings, and managing means of escape in case of fire. Her inquest practice has provided her with extensive experience of pathology evidence including where multiple experts have given evidence and cause of death has remained in dispute.
For further information please see Eleanor’s website entries in respect of health and safety, professional discipline, and inquests, or contact the clerks