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Chambers of Steven Kay QC

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Sarah Bafadhel

Work 020 7489 2727
9 Bedford Row (Chambers of Steven Kay QC)


Sarah has been a part of the international practice group at 9 Bedford Row since February 2011 and following successful completion of pupillage, was invited to join the team as a tenant in 2012. She has a wide variety of experience in both international and domestic law. She focuses on international criminal law and public international law, specialising in cases which require litigation across a variety of national and international jurisdictions. She has worked on cases in Bangladesh, Syria, Bahrain, Cuba, and at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague. She is also fluent in Arabic and often works on cases which require case investigation in Arabic and drafting in English. International law: Sarah has done a variety of international cases. Recent and ongoing cases include: Special Tribunal for Lebanon: Sarah has recently been instructed as Associate Legal Officer to assist the Defence team representing Assad Sabra in Prosecutor v Ayyash et al. The STL is a hybrid international court primarily mandated to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the attack of 14 February 2005 in Beirut which killed the former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 23 other individuals; International Crimes Tribunal, Dhaka, Bangladesh: Sarah is currently assisting local counsel representing eight accused produced before the recently established International Crimes Tribunal in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her responsibilities include, inter alia, the drafting of the majority of motions filed by the defence teams, including the defence final briefs and appeal briefs; handling and analysis of evidence; trial strategy; advocacy training and compiling intensive memoranda on various topics in international criminal law, including the historical applicability of definition of crimes against humanity within the 1970’s; Syrian Emergency Task Force: Sarah has been involved as junior counsel in this case and taken responsibility for, inter alia, drafting the US civil actions under the Alien Tort Claims Act against named individuals in the Syrian regime before the United States District Court’s; taking witness statements in Arabic from Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon; gathering documentary evidence; drafting urgent appeals to the relevant U.N Working Groups and Special Rapporteurs as well as drafting a number of press statements and op-eds on behalf of the clients. Advisory work: British Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Sarah has also served as an advisor for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a Human Rights Consultant. This involved: (i) conducting witness statements in Arabic in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, (ii) drafting of affidavits, (iii) forensic investigation along border between Lebanon and Syria, (iv) liaising with local humanitarian groups and establishing comprehensive referral system, (v) consulting and advising FCO on potential frameworks for documentation of evidence and legal standards to be observed in this regard. Maritime Asset Security and Training: Sarah has also devilled for other members of Chambers and instructed to advise Maritime Asset Security and Training on piracy law, laws of self-defence at international level and potential legal actions in the event of engaging with pirates. Bahrain Rehabilitation and Anti-Violence Organisation (BRAVO): Sarah is currently assisting the Bahraini coalition opposing the current regime in Bahrain and advising on potential fora for criminal and civil actions as well as providing advice on transitional mechanisms concerning justice and accountability. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK): Sarah is also working with Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK in relation to the current discrimination and persecution suffered by Rohingya’s in Myanmar. She consults on potential legal actions available to the cause. Cuban Democratic Directorate: Sarah has also consulted Cuban Democratic Directorate on potential Alien Tort actions and cases before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in relation to individuals currently being politically persecuted. These cases have required an understanding of the situation of victims of political violence and the ability to find a receptive international audience. Yemen Human Rights Council: Sarah is currently assisting in the investigations of alleged severe human rights violations in Yemen. Global Justice Center: Sarah is currently working with Global Justice Center and their efforts to alter US and UK policy on the availability of abortions to victims of rape in an armed conflict. Domestic law: Sarah has been instructed before national criminal courts and has experience in defending in a range of criminal matters including, inter alia, sexual offences, dishonesty cases, confiscation proceedings and driving offence. She also advises in judicial review proceedings before the High Court of Justice, Queens Division concerning: prison law (R (Hodgson) v Secretary of State for Justice & HMP Ryehill and R (Bristow) v Secretary of State for Justice; civil appeal matters (Khan v Malik) and pharmaceutical legislation (Re Chemistree Homecare Ltd & Blackbay Ventures Ltd). Sarah has also assisted in advising in extradition proceedings concerning European states, Kenya and Bangladesh as well as advising parties on the recognition of foreign judgments (Kadic et al v. Radovan Karadzic). She further advises on immigration cases in particular with regards to asylums facing persecution in their own country, most recently this has involved Syrian asylums. Public speaking and publications of note: Sarah has attended as a guest speaker at several conferences this year, most notably: ‘Syria Strategy Meeting’ (Berlin); ‘European Standards in the Fight against Corruption and Organised Crime: Confiscation of Proceeds of Crime’ (Podgorica, Montenegro) and ‘Prosecutor v Kenyatta’ (London). She is published in the Criminal Bar Quarterly (‘Courting Controversy’ Criminal Bar Quarterly, Issue 3 Autumn 2011, Criminal Bar Association) and is a member of Criminal Bar Association, Advocats Sans Frontier and International Bar Association. She was a finalist in the Lawson Moot, Inner Temple (2009) and semi-finalist in the Camm Cup Moot, University of Birmingham (2005). She was awarded the Hallett & Co Law Prize in 2004. She was won the Pfizer Prize in 2002 and Astra Foundation Prize in 2001.


Called 2009. Before joining 9 Bedford Row, Sarah worked in Trial Chamber III at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in Prosecutor v. Stanisic and Zupljanin. She has undertaken death penalty work in the State of California as well as interning at Aegius Trust, a London-based NGO, campaigning against crimes against humanity and genocide both at national and international level. Prior to that she has volunteered as a Personal Support Unit volunteer assisting litigants in person in proceedings before the Royal Courts of Justice as well as advising clients as part of the Liberty Law Clinic.


She is fluent in Arabic and conversational German.


She holds a LLB (Hons) from University of Birmingham as well as a LLM in Public International Law from Kings College, University of London whereby she specialised in: (i) Laws of Treaties, interpreting and drafting, (ii) Laws of United Nations, (iii) Laws of International Use of Force and Armed Conflicts, (iv) Foreign Relation and Diplomatic Laws.

London Bar

International crime and extradition

Within: International crime and extradition - Leading juniors

Sarah Bafadhel - 9 Bedford RowHer reputation proceeds her: she is a creative advocate on her feet and on the papers.

Within: International crime and extradition

9 Bedford Row includes a number of members who handle international criminal law work, including representation before hybrid and international courts. Sarah Bafadhel is representing Assad Hassan Sabra, who is being tried in absentia by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon for alleged involvement in the 2005 assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

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