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Birketts LLP

22 STATION ROAD, CAMBRIDGE, CAMBRIDGESHIRE, CB1 2JD, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 01223 326600
Fax:
Fax 01223 326629
Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich, Norwich

Sara Sayer

Tel:
Work 01223 326763
Email:
Birketts LLP

Work Department

Education, Charities

Position

Senior Associate, Solicitor-Advocate, Head of Charities and Social Enterprise Team

Career

Sara is a Senior Associate, Litigator and Dispute Resolver and specialises in four areas:Charities (disputes and regulatory issues).

- Public law litigation (especially Judicial Review and Procurement Disputes).
- Charities (disputes and regulatory issues).
- Education dispute management (including student issues).
- General commercial litigation (especially Partnership disputes).

Sara, our Head of Public Law, advises on a wide range of litigation and regulatory matters for our corporate, commercial, and UK public sector clients, from handling and resolving complaints and disputes pre litigation, to advising and representing clients involved in litigation especially for or against public bodies in procurement disputes and Judicial Reviews across many sector areas including Tax and Planning. Sara also advises on a wide range of contentious general public law and regulatory issues.

Sara is also Co-Head of the firm-wide Charities and Social Enterprise Group and as such has an overview of the sector and its issues and attends national and regional conferences of bodies such as ACEVO and NCVO. Her particular specialism is in disputes and litigation especially in dealing with regulatory bodies including the Charity Commission and HMRC, regulatory and compliance issues, investigations and enforcements.

Sara has further specific expertise in the education sector which includes advising colleges, universities, independent schools and quangos on litigation and student issues such as complaints, discipline, appeals, safeguarding, fitness to practise and other internal hearings and advising on Office of the Independent Adjudicator complaints.

Member

Sara is a Director and Trustee of Cambridge Live the new non-profit distributing organisation governing, managing and operating Cambridge’s Corn Exchange, Guildhall and Folk Festival and other live arts and entertainment events in Cambridge. She is also Vice Chair of her Parish Council and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


East Anglia: Private client

Charities and not-for-profit

Within: Leading individuals

Sara Sayer - Birketts LLP

Within: Charities and not-for-profit

At Birketts LLP 'the overall level of service is excellent and the team is extremely knowledgeable, showing an in-depth understanding of the issues'. The firm acts for more than 400 charity clients, advising on charity law, ecclesiastical law, corporate matters including mergers, compliance, endowments, disputes, commercial property and retail, social enterprise structures, academy conversions, trustee powers and employment law. Senior associates Sara Sayer and Liz Brownsell lead the practice. Brownsell was a member of the Charity Law Association Working Party that consulted on the new Charity Governance Code. Sayer and legal director Erika Clarke have particular expertise in public procurement and state aid, advising on contentious and non-contentious matters arising from projects and collaborations. Commercial property partner Gavin Acheson advised Trust for London on the £11m acquisition, refurbishment and letting of premises in London, which was let to an independent creative media higher education college. Associate Amanda Timcke, who joined from Birkett Long LLP, is also recommended for property matters. Senior associate Kitty Rosser in the corporate and commercial team, who is a recognised expert in data protection and the GDPR, is 'particularly good and easy to work with, she gives clear explanations'. Also recommended are James Hall and Stuart Jones for ecclesiastical matters, and senior associate Clare Hedges for employment law.

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East Anglia: Public sector

Education

Within: Education

Birketts LLP provides 'excellent service including timely and tailored responses, sector knowledge, foresight in anticipating potential concerns and sensitivity to financial implications', according to one client in the education sector. The firm's multi-disciplinary practice works for clients from all parts of the education sector including pre-schools and nurseries, preparatory and independent schools, academies and academy trusts, and FE and HE colleges. The practice is led by employment partner Abigail Trencher but also includes experts in construction, planning, property, commercial law, litigation, student issues, charities and governance. Trencher recently acted for Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge. Consultant Tim Tyndall also handles employment law. Corporate and charities partner Erika Clarke counts College of West Anglia among her clients. Senior associate Sara Sayer is the key contact for disputes and student issues. Senior associate Liz Brownsell, who is co-head of the firm's charities and social enterprise group and who frequently advises on academy conversions, is 'exemplary in her thorough preparation and commitment to providing a professional service; she is personable and sensitive to the clients' requirements, and provides valuable advice'. Senior associate Dwight Patten is recommended for property transactions.

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Health

Within: Health

Birketts LLP is a member of the NHS Shared Business Services framework and the NHS Commercial Alliance legal framework. It has a strong track record in the health and social care sector, particularly for employment and property work. The key contacts are legal director Erika Clarke, who leads the public sector practice, and head of health Richard Eaton. Clarke handles major capital projects, outsourcings, business-critical contracts and public procurement issues. She recently acted for an NHS foundation trust in numerous matters including the interpretation of contract terms and public law duties associated with the funding of care packages. Eaton's area of expertise is public law and judicial reviews. He recently succeeded in quashing a CQC draft report for a care home provider. Commercial property partner Chris Barker has extensive experience in trust portfolio management, and Matthew Newnham handles employment law matters including tribunals for health sector clients. Also recommended are corporate finance partner Greg Allan, employment partner Jeanette Wheeler and head of charities Sara Sayer.

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South East: Private client

Charities and not-for-profit

Within: Charities and not-for-profit

Birketts LLP fields 'an extremely knowledgeable team with an in-depth understanding of the issues facing the charities sector'. Its clients consist of more than 400 charities and not-for-profit organisations, including The Stroke Association, for which the practice handles matters ranging from charity mergers and incorporations and fundraising regulatory compliance, to real estate and contentious legacy issues. The practice is headed by Sara Sayer, who has an extensive track record handling disputes and public law matters. She is ably supported by commercial property partner Gavin Acheson, and senior associate and immigration specialist Clare Hedges. Brownsell acts for Amnesty International on on a range of contracts with professional fundraisers and commercial participants. Other recent highlights include acting for Trust for London on the acquisition, refurbishment and letting of central London premises for letting to an independent higher education college; and assisting the Institute of Fundraising with a national bespoke training programme concerning the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation on charities.

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