Sara Anning

Called 1994

She is a phenomenal advocate and extremely diligent.

Chambers & Partners 2022


Sara is the head of the family team at Parklane Plowden Chambers and has been a practitioner in family law since 1995.

Sara is a specialist family practitioner encompassing both private and public law proceedings with extensive experience acquired in over 20 years of practice.  Sara is regularly instructed in complex public and private law cases with particular expertise in complicated public law matters, including serious physical abuse, child death, fabricated illness, and sexual abuse.  Sara is very experienced in dealing with cases featuring complex medical evidence from a range of medical disciplines.  Sara represents local authorities, parents, young people who are competent to instruct their own legal representatives and Children’s Guardians.

Sara is regularly instructed in complex private law matters on behalf of parents and children through rule 16.4 Guardians. She has particular experience in cases where serious allegations are made and allegations of parental alienation.

Sara has undertaken the FLBA Vulnerable Witness Advocacy training enhancing her advocacy skills for cases involving vulnerable witnesses.  The FLBA has approved Sara to provide VW training courses for other FLBA members.

Sara is experienced at working with and without intermediaries representing clients with cognitive and literacy challenges or other vulnerabilities.  She knows how to ensure vulnerable parties can participate in proceedings to the best of their abilities.

Sara regularly delivers lectures to other practitioners on current legal developments in family law. Sara also delivers seminars for local-authority social-services professionals and solicitors on case preparation and court skills


Chambers and Partners 2021 

She is just excellent – very easy to speak to and brilliant with the client.” “She has a thorough grasp of complicated legal issues, a calm, measured approach and the ability to present written submissions clearly and coherently.” “She is robust, focused and forthright with clear and precise advocacy skills.”



In 2019 Sara was appointed as Recorder sitting family law on the North Eastern Circuit

In 2018 Sara was appointed as First Tier Tribunal Judge sitting in the Mental Health Tribunal



Relinquished babies: decisions and long-term impact Family Law[2020Fam Law 875 JULY 2020


Areas of Expertise


Legal 500 2022 2022 Tier 1 - Child Law (Public & Private) "She has an exceptional eye for detail. An excellent advocate, she is fair and measured."

Chambers & Partners 2022 (Band 2) Family - Children - "She has excellent knowledge in her field with very strong advocacy and interpersonal skills. Clients like her and trust her advice, and she is always a pleasure to work with." "She is a phenomenal advocate and extremely diligent." "Sara is a brilliant advocate. She is so efficient, reliable and, above all, has the most wonderful client care."

Chambers and Partners 2021 (Band 3)

She is just excellent - very easy to speak to and brilliant with the client." "She has a thorough grasp of complicated legal issues, a calm, measured approach and the ability to present written submissions clearly and coherently." "She is robust, focused and forthright with clear and precise advocacy skills."

Legal 500 2021 -(Tier 1) -

Sara's impressive intellect and fine attention to detail make her my overall preferred Counsel. She approaches her advocacy and advice with an ability to factor in all evolving aspects of the matter fluidly. She offers welcome practical advice outside of her specific brief and never shirks from any task, however small, that will assist in advancing the position of her lay client.

Legal 500 2020 -(Tier 1) -

‘ Proactive, approachable and attentive. ’ 

Chambers and Partners 2020 (Band 3)

"Her work is of a consistently high level." "She is approachable, highly contactable and has a sympathetic and friendly approach to client care."

Chambers & Partners 2019 (Band 3)

"Her client care goes above and beyond."

Sara is an active member of the Yorkshire FLBA and Lawyers for Children.


P (Circumcision: Child in Care) [2021] EWHC 1616 (Fam) (14 June 2021) Sara represented the child before Cobb J opposing the application of the parents for the child to be circumcised.  Cobb J found that the decision to circumcise the child should be deferred until he is able to make his own choice. Reported in Family Law Journal.

F, Re (Assessment of Birth Family) [2021] EWFC 31 (12 April 2021) Sara represented the mother arguing that there is no obligation on the Local Authority to assess members of the 'original family' (i.e., the biological/birth family) of the mother of the subject infant child, where the mother herself was adopted as a child and raised by adoptive parents.  Mr Justice Cobb found there was no obligation and the biological family should not be approached for assessment. Reported in Local Government Lawyer.

Y And Z (Children) (Adoption From Scotland) [2020] EWHC 3781 (Fam) (16 December 2020) Sara represented the prospective adopters in front of Sir Andrew McFarlane dealing with their application to adopt children placed in their care from Scotland.  The adoption orders were made.

A, B And C (Adoption: Notification of Fathers And Relatives) [2020] EWCA Civ 41 (29 January 2020) Sara was led by Catherine Wood QC in the court of appeal representing the child opposing the appeal of the mother who did not wish the birth father of the child to be notified of the child’s birth and plan for adoption.  The appeal was dismissed. Reported in Local Government Lawyer.

X (A Child), Re [2018] EWHC 3883 (Fam) (16 November 2018) Sara was led by Nkumbe Ekayne QC representing the father where the allegation was that the child had been shaken by either of the parents or the childminder.  The court found the childminder had shaken the child.

B (A Child : Application for Leave To Revoke Placement Order) [2017] EWFC 26 (10 May 2017) Sara represented the local authority before Cobb J opposing the parents' application for leave to revoke a placement order.  Leave was not given.

CD (A Child), Re [2016] EWHC 3286 (Fam) (07 December 2016) Sara represented the local authority in front of Hayden J serious findings of sexual abuse made against the father in respect of a non-subject child.

T (A Child : Early Permanence Placement) [2015] EWCA Civ 983 (24 September 2015) Sara appeared on behalf of the paternal grandparents. The President’s judgment in the Court of Appeal. An important case dealing with the rights of ‘fostering for adoption’ carers, applications to intervene in care proceedings and for permission to apply for an adoption order when a family placement is a real possibility.

 A (Children) [2015] EWCA Civ 1254 (08 December 2015) Sara represented the children responding to the appeal that the placement orders were not a proportionate response/in the best interests of the children in all the circumstances of the case and the planned adoption was not permissible/in the children's best interests, because they are Ghanaian nationals and/or need to maintain their links with their Ghanaian culture and identity through remaining part of the birth family.  The appeal was dismissed.

E (A Child : Contact) [2015] EWHC 180 (Fam) (29 January 2015) Sara represented a child in Private law children proceedings.  A child conceived by agreement between a lesbian woman and a heterosexual man.  Home donation of sperm.  Whether the father should be granted a parental responsibility order and what time he should spend with the child.

J (A Child : Criticism of ICO removal) [2014] EWFC B142 (25 March 2014) Sara represented a grandmother in care proceedings and successfully secured the return of her grandson to her care at the interim stage in a case involving consideration of complex matters surrounding the death of the grandson’s mother.

BA (Hons) 2:1 History and Politics, University of Newcastle. CPE (commendation), University of Huddersfield. Called to the Bar 1995 by Inner Temple