Sarabjit Singh QC has long been recognised as a leading and versatile practitioner in various areas of law including tax, public law, clinical negligence and historic abuse cases. He acts for claimants and defendants and, being public access qualified, is happy to accept instructions directly from members of the public.
He is known for his calm, cool and persuasive manner in court, with solicitors and opponents describing him in Chambers and Partners 2018 as “remaining cool and cheerful under intense judicial scrutiny, which is impressive to see” and as “very persuasive”, and in Chambers and Partners 2019 his clients state: “When handling our case, he remained incredibly cool under heavy fire from Supreme Court judges”. Chambers and Partners 2020 concludes that Sarabjit’s “drafting is fantastic and he’s a very compelling advocate”.
The skill of his advocacy was recognised by the Attorney General, who appointed him to each of the Crown’s A, B and C panels, and it was through his work on the panels that Sarabjit represented government departments and others in the most complex and high-profile cases in his areas of practice, including numerous appearances as sole or leading counsel in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. His excellence in advocacy in the higher courts was recognised by his appointment as Queen’s Counsel in 2018, whilst still in his thirties.
Sarabjit has appeared in some of the most heavyweight cases in tax and public law in the last few decades, as outlined in the description of his practice in each of those areas below, and translates the forensic approach necessary in such areas to all areas of his work. He continues to act for the government in high-profile cases, being instructed in late 2019 by HMRC in Brexit-related litigation and by the Home Office in 2020 in the Jamaica deportation flight case. He also acts against the government in similar cases, having been recently instructed by the taxpayer in a £300m import tax case and by claimants in major statelessness and human rights cases.
Unusually for someone who practices in tax and public law, Sarabjit is regularly instructed in and thoroughly enjoys acting in more ‘human’ areas of the law, such as in clinical negligence and abuse cases, where his careful and high-quality pleadings and advocacy and tactful manner with clients invariably help secure excellent settlements and trial outcomes. His expertise in clinical negligence was recently called upon in the family law context, where Sarabjit cross-examined medical experts on the causation of a baby’s brain injury and succeeded in establishing an innocent cause for the injury, which resulted in the baby being returned to the care of his family.
Sarabjit accepts instructions from HMRC, taxpayers and ratepayers and has acted in numerous landmark cases over the last few years. These include successfully representing HMRC in the British Film Institute litigation on the VAT cultural exemption that went to the European Court of Justice, appearing as sole counsel in the Amoena appeal which is the only ever customs case to have gone to the House of Lords or Supreme Court, acting as lead counsel in the seminal rating case of Newbigin v Monk in the Supreme Court and appearing again for the Revenue in the Supreme Court in the major VAT case of SAE Education Ltd.
In public law, Sarabjit appears in first-instance judicial reviews for both claimants and public bodies and also has vast appellate experience in the Court of Appeal, having appeared there dozens of times as sole counsel. He has acted in a number of complex cases, particularly where they interact with other areas he practices in such as tax, healthcare and immigration. For example, he appeared as amicus in the Court of Appeal in the AR (Pakistan) case on immigration bail powers and has had numerous successful appearances in the Court of Appeal in human rights and immigration cases, as illustrated below.
Sarabjit has a thriving advisory and court practice in clinical negligence, where he regularly acts for claimants, doctors and hospitals in cases involving complex medical evidence and profound and high-value injuries. His work spans all areas of clinical negligence, such as delayed diagnosis of cancer and brain injury cases and also cases raising more unusual medical issues, one example being a trial on whether the rare disease of necrotising fasciitis should have been detected earlier in an intravenous drug user.
Sarabjit’s main area of personal injury is acting for child and adult sexual abuse victims in cases against abusers, employers and local authorities. He tends to be instructed in particularly difficult cases raising issues as to vicarious liability, limitation, non-delegable duties and the scope of a local authority’s private law duty of care.