Sarah Beamish is an associate with Hensel Barristers, which she joined in April 2018. Sarah was called to the Ontario Bar in 2015.
Sarah was born in Melfort, Saskatchewan and grew up across Treaty 6 lands. Her ancestors come from western Europe and Aotearoa-New Zealand. She is a member of the Ngāruahinerangi (Māori) people.
Sarah’s work includes a range of practice areas, with a primary focus on civil litigation and administrative law. During her time with Hensel Barristers she has represented clients at the Superior Court, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and the Seneca Nation of Indians Peacemaker’s Court (she is one of the few lawyers in Canada approved to practice before this court).
Prior to joining Hensel Barristers, Sarah worked at a social justice and public interest litigation firm in Toronto. In addition to her litigation practice, which included work on such prominent files as the Choc/Chub/Caal v. HudBay Minerals corporate accountability litigation and the class action related to the mass civil liberties violations during the 2010 G20 summit, she developed a focus on non-profit and charity law, qualified donee status for Indigenous governmental bodies, and workplace/employment law.
Sarah has extensive experience in the human rights field as an activist, researcher, advocate, and governor, including over 14 years at the international level. She is currently the elected Vice-Chair of the International Board of Amnesty International, where her portfolio is focused on law and policy and gender/equity/diversity work. She is the former elected President of the board of Amnesty International Canada (English-Speaking), where she also held volunteer roles related to Indigenous rights work, human rights in Colombia, and youth and student leadership. Much of her other human rights-related work has focused on discrimination, and corporate accountability in the extractives sector. Highlights of this work included fellowships with the Centre for Public Interest Law’s Mining Communities Support Programme in Ghana, and the One Justice Project, a research and advocacy initiative seeking legal accountability for grave violations of economic, social, and cultural rights and environmental law.
Sarah graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, where she was awarded the faculty’s prizes for achievements in Human Rights Law and Feminist Analysis of Law. She also holds a Master of Global Affairs with a specialization in Global Civil Society (her graduate project was a collaborative study of the health system impacts of the West African Ebola crisis for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières Canada), and a BA in Political Science (with Great Distinction).
In addition to her legal practice, Sarah will be joining The Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto in September 2019 as a lecturer in international law for the Master of Global Affairs program.