Sarah Summers studied law at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK (2000 LL.B) and received her doctorate from the University of Zurich, Switzerland for her thesis: Fair Trials: The European Criminal Tradition and the European Court of Human Rights (2006 Dr.iur.).

She joined the law school of the University of Zurich in 2001 and worked first as a research assistant to Prof. Dr. Trechsel on his book Human Rights in Criminal Proceedings (Oxford, Oxford University Press 2005) and later at the Chair of Prof. Dr. Schwarzenegger. She was an 'Oberassistenin' in criminal law and criminal procedure law at the University of Zurich from 2007 until 2012 and was previously a member of the country section Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.

In 2012 she received a SNSF Professorship in order to conduct empirical research in the field of fair trial rights in criminal proceedings in Switzerland (Trial Observation Project). 

In 2017 she was appointed Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure Law and Criminology

She is on the Editiorial Committee of Quaestio Facti: International Journal on Evidential Reasoning and is on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Evidence and Proof.

She is a member of the Panel Humanities of the Swiss Research Council (SNSF); a commission member of the Criminal Institute of the Canton of Zurich; and a member of the Prosecutorial Regulatory Oversight Commission of the Canton of Basel City.