Sharmila was called to the Bar in 1997 having obtained a BSc (Hons) in Cell and Molecular Biology at Kings College, University of London. Initially Sharmila practiced as a solicitor and was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors where she specialised in criminal advocacy, defending the full range of criminal offences.
She obtained her Higher Rights Qualification in 2010 and since then, has practised on a consultancy basis for a number of high-profile specialist criminal firms primarily in the Crown Court.
In addition to her Court appearances, Sharmila has had a long-standing interest in prisoners' rights including successfully conducting Judicial Review cases to challenge unjust practices. She represented "prisoners in denial" in HMP Frankland where prisoners were denied access to IT, resulting in a change of policy so that litigants-in-person were granted access to IT under Article 6 of the Human Rights Act.
Sharmila assisted in setting up a prison law department during her period with a previous firm situated in Manchester, following the landmark case of R v Oyston, which concerned challenging the refusal of the Parole Board to grant parole to prisoners who maintain their innocence.
Sharmila has published articles in the Guardian and has appeared on programmes such as "Newsnight" to raise awareness of prisoner's rights and to encourage discussion regarding discrimination by the Prison Service to "prisoners in denial".