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Hendersons - Barristers' Chambers

Celia Oldham

"Celia is excellent in getting on top of the detail. She is knowledgeable, personable and a real pleasure to work with."

Legal 500 2023


Celia Oldham has a commercial litigation practice with a particular focus on group litigation, product liability, and consumer and finance law. She has been ranked by the Legal 500 in Tier 1 as a “Rising Star” in Product Liability in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. She was named the Group Litigation and Consumer Junior of the year 2022 by Legal 500 as a result of her expertise as a leading junior practitioner in the fields of group litigation and consumer disputes.

She regularly appears in large scale group litigation and product liability claims. She currently acts for a group of major motor manufacturers in diesel emissions litigation and is instructed in litigation concerning infected blood products. In 2022-2023 she represented Qatar Airways in one of the Lawyer’s Top 20 cases of 2023.

She has significant experience of consumer and commercial law, and regularly represents banks and finance companies, large and small, in and tribunals of multiple levels, and in litigation concerning allegations of unfairness under the Consumer Credit Act 1974, connected lender liability, mis-selling of financial products and other causes of action brought by consumers against creditors. She is experienced at representing clients either as a sole advocate, or as part of a team of counsel.

Celia’s practice focuses on group claims, product liability, commercial law and consumer law, but she also regularly appears in disputes across chambers’ practice areas, and has been instructed in a wide range of matters ranging from property law, to public procurement, to clinical negligence, to advising the High Court Enforcement Office on proposed amendments to legislation.

Celia graduated from Trinity Hall, Cambridge, with a Double First in History. She was awarded a distinction on the GDL and an outstanding on the BPTC, and joined Chambers in 2017.

For more information about the way barristers at Henderson Chambers work, including our terms of engagement, fee transparency statement and our complaints process, please click here.  Barristers are regulated by the Bar Standards Board.

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Product Liability & Group Actions

Celia is recognised by the Legal 500 as a rising star in the field of product liability, in which she has been ranked in Tier 1 each year since 2020. She was awarded the Legal 500 Group Litigation and Consumer Junior of the year 2022.

She has appeared, and continues to appear, in high profile group actions. She represented Volkswagen as a junior barrister in the original VW NOx Emissions Litigation, and currently represents Volkswagen in further Emissions Litigation. She also has significant experience of group litigation with a clinical angle, including vaccine damage litigation and group litigation concerning infected blood products.

Celia also appears in unitary product liability actions, both as a sole advocate and in a led capacity. Representative instructions include acting for Qatar Airways in a billion pound aviation dispute against Airbus concerning the accelerated surface degradation of A350 aircraft and exposure of the expanded copper foil (ECF) lightning protection system.

Representative cases

grid list
  • VW NOx Emissions Group Litigation and Ongoing Emissions Litigation

    Instructed on behalf of multiple Volkswagen entities in a group action in which the Claimants bring a wide range of claims, based on contract law, consumer law, tort and breach of statute.

  • Qatar Airways v Airbus

    Represented Qatar in a high profile dispute concerning surface degradation of aircraft, which raised a wide range of regulatory, contractual and expert issues. Celia worked in particular on the technical and expert aspects of the case, ranging from aeronautical engineering, to materials and polymer science, to finite element method modelling. This case is one of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases of 2023.

  • The Pre-Action Treloar Trust Litigation

    Instructed on behalf of the defendant school trust in a set of pre-action claims advanced by former pupils in respect of blood products they received from NHS institutions while they attended the school

  • The Pandemrix vaccine damage issue

    Instructed as a junior in this high profile vaccine damage dispute arising from allegations that a flu vaccination caused narcolepsy and cataplexy.

Consumer, Banking & Finance

Celia has substantial experience in the fields of consumer credit and consumer contract law. She was named the Legal 500 Group Litigation and Consumer Junior of the year 2022.

She frequently advises and appears on behalf of banks, finance companies and other creditors as an advocate in consumer, finance and banking disputes. She offers in-depth advice and effective representation in a wide range of consumer finance disputes in matters involving the Consumer Credit Act 1974, Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, the FCA Handbook and CPUT. She also regularly advises and acts in cases concerning alleged breaches of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation. Her clients include most major UK lenders as well as smaller lenders.

Celia has acted in an advisory capacity and as an advocate in most of the major mis-selling and “secret commission” litigation of the last decade, appearing in trials concerning, for example, payment protection insurance commission, secured loan commission and green energy. She frequently represents creditors in cases concerning motor finance commission, acting for finance companies that are alleged to have breached consumer legislation, regulatory rules and statutory duties, or to have accessory liability for breaches of fiduciary duty, in the context of hire purchase and conditional sale agreements. She is regularly instructed to draft pleadings and applications, attend procedural hearings of all kinds, and to conduct trials in such matters.

She has also appeared in a range of group actions brought by consumers, and is experienced in advising in relation to the particular issues that arise when large numbers of consumers bring claims against a defendant.

Representative instructions include:

  • Trials raising questions of unfairness under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 in respect of credit agreements of a wide variety.
  • Trials concerning motor finance commission payments made by lenders to dealers/brokers in respect of Hire Purchase Agreements or Conditional Sale Agreements.
  • Trials in respect of solar panels where consumers bring claims of misrepresentation pursuant to section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 against the lender.
  • Trials concerning alleged breaches of the Data Protection Act 2018 and/or the General Data Protection Regulation brought by consumers against creditors.
  • Group actions concerning alleged breaches of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and CPUT.

Commercial & Insurance

Celia advises, drafts and represents clients in a broad range of different commercial disputes, raising a wide range of issues including sale and hire of goods, loan contracts, insurance law, and product liability. She regularly advises on questions of contractual interpretation and litigation tactics in commercial matters.  Examples of recent commercial instructions include:

  • Advising a financial technology lender providing finance to e-commerce businesses, in a dispute concerning breach of multiple contracts and cross-corporate guarantees, raising issues of jurisdiction.
  • Representing an individual in a dispute arising from a number of high value introduction agreements relating to land acquisition and development.
  • Acting in the Stirling Mortimer fraud and professional negligence litigation.
  • Advising an off-shore fund on a dispute in relation to insurance notifications and aggregation.

Representative cases

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  • Stirling Mortimer Fund

    Instructed as a junior on behalf of a Guernsey fund in a dispute raising issues of large-scale fraud, an auditor’s professional negligence, insurance notification, and insurance aggregation.

Administrative & Public Law

Celia has been instructed by both local and central government in matters ranging from immigration to public inquiries to public procurement.

Her practice in this area encompasses drafting, providing advice, and advocacy. She has appeared in the Technology and Construction Court on behalf of a local authority in the context of a complicated procurement dispute relating to information technology platforms.


Celia has experience of residential and commercial landlord and tenant disputes, including forfeiture proceedings and collective leasehold enfranchisement.

She also has experience of property-related disputes relating to defective products and negligence.


What the directories say

"Celia is all over the details of her matters and is a pleasure to work with."
Legal 500 2022

"Celia is hard working, personable and very conscientious. Celia is all over the details of her matters and is a pleasure to work with."
Legal 500 2022

"The obvious choice of one to watch for product liability."
Legal 500 2021

Instructing Celia Oldham

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  • Administrative Law Bar Association
  • British Insurance Law Association
  • Human Rights Law Associaton
  • Health & Safety Lawyers’ Association
  • History BA (Hons), Double First, Trinity Hall, Cambridge University
  • GDL, Distinction, City University
  • BPTC, Outstanding, City University
  • Lord Denning Scholarship, Lincolns Inn
  • Megarry Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Buchanan Award, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Kitty Crawley History Award, Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Regulatory Information

All members of Chambers are registered with the Bar Standards Board of England and Wales. For our standard contractual terms click here.

For more information about the way barristers at Henderson Chambers work, including our fee transparency statement and our complaints process, please click here.

Bar Council Number: 66474

VAT Registration Number: 266620496

Legal Status: Barrister

Professional Insurance: All members of Chambers have professional liability insurance provided by the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd. Territorial coverage is world-wide and subject to the term of the Bar Mutual. Click here for details.

Regulated by the Bar Standards Board.

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