Oliver has a commercial and common law practice, with a particular focus on regulatory and health & safety cases, product liability claims, environmental claims and group actions.
He is recommended by Chambers UK and the Legal 500 as a leading silk in health & safety and product liability. He is also recommended by the Legal 500 in environmental law and personal injury claims, and has been listed by Legal Week as one of the top rated members of the bar. He won ‘Health and Safety Junior of the Year’ at the 2012 Chambers UK Bar Awards.
In relation to his health & safety expertise, Oliver has been described in the Legal Directories as being “an incredibly smooth and persuasive advocate”; “really immersed in the area”; “an outstanding performer”; “very good at inspiring confidence in clients”; “has a razor sharp mind”; is “extremely intelligent” and is “someone who handles complex and sensitive cases extremely well”.
In the field of product liability, the Legal 500 and Chambers UK have commented that Oliver “is absolutely tip-top and shows a deft touch in court that is as good as you would see anywhere at the Bar”; and that he “has a commercial approach and ability to find the right solution for the client”.
Health & Safety
Oliver specialises in health and safety prosecutions, and has been involved in many of the highest-profile and most serious health and safety prosecutions over the last 10 years. He is the chair of Henderson Chambers health and safety practice group, and his practice encompasses all aspects of health and safety and regulatory litigation, representing both companies and individuals prosecuted for health and safety offences.
Oliver has been recommended in health & safety for many years by the Legal 500 and Chambers UK, and won the award for Health and Safety Junior of the Year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards in 2012. He is a founder member and on the executive committee of the Health and Safety Lawyers’ Association.
Oliver has particular expertise in manslaughter prosecutions and other health safety prosecutions arising from fatalities. He successfully defended one of the individual defendants in the prosecution resulting from the Hatfield train crash. More recent cases include successfully defending at trial corporate defendants following: a fatal crane accident, a serious accident at Tilbury docks, and an NHS Trust in a prosecution arising out of a fatal accident to one of its employees.
His experience spans many different industries and sectors. These have included prosecutions arising from accidents at construction sites, accidents at sea, in hospitals and care homes, in docks, in nurseries and schools, from electrical and other fires, and from road and railway accidents.
Oliver has appeared in the Court of Appeal on several occasions in health and safety cases. He appeared in R v Sellafield and Network Rail (CA), the leading authority on sentencing of large companies, and Ashtead Plant Hire (CA) in relation to the application of the Electricity at Work Regulations.
Representative casesgrid list
R v Sellafield & Network Rail  EWCA Crim 49
Sentancing of large companies for regulatory offences.
Berry v Star Autos (Court of Appeal)  EWCA Civ 1304
Application of the Electricity at Work Regulations.
Wandsworth v Covent Garden Market Authority (QBD)  EWHC 1245
Appeals against improvement notices.
Collett v Middlesbrough Football Club (Court of Appeal)  EWCA Civ 583
Corus v Cavendish UK (QBD)  EWHC 2058
Liability in respect of asbestos removal work.
R (Main) v Minsiter for Legal Aid (Admin) (2007) 96 BMLR 61
Availability of legal aid for inquests.
Cameron v Network Rail (QBD)  1 WLR 163
Whether the Fatal Accidents Acts complies with Article 2 and whether Network Rail is a public authority for the purpose of Human Rights Act.
R v Railtrack & Others
Prosecution arising out of the Hatfield train crash.
Morris v Network Rail (Court of Appeal)  EWCA Civ 172
Liability in nuisance for interference caused by electrical equipment.
Roshdi v Thames Trains (Court of Appeal)  All ER (D) 284
Grants of an adjournment on refusal of public funding.
Winch v Mid Bedfordshire District Council (QBD) All ER (D) 380
Liability of local authorities in nuisance for acts of gypsies in an official gypsy site.
Craig v Railtrack (QBD)  All ER (D) 212
Granting of indemnity costs under CPR 36.
Worrall v British Railways Board (Court of Appeal) All ER (D) 455
Application of the ex turpi causa principle.
Basildon District Council v Railtrack Plc (Divisional Court) The Times 27.02.98
Requirements as to notices in health and safety prosecutions.
Oliver has acted in several major inquests, including the inquests into the Potters Bar and Ufton Nervet rail accidents, the inquest in relation to the Basildon hospital legionella outbreaks, the Bridgewater Place inquest, the Vauxhall tower helicopter crash inquest and the inquest into the Avonmouth bridge disaster.
Oliver has considerable experience of both criminal and civil environmental, waste management and pollution claims. He is recommended by the Legal 500 for environmental claims.
He regularly represents defendants charged with offences under the Environmental Protection Act and the Environmental Permitting Regulations. He also has extensive experience of civil environmental and pollution claims, including nuisance, land contamination and flooding claims. That experience encompasses many different types of land use and activity, including oil pipelines, construction sites, waste sites, railway infrastructure and harbours.
Oliver represented one of the corporate defendants in the Marks and Spencer asbestos prosecution, and successfully defended a claim in relation to asbestos removal from the Corus headquarters building. He also recently represented BP in a 5 month trial of an environmental group action in relation to an oil pipeline built in Colombia (the OCENSA Group litigation).
Oliver has extensive experience of large personal injury claims, particularly those with a regulatory, product liability or health and safety angle.
Commercial & Product Liability
Oliver has considerable experience of product liability claims, including many large commercial contract disputes and group actions. He acted in the Lariam and OCENSA pipeline group actions. Oliver also acted for defendants in the litigation following the Para Red and Sudan Red product recalls (the largest food recall in UK history).
Oliver is currently acting in both the Volkswagen Emissions group action and the ‘metal on metal’ hip litigation.
Oliver regularly advises in relation to claims under the Consumer Protection Act; property damage claims; product testing and product recall issues; cross border, jurisdiction and applicable law issues; contractual exemption clauses; and coverage and insurance issues associated with product liability claims.
He has considerable experience acting on behalf of the food and drink industries.
He is an editor of the “International Product Law Manual” and a contributor to Halsbury’s Laws of England.
Oliver has been recommended in product liability for many years by Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500, where he is ranked in the top band of junior barristers.
Representative casesgrid list
OCENSA Pipeline Group Litigation
Poole v Simon Wright Racing Developments  EWHC 237
Claim in respect of alleged design defects in a go-kart.
The Sudan Red Food Litigation
Hobson v Morton Slack Solicitors (QBD)  All ER (D) 298
Procedure for applications for group litigation orders.
Vinaver v Milton Ashbury Ltd (Court of Appeal)  EWCA Civ 363
The Para Red Litigation
Trac Time Control v Moss Plastic Parts (QBD)  All ER (D) 6
The Lariam Litigation
Oliver has extensive experience of acting for both claimants and defendants in group actions and other multi-party claims. He regularly advises in relation to applications for Group Litigation Orders and associated issues in relation to the management of group actions.
His experience in this area includes environmental and pollution claims (for example, the OCENSA pipeline group action); pharmaceutical and medicinal product claims (for example, the Lariam group litigation); claims by shareholders (for example, the Lloyds HBOS group action); claims arising from large accidents and disasters (for example, the claims following the Stafford rail crash); and claims arising from professional negligence and mis-selling of financial products (for example, the coal miners claims).
He is currently acting for a group of over 30,000 claimants in the Volkswagen Emissions group action.
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- Trustee of the Lambeth Law Centre
- Queen’s Counsel (2014)
- Quality Assurance Committee of the BSB (2007 – 2011)
- BSB’s Centralised Examinations Board
- BSB’s panel of advocates
- Contributor to Halsbury’s Laws of England
- Contributing Editor to the “International Product Law Manual”
- Editor of the personal injury section of “The Lawyers Factbook”
- Health & Safety Lawyers Association
- Commercial Bar Association
- London Common Law & Commercial Bar Association
- Personal Injuries Bar Association
- British Insurance Law Association
- Advocacy Prize, Inns of Court School of Law (1992)
- MA in Law, Oxford