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Hendersons - Barristers' Chambers

Oliver Campbell QC

"An incredibly incisive advocate, who has very good judgement."

Chambers UK 2014


Call
1992
Silk
2014

Oliver Campbell QC specialises in health & safety, product liability, environment and regulatory claims.  His work in those areas encompasses group actions, inquests and inquiries.  For the last decade, he has been engaged in many of the largest and most significant cases in those fields.

Cases in which he has been retained over the last two years include: the VW NOx Emissions litigation; the Metal on Metal hip litigation; the Grenfell Inquiry; the Google ‘Safari Workaround’ litigation; the Network Rail and Sellafield sentencing appeals; the OCENSA pipeline litigation; and the British Cycling prosecution.

Oliver is recommended by the legal directories as a leading silk in the fields of health & safety, product liability, environment, and inquests and inquiries.  He has twice been short-listed as health and safety silk of the year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards, and has been listed by Legal Week as one of the top rated members of the bar.

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 a particularly good trial advocate who is forensically deadly, but also someone with a very affable personality”; “is absolutely tip-top and shows a deft touch in court that is as good as you would see anywhere at the Bar”; is “an excellent trial advocate, persuasive in court”; and that he “has a commercial approach and ability to find the right solution for the client”.

 

Expertise


Health & Safety

Oliver has been involved in many of the highest-profile and most significant 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 and other regulatory offences.

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: one of the defendants in the British Cycling prosecution; the operators of Tilbury Docks following a serious accident; a well-known crane hire company; and an NHS Trust in a prosecution arising out of a fatal accident to one of its employees.

Oliver is recommended as a leading silk for health & safety cases by the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners.  He has twice been shortlisted for health and safety silk of the year, and won the award for health and safety junior of the year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards. He was a founder member of the Health and Safety Lawyers’ Association and was on the executive committee for many years.

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 cases

grid list
  • R v British Cycling and Marsden (2018)

    5 week trial following a fatal accident at a down-hill mountain bike event in Wales.  First prosecution of its kind against a sporting governing body and the organiser of a cycling event.  Oliver acted for the organiser of the event who was found not guilty by a jury.

    Link to news item and press coverage here

  • R v Paramount and eReco (2018)

    Prosecution arising from a massive explosion at a plant for recycling toner cartridges, which led to multiple injuries.  Oliver acted for the manufacturers of the recycling plant

    Link to press coverage here

  • R v York House Meat (2018)

    Acting for large company in a trial Luton Crown Court following a fatal accident at a meat processing plant.

  • Pret a Manger Inquest (2018)

    Pret a Manger. Oliver acting for Pret in this very high profile case following the death of a 15 year old girl who suffered an allergic reaction after eating a baguette purchased from Pret.

    Link to press coverage here

  • R v Pickering (2017)

    Acting for managing director prosecuted following a fatal accident to a worker electrocuted by an overhead line.

  • Grenfell Inquiry (2017-)

    Oliver is acting for a Core Participant involved in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

Product Liability

Oliver is a leading specialist in product liability claims and has been retained in many of the largest product liability and group actions of recent years.   Those include: the Metal on Metal Hip Litigation; the VW NOx Emissions Group Litigation; the OCENSA pipeline group action; the Lariam Litigation; the Para Red litigation; and Sudan Red litigation (the largest food recall in UK history).

He is recognised by Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 as a leading silk for product liability claims.  Chambers and Partners (2019) commented in relation to his product liability expertise that he “is a particularly good trial advocate who is forensically deadly, but also someone with a very affable personality”.  The Legal 500 (2019) commented that he is “an excellent trial advocate, persuasive in court”.

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, including in relation to allergen issues.

He is an editor of the “International Product Law Manual” and a contributor to Halsbury’s Laws of England.

Representative cases

grid list
  • VW NOx Emissions Litigation
  • Metal on Metal Hip Litigation
  • OCENSA Pipeline Group Litigation
  • Poole v Simon Wright Racing Developments [2013] EWHC 237

    Claim in respect of alleged design defects in a go-kart.

  • The Sudan Red Food Litigation
  • Hobson v Morton Slack Solicitors (QBD) [2006] All ER (D) 298

    Procedure for applications for group litigation orders.

Environment

Oliver has considerable experience of both criminal and civil environmental, nuisance, waste management and pollution claims.

He is recognised by the legal directories as a leading silk for environmental claims.  The Legal 500 (2019) commented: “He brings particular experience of major environmental group actions.”

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 represented BP in a 5 month trial of an environmental group action in relation to an oil pipeline built in Colombia (the OCENSA pipeline group litigation).  He represented the director of a waste management company, following a fire at a waste management site in Swindon site that burned for over 60 days.  He also recently acted for Network Rail in noise nuisance proceedings relating to the Reading train care depot.

Group Actions

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.

He is currently engaged in the VW NOx Group Litigation, thought to be the largest consumer claim brought in the UK.

He was also retained in the representative action brought against Google in respect of the ‘Safari Workaround’, an alleged data protection act breach affecting millions of iPhone users.

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).

Inquests and Public Inquiries

Oliver has acted in many major inquests and public inquiries.  They include: the Grenfell Inquiry; the Natasha Ednan-Laperouse / Pret a Manger inquest; 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.   He also acted in R (Maguire) v Coroner for West Yorkshire (2018)(CA), a decision of the Lord Chief Justice in relation to an inquest into the death of a teacher murdered by one of her pupils.

He is recognised by the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners as a leading silk for inquests and public inquiries.  The Legal 500 (2019) commented in relation to his inquest and inquiry expertise that “he is very thorough, approachable, focused and client friendly”; Chambers and Partners (2019) commented that “he is very bright, helpful and persuasive on his feet”.

Representative cases

grid list
  • Pret a Manger (2018)

    Pret a Manger. Oliver acting for Pret in this very high profile case following the death of a 15 year old girl who suffered an allergic reaction after eating a baguette purchased from Pret.

    Link to press coverage here

  • Signature Living / Titanic Hotel (2018)

    Case arising from a fatal accident at the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool (former headquarters of the White Start Line). Customer fell over an historic (but low) bannister; dispute as to whether the bannister ought to have been changed dispute the heritage status.  Two week inquest with ongoing criminal proceedings.  Oliver is acting for the owners of the hotel.

    Link to press coverage here

  • Grenfell Inquiry (2017-)

    Oliver is acting for a Core Participant involved in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

 

Instructing Oliver Campbell QC

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Appointments
  • President of the Oxford Union (1990)
  • Queen’s Counsel (2014)
  • Chief Examiner for the BPTC (2015-)
  • Trustee of the Lambeth Law Centre
  • BSB’s panel of advocates
Publications
  • 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”
Memberships
  • Health & Safety Lawyers Association
  • Commercial Bar Association
  • London Common Law & Commercial Bar Association
  • Personal Injuries Bar Association
  • British Insurance Law Association
Education
  • Advocacy Prize, Inns of Court School of Law (1992)
  • MA in Law, Oxford
Regulatory Information

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

Bar Council Number: 29267

VAT Registration Number: 628152151

Legal Status: QC

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.

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