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Hendersons - Barristers' Chambers

Oliver Campbell QC

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

Chambers UK 2014


Oliver Campbell QC specialises in health & safety, product liability, regulatory and environmental claims.  His work in those areas encompasses inquests and inquiries.  He also has a particular expertise in group and representative actions, including multi-party product liability and data breach claims.  For the last decade, he has been engaged in many of the largest and most significant cases in those fields.

Oliver is recommended by the legal directories as a leading silk in the fields of: health & safety, product liability, group actions, 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.

Cases in which he has been retained over the last two years include: the VW NOx emissions litigation; the Grenfell Inquiry; the Google ‘Safari Workaround’ litigation; the Metal on Metal hip litigation; the MPM prosecution; the British Cycling prosecution; and the Mercedes and BMW NOx emissions claims.

In relation to his health & safety and regulatory expertise, Oliver has been described in the Legal Directories as being “a stellar performer”; “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 and Partners 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”.

In relation to his group actions expertise, Chambers and Partners note: “he is an enormously reassuring presence in difficult situations and his written work and oral advocacy are outstanding” and “he is unflappable, calm and measured.”

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Health & Safety

Oliver has been involved in many of the highest-profile and most significant health and safety prosecutions over the last 20 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 is recommended as a leading silk for health & safety cases by both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners (band 1 in both).  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.

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 MPM / Eastbourne pier 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.

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
  • The Grenfell Inquiry (ongoing)

    Acting for one of the corporate core participants.

  • R v AJM Services and Pearsons Glass (2022)

     Prosecution arising from a fatal accident during construction work to a factory roof.

  • ORR v Volker Rail (2022)

    Prosecution by the ORR following a trench collapse in which a worker was crushed.

  • R v Dixon, Hawkins and MPM (2021)

    Successful defence of a manslaughter prosecution following a 3 month trial.  The prosecution arose from a fatal accident during repair works to Eastbourne pier.

  • 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

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 VW NOx Emissions Group Litigation; the Metal on Metal Hip Litigation; the Mercedes and BMW NOx Emissions claims; the OCENSA pipeline group action; the Lariam Litigation; the Para Red litigation; and the 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 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 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 Group Litigation

    Group action against VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda. Various decisions including:

    • Crossley v Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft[2021] EWHC 344 (QB): Refusal to strike out claim in deceit, and consideration of need for awareness of representations.
    • Crossley v Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft[2020] EWHC 783 (QB): Trial of a preliminary issue within VW NOx Emissions Litigation as to meaning of “defeat device” in EU legislation.
    • Crossley v Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft[2019] EWHC 698 (QB): Determination of an application for a preliminary issues trial in VW NOx Emissions Litigation.
  • Lloyd v Google [2021] UKSC 50
  • Mercedes and BMW Emissions Litigation
  • Metal on Metal Hip Litigation
  • OCENSA Pipeline Group Litigation
  • Poole v Simon Wright Racing Developments

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


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 collective and 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 recognised by Chambers & Partners as a leading silk in the field of group litigation (a new category in the directories). Chambers & Partners comments that “he is an enormously reassuring presence in difficult situations and his written work and oral advocacy are outstanding” and that “he is unflappable, calm and measured.”

Oliver appeared in Lloyd v Google (Supreme Court), the leading case on representative actions.

He was leading counsel for the claimants in the VW NOx Group Litigation, thought to be the largest consumer claim brought in the UK.  He is now instructed in further claims against other vehicle manufacturers including Mercedes and BMW.

Oliver acted for the defendants in the OCENSA Litigation, a 5 month trial of a group action before Mr Justice Stuart-Smith.

Oliver has been instructed in many group and collective data protections claims, including: the EasyJet claim; the Equifax claim; the Equiniti claim and the Ticketmaster claim.

His experience in this area also 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.  Examples include: the Grenfell Inquiry; the Scout Association Inquest; 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 commented in relation to his inquest and inquiry expertise that “he is very thorough, approachable, focused and client friendly”; Chambers and Partners commented that “he is very bright, helpful and persuasive on his feet”.

Representative cases

grid list
  • The Scout Association (2022)

    High profile inquest into the death of scout who fell from a cliff during a scouting trip.

  • Andrew Cook (2021)

    Inquest into the death of a patient who was alleged to have suffered an allergic reaction to the polymer coating of a widely sold catheter during a cardiac procedure.

  • Dritan Quema (2021)

    Inquest into the death of a rail worker.  He was working on a zero hours contract, and the death was alleged to be caused by fatigue.

  • R (Maguire) v Assistant Coroner for West Yorkshire [2018] EWCA Civ 6

    Decision by the Lord Chief Justice re calling child witnesses in an inquest.

  • 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.  Oliver is acting for the owners of the hotel.

    Link to press coverage here


What the directories say

"Oliver is a superb tactician, very good at cross examining experts and I think in the health and safety field is the best at written advocacy."
Legal 500 2022

"Unflappable and an excellent advocate."
Legal 500 2022

"An unflappable advocate who has a formidable, highly forensic mind combined with a faultless approach to managing the strategic issues of a case."
Legal 500 2022

"A great tactician and a first-rate advocate. Oliver’s ability to see to the heart of an issue is always immediately appreciated."
Legal 500 2022

"He has a big market presence and a very good reputation."
Chambers UK 2022

Instructing Oliver Campbell QC

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  • Recorder (Crown Court)
  • President of the Oxford Union (1990)
  • Queen’s Counsel (2014)
  • Chief Examiner for the BPTC (2015-2019)
  • Trustee of the Lambeth Law Centre (2010-2019)
  • 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
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: 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.

Regulated by the Bar Standards Board.

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