Oliver accepts instructions across the full range of Chambers’ practice areas, including in public, human rights, commercial, employment, procurement, and data protection and information law. He maintains a flexible practice and is equally at home in first-instance tribunals as in the appellate courts. Recent examples of his broad experience include defending injunctions granted against persons unknown, advising on discrimination issues in schools, challenging the award of procurement contracts, assisting in a chancery fraud trial, and advising a large employer on redundancies.
From 2020 to 2021, Oliver was the Judicial Assistant to Lord Burrows at the UK Supreme Court and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, working on the most complex and high-profile cases in the UK and from across the Commonwealth. He remains particularly interested in arguments involving difficult points of law, especially on appeal.
Oliver is a strong advocate of pro bono work. He has experience of advising members of the public on human rights issues at Liberty, advocating for the abolition of the death penalty at Reprieve, representing clients in the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security) Chamber through the Free Representation Unit, assisting litigants-in-person at the Personal Support Unit, and volunteering as a caseworker at the Bar Pro Bono Unit.
Before joining the Bar, Oliver was on the civil service fast-stream. He received a first class degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, where he graduated second in the year in his specialist subject and won several scholarships and prizes. He has taught students maths, physics and chemistry and enjoys cases that arise in a technical or scientific context.
Public and Human Rights
Oliver has substantial experience in public law and human rights from his work prior to joining the Bar, as a pupil and at the Supreme Court. He acts for both claimants and defendants and is a member of the Government’s junior junior panel scheme. Outside of his practice, he is currently drafting a chapter on the operation of the Human Rights Act 1998 for one of the leading practitioner’s textbooks on judicial review.
Highlights of cases in which he has been involved include:
- Barking and Dagenham LBC v Persons Unknown  EWCA Civ 13 – dispute concerning injunctions granted against gypsies and travellers; whether final injunctions can be granted against persons who are unknown and unidentified at the time of the injunction (assisting Nigel Giffin QC).
- R (Article 39) v Secretary of State for Education  EWHC 589 (Admin) – challenge to regulations permitting the placement of looked-after children aged 16 and 17 in unregulated accommodation; whether the consultation process preceding the regulations had been fair (assisting Jo Clement QC).
- Good Law Project v Minister for Cabinet Office  (SC, seeking permission) – challenge to the award of contracts during the Covid-19 pandemic; whether the engagement of the negotiated procedure without prior publication ousts the common law duty to avoid apparent bias (assisting Jason Coppel QC and Patrick Halliday).
- Attorney General for Bermuda v Ferguson  UKPC 5 and Day v Governor of the Cayman Islands  UKPC 6 – whether the constitutions of Bermuda and the Cayman Islands provide a right to same-sex marriage.
- Worcestershire CC v Secretary of State for Health  (SC, seeking permission) –whether a local authority owes a duty to provide aftercare services to a person who has moved into the area of another local authority and been re-detained (assisting Andrew Sharland QC).
- R (Elan-Cane) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 56 – challenge to the lack of a non-binary ‘X’ gender option on UK passports; whether the UK courts can go beyond the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.
- Application by Margaret McQuillan for Judicial Review  UKSC 55 – challenge to the lack of an appropriate investigation into deaths and ill-treatment occurring during the Troubles; in what circumstances the investigative obligation under article 2 ECHR can apply to events that took place before the Human Rights Act 1998.
- R (Majera) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 46 – whether the Home Secretary was permitted to override a defective court order.
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill & European Charter of Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill  UKSC 42 – whether certain provisions of two Scottish Bills are outside the competence of the Scottish Parliament.
- R (AB) v Secretary of State for Justice  UKSC 28 – challenge to the placing of children in solitary confinement at a Young Offenders Institution; the legal effect of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in domestic law.
- R (SC) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  UKSC 26 – challenge to the two-child benefit cap; the leading case on the interpretation of the ECHR in domestic law and the application of the manifestly without reasonable foundation test under article 14 ECHR.
- R (Begum) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 7 – challenge to the decision to deprive Shamima Begum of her UK citizenship; whether the right to a fair hearing can prevail over the interests of national security.
- R (Friends of the Earth) v Heathrow Airport Ltd  UKSC 52 – challenge to the third runway at Heathrow Airport; whether the Secretary of State was required to take the Paris Climate Change Agreement into account.
- Assisting in advising Ofsted whether a school’s educational arrangements amounted to unlawful indirect discrimination.
Oliver practises in all areas of commercial law. He has experience of a wide variety of matters ranging from the determination of the proper law of an arbitration agreement to the scope of the duty of care in negligence. He has a strong interest in the overlap between commercial and public law. Cases in which he has been involved as a pupil and at the Supreme Court include:
- Tinkler v Stobart Group  (ChD, ongoing) – claim to set aside a judgment alleged to have been obtained by fraud (assisting Richard Leiper QC and Daniel Isenberg).
- Bott & Co Solicitors Ltd v Ryanair DAC  UKSC 8 – claim to recover monies said to be held under a solicitor’s equitable lien; the extent of the solicitor’s equitable lien.
- FS Cairo (Nile Plaza) LLC v Brownlie  UKSC 45 – claim against an Egyptian hotel for damages for losses and injury suffered as a result of a car accident; the proper test for serving a claim form for tortious damages out of the jurisdiction.
- Pakistan International Airlines Corporation v Times Travel (UK) Ltd  UKSC 40 – whether a contract can be avoided for lawful economic act duress (critiqued academically,  8 JBL 701).
- Tinkler v HMRC  UKSC 39 – the leading authority on estoppel by convention.
- Enka Insaat Ve Sanayi AS v OOO Insurance Company Chubb  UKSC 38 – dispute concerning liability for a fire at a power plant in Russia; the correct approach to determining the proper law of an arbitration agreement.
- Harcus Sinclair LLP v Your Lawyers Ltd  UKSC 32 – whether a firm of solicitors was required to withdraw from a class action; whether a non-compete clause was enforceable contractually or as a solicitor’s undertaking.
- Secretary of State for Health v Servier Laboratories Ltd  UKSC 24 – the NHS’s claim against a pharmaceutical company for overcharging it for the drug perindopril; whether the tort of causing loss by unlawful means includes a requirement that the unlawful means should have affected the third party’s freedom to deal with the claimant.
- Manchester Building Society v Grant Thornton UK LLP  UKSC 20 – the leading case on the scope of the duty of care in negligence.
- T W Logistics Ltd v Essex County Council  UKSC 4 – challenge to the registration of a working port as a town and village green; whether the criminalisation of the owner’s commercial activities can prevent registration as a town and village green.
- Vodafone v Ofcom  EWCA Civ 183 – claim for monies held by Ofcom after the quashing of various regulations; whether the court should take into account what would have been paid had the quashed regulations been lawfully made.
- Alstom Transport UK Ltd v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd  EWHC 3585 (TCC) – challenge to the award of a contract for digital train control signalling system on the East Coast Main Line; whether the automatic suspension on the award of the contract should be lifted.
- Advising a client on whether it is a party to a contract as an undisclosed principal to the contractual signatory (assisting Simon Devonshire QC and Amy Rogers).
- Drafting particulars of claim in a dispute arising out of a team move orchestrated by a senior broker (assisting Amy Rogers and Tom Ogg).
Oliver is developing a strong employment law practice, with a particular interest in redundancy, employee rights and trade union cases. He acts for clients both led (as part of a counsel team) and unled (as a sole advocate). Highlights of cases in which he has been involved as a pupil and at the Supreme Court include:
- Kostal UK Ltd v Dunkley  UKSC 47 – claim against an employer for bypassing a trade union in its negotiations with employees; in what circumstances direct offers to employees are unlawful.
- Asda Stores Ltd v Brierley  UKSC 10 – whether female retail staff are entitled to compare themselves with male employees at distribution depots for the purposes of an equal pay claim.
- Uber BV v Aslam  UKSC 5 – whether Uber drivers are workers; definition of ‘worker’ in section 230(3)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
- Advising whether an employee had a claim for unpaid redundancy pay; whether her termination was as a result of a redundancy situation (assisting Simon Forshaw).
- Advising whether an employee who was not enrolled in her employer’s pension scheme was discriminated against on the grounds of her part-time status (assisting Patrick Halliday).
- Advising whether an employer’s policy not to make compulsory redundancies was enforceable (assisting Daniel Stilitz QC).
Public International Law
Oliver’s public law practice entails significant issues of public international law. He is experienced in a range of international law issues, with a particular interest in cases concerning foreign acts of state and diplomatic immunity. He has been involved in a number of recent cases, both as a pupil and at the Supreme Court, including:
- R (AG) v Barnet LBC & the Secretary of State for the FCDO  (CA, ongoing) –challenge to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations; whether there is an exception to diplomatic immunity for cases involving torture and/or children (assisting Jo Clement QC).
- Maduro Board of the Central Bank of Venezuela v Guaido Board of the Central Bank of Venezuela  UKSC 57 – dispute over which Board controlled gold reserves worth US$2 billion deposited in the Bank of England; the leading case on the one voice principle and foreign act of state doctrine.
- General Dynamics UK Ltd v Libya  UKSC 22 – challenge to an attempt to enforce an arbitration award against the state of Libya; whether the claim form was required to be served through the FCDO on Libya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Data Protection and Information
Oliver’s experience in data protection and information law ranges from advising government departments on narrow points of law through to assisting Supreme Court justices decide class action claims. He has assisted private clients in bringing claims against data controllers and the Information Commissioner in responding to FOIA appeals. As with all his practice, he acts for both claimants and defendants. Highlights of his work as a pupil and at the Supreme Court include:
- Lloyd v Google LLC  UKSC 50 – class action claim against Google for alleged abuse of personal data; whether compensation can be claimed for a breach by a data controller without the need to prove material damage or distress.
- Advising a client whether the names of individuals with responsibility for making disciplinary decisions are required to be disclosed to the subjects of those decisions (assisting Heather Emmerson).
European Union and Competition
Oliver has significant experience in cases involving EU law, retained EU law and competition law. He is comfortable dealing with intricate regulatory structures and has particular experience in competition law disputes. Highlights of his work as a pupil and at the Supreme Court include:
- Secretary of State for Health v Servier Laboratories Ltd  UKSC 44 – to what extent factual findings made by the CJEU in judgments annulling a competition infringement decision of the EU Commission are binding as res judicata on English courts in private damages actions following on from the Commission’s decision.
- Ecolab Inc v Competition and Markets Authority  CAT 12 – challenge to a decision of the CMA requiring Ecolab to divest its acquisition of a competitor; whether the CMA should have accepted Ecolab’s alternative divestiture proposal.
- Daimler AG v Walleniusrederier Aktiebolag  EWHC 3197 (Comm) and  EWHC 525 (Comm) – dispute concerning an alleged cartel in international shipping services for roll-on roll-off cargo.
- Assisted in drafting an article 340 TFEU application to the CJEU challenging the adoption of an EU Directive.
- Assisted in drafting an expert opinion on EU law for a US arbitration, on whether a licence agreement which settled a patent dispute was in breach of article 101 TFEU.
Articles and Publications
‘Unconscionability, uncertainty and lawful act duress’  8 JBL 701
2019: Bar Professional Training Course, City University (Outstanding)
2017: Graduate Diploma in Law, City University (Distinction)
2015: BA Natural Sciences, Cambridge University (First)
Phoenicia Scholar (Bar European Group)
Postgraduate Scholar (City Law School)
JJ Powell Prize (Middle Temple)
Queen Mother Scholarship (Middle Temple)
Astbury Scholarship (Middle Temple)
Simon Walker Prize in Natural Sciences (Christ’s College, Cambridge)
Graduate Scholar (Christ’s College, Cambridge)
Levy Plumb Bursary and Newton Trust Bursary (Christ’s College, Cambridge)