Oliver has a flexible practice across public, human rights, commercial, employment, procurement, and data protection and information law. He is currently instructed in a number of high-profile cases, including a challenge to the decision not to release the names of UK companies that received government-backed loans during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recent examples of his broad experience include seeking injunctions against persons unknown, advising on discrimination issues in schools, challenging the award of procurement contracts, and defending a judicial review against the Treasury. Clients say they are “impressed” and praise his “highly responsive” manner.
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.
Oliver is a strong advocate of pro bono work. He has advised on human rights issues at Liberty, advocated for the abolition of the death penalty at Reprieve, represented clients in the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security) Chamber through the Free Representation Unit, assisted litigants-in-person at the Personal Support Unit, and volunteered 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 subject and won several scholarships and prizes. He has taught maths, physics and chemistry and enjoys cases that arise in a technical or scientific context.
Public and Human Rights
Oliver has extensive experience in public law and human rights issues. He acts for both claimants and defendants and is a member of the Government’s junior junior panel scheme. He has recently drafted chapters for a leading practitioner’s textbook on judicial review and the operation of the Human Rights Act 1998, to be published in early 2023. He has also been instructed on several applications to the European Court of Human Rights.
Highlights of cases in which he has been involved include:
- R (Fire Brigades Union and ors) v HM Treasury (ongoing) – judicial review by trade unions under article 6 ECHR and on domestic public law grounds to the operation of the cost control mechanism in public sector pension schemes (led by Nigel Giffin KC, listed for five-day trial).
- R (AY) v Essex County Council (ongoing) – challenge to the local authority’s assessment of an asylum seeker’s age (sole counsel, listed for three-day trial in the Upper Tribunal).
- Barking and Dagenham LBC v Persons Unknown  EWCA Civ 13 – whether final injunctions can be granted against gypsies and travellers who are unknown and unidentified at the time of the injunction (assisting Nigel Giffin KC).
- R (Article 39) v Secretary of State for Education  EWHC 589 (Admin) – whether the consultation leading to regulations permitting the placement of 16 and 17-year-old children in unregulated accommodation was fair (assisting Jo Clement KC).
- R (Good Law Project) v Minister for Cabinet Office  (SC, seeking permission) – whether the award of procurement contracts during the Covid-19 pandemic was biased (assisting Jason Coppel KC 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 was obliged to provide aftercare services to a person who has moved into the area of another local authority (assisting Andrew Sharland KC).
- R (Elan-Cane) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 56 – judicial review challenge to the lack of a non-binary ‘X’ gender option on UK passports.
- Re McQuillan  UKSC 55 – judicial review challenge to the lack of an article 2 ECHR compliant investigation into deaths and ill-treatment occurring during the Troubles.
- 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 – devolution references concerning 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 placement of children in solitary confinement at a Young Offenders Institution.
- R (SC) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  UKSC 26 – article 14 ECHR challenge to the two-child benefit cap.
- R (Begum) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 7 – challenge to the decision to deprive Shamima Begum of her UK citizenship.
- R (Friends of the Earth) v Heathrow Airport Ltd  UKSC 52 – challenge to the third runway at Heathrow Airport.
- Advising a media organisation on a potential claim to the European Court of Human Rights under article 10 ECHR
- Advising a utilities company on a potential claim against the regulator on domestic public law grounds.
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.
Highlights of cases in which he has been involved include:
- Tinkler v Stobart Group  EWHC 1375 (Ch) – successful defence to a claim to set aside a judgment alleged to have been obtained by fraud (assisting Richard Leiper KC 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.
- FS Cairo (Nile Plaza) LLC v Brownlie  UKSC 45 – claim for tortious damages against a defendant 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 in  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 over the proper law of an arbitration agreement governing proceedings concerning liability for a fire at a Russian power plant.
- Harcus Sinclair LLP v Your Lawyers Ltd  UKSC 32 – enforceability of a non-compete clause/solicitor’s undertaking agreed between two law firms.
- 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;
- Manchester Building Society v Grant Thornton UK LLP  UKSC 20 and Meadows v Khan  UKSC 21 – the leading authorities 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 commercial port as a town and village green.
- Vodafone v Ofcom  EWCA Civ 183 – restitutionary claim by network operators for monies held by Ofcom after the quashing of earlier regulations.
- 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.
- 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 broad employment law practice with a particular interest in redundancy, dismissal, discrimination and trade union cases. He frequently appears in preliminary hearings and trials in the Employment Tribunal, and both as a sole advocate and as part of a counsel team.
Highlights of cases in which he has been involved include:
- Jurczykowski v Amazon UK Services Ltd (ongoing) – challenge to the lawfulness of Amazon’s policy for employees on long-term sick leave.
- Diner v Fujifilm Sonosite Ltd (ongoing) – harassment and unfair dismissal claim arising out of an alleged course of conduct by the claimant’s manager.
- Newton v SJB Medical Ltd and anor (ongoing) – disability discrimination claims arising out of an online automated recruitment test.
- Star v Colicci Ltd (case no. 2302334/2021) – successful application to strike out claims for unfair and wrongful dismissal.
- Kostal UK Ltd v Dunkley  UKSC 47 – claim against an employer for bypassing a trade union in its negotiations with employees.
- 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.
- Advising whether an employee had a claim for unpaid redundancy pay (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 KC).
Public International Law
Oliver 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 including:
- R (AG) v Barnet LBC & Secretary of State for the FCDO  (CA, ongoing) –whether there is an exception to diplomatic immunity for cases involving torture and/or children (assisting Jo Clement KC).
- Maduro Board of the Central Bank of Venezuela v Guaido Board of the Central Bank of Venezuela  UKSC 57 – dispute over who controlled gold reserves worth US$2 billion deposited in the Bank of England.
- General Dynamics UK Ltd v Libya  UKSC 22 – challenge to an attempt to enforce an arbitration award against the state of Libya.
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 frequently appears for the Information Commissioner in responding to appeals in the First-tier Tribunal. As with all his practice, he acts for both claimants and defendants.
Highlights of his work include:
- Spotlight on Corruption and anor v British Business Bank (ongoing) – challenge to the decision not to disclose the names of UK companies that received government-backed loans during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities v Information Commissioner (ongoing) – challenges to ICO decisions ordering the disclosure to journalists of information regarding the Government’s Towns Fund on the basis that the information relates to the formulation or development of government policy
- Nunn v Broomfield Solicitors LLP (ongoing) – GDPR claim for alleged loss of claimants’ personal data during conduct of litigation
- MO v Information Commissioner (ongoing) – challenge to ICO decision withholding the disclosure of information relating to the licensing of sex entertainment venues in Bristol
- Lloyd v Google LLC  UKSC 50 – class action claim against Google for alleged abuse of personal data.
- Advising on 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).
Procurement, European Union and Competition
Oliver has significant experience in cases involving procurement, 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 include:
- R (Good Law Project) v Minister for Cabinet Office  (SC, seeking permission) – whether the award of procurement contracts during the Covid-19 pandemic was biased (assisting Jason Coppel QC and Patrick Halliday).
- Secretary of State for Health v Servier Laboratories Ltd  UKSC 44 – to what extent findings made by the CJEU in judgments annulling an infringement decision of the EU Commission are binding in domestic private damages actions following on from that 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.
- Daimler AG v Walleniusrederier Aktiebolag  EWHC 3197 (Comm) and  EWHC 525 (Comm) – claim arising from an alleged cartel in international shipping services for roll-on roll-off cargo.
- Advising a contracting authority on whether a proposed co-operation agreement was excluded from the requirement for a competitive procurement.
- Advising a contracting authority on the lawfulness of a direct award to an economic operator in the absence of any realistic alternative.
- 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
BA Natural Sciences, Cambridge University (First)
Graduate Diploma in Law, City University (Distinction)
Bar Professional Training Course, City University (Outstanding)
Phoenicia Scholar (Bar European Group)
Postgraduate Scholar (City Law School)
Certificate of Honour (Middle Temple)
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)