Year of Call: 2007
Commercial Law | Discrimination & Equality | Employment | Human Rights | Regulatory
"Cool, calm and professional." "She has a real eye for detail and a winning style with clients. She is terrifically smart and a real pleasure to work with." “She is brilliant, very personable and charming.” Chambers and Partners
In her daily practice, Olivia has extensive experience of a broad range of employment disputes, both in the civil courts and tribunals. She also has experience of discrimination claims in the county court. Olivia has a particularly strong reputation for discrimination, working time and whistleblowing and is developing a thriving practice in High Court employment litigation.
Since 2015, Olivia has cemented her reputation as one of the go-to juniors in respect of working time matters. She has recently advised numerous companies with respect to handling changes to holiday pay for thousands of employees and has acted in various multiple claims arising from recent holiday pay judgments. Due to this expertise, Olivia has appeared on BBC radio and television discussing this topic on various occasions - See Olivia's BBC News interview by clicking on this link
Olivia has developed a prominent profile as a legal commentator and has recently been asked to comment on and advise the BBC on the concept of employment status and Brexit. She apeared on BBC's Victoria Derbyshire show in November 2017 to discuss the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal in the case of Uber v Aslam & others. Olivia's recent commentary on the implications of Brexit for BBC 10 o'clock news is available by clicking on this link
Olivia also has a sound appellate practice, having appeared as junior counsel in both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal in cases of great significance: X v Mid Sussex CAB and British Gurkha Welfare Society & Others v Ministry of Defence, which she continued to be instructed in right up to the European Court of Human Rights. Olivia is due to appear in the Supreme Court again in late 2018 as junior counsel in a case involving disability discrimination and pensions. Olivia also appears regularly in the EAT.
Olivia is a courageous advocate with a strong court presence. She is very thorough in her preparation, sharp in her cross examination and has a reassuring but no-nonsense approach when advising clients. For these reasons, she is popular with lay clients and professional clients alike, who request her time and again, as the testimonials below demonstrate.
“Olivia Dobbie is a rare breed of barrister who is dogged, positive and upbeat, excellent with clients and a brilliant advocate in Court. She is a terrific drafter of pleadings both claims and defences acting for both Claimants and Respondents. She is approachable and friendly and is a terrific worker always responsive and willing to work long hours. Her broad range of work spans unfair dismissal, tricky race, disability and sex discrimination cases and breach of contract including restrictive covenants and large wrongful dismissal claims. But most importantly she is an eminently lovely person. I feel privileged to work with her and for her to represent my clients.”
"Olivia is always our first port of call on employment matters, and we have instructed her on a number of matters in the past three years. We have always found her excellent, as she is very quick on her feet and she has proven herself a seasoned cross-examiner. She is also exceptionally user-friendly as a barrister, partly because of her expertise and partly because she gets on very well with our clients. She is also able to break complex matters down easily for them.”
“I would recommend Olivia to anyone looking for a stand-out barrister who is not only extremely knowledgeable but an excellent advocate and very approachable. Knows her stuff and someone I would always want on my side!”
“Olivia has been advising my startup companies and entrepreneur colleagues on commercial legal matters for over five years. She always gets right to the heart of the matter and finds the most practical solutions to even the most complex issues. I would highly recommend Olivia for any engagement.”
Chambers and Partners 2018: “She is brilliant, very personable and charming.”
Chambers and Partners 2017: "She is excellent at getting on top of the brief and provides strategic advice for success at tribunal." "She has a calm, structured approach to advice, providing absolute clarity in opinion"
Chambers and Partners 2016: "Described by respondents as a barrister "who is going places" she has a strong reputation for her "great experience and cool head." She is a sought-after advocate for a range of employment disputes. "She is meticulous in preparation and very effective in cross-examination, leaving no stone unturned". "A clear, thorough and strong advocate."
Chambers and Partners 2015: "Her work is at a high level and she always goes the extra mile." "Approachable, commercial and able to turn around complex instructions in a short timescale."
Chambers and Partners 2014: "The amount of preparation that goes into her work is impressive. No stone was left unturned." and "I am particularly impressed with her closing written submissions; they are amongst the best that I've ever read."
Chambers and Partners 2013: "user-friendly, commercial and tenacious"
Appointments and memberships
Industrial Law Society
Discrimination Law Association
Employment Law Bar Association
Publications and training
Adviser magazine, October 2015: Holiday Pay: What should you be advising employees?
Oxford Human Rights Hub, June 2015: Lee v Ashers Bakery: Cake Now or Cake Later?
ELA Briefing, February 2015: How far can a Tribunal go to assist a litigant in person?
Solicitor's Journal, Half Year Review, 2013: Treated Equally
Discrimination Law Handbook, Legal Action Group (practitioner's text), 2013, author of three chapters
ELA Briefing, June 2011: Exploring Combined Discrimination
Practical Law Company (online) 2011 section on Some Other Substantial Reason
Counsel Magazine, December 2008: ‘Discrimination: Sidelined by Semantics'.
Counsel Magazine, April 2007: ‘An End to the Blame Culture?'
London Law Review, October 2006: ‘The Compatibility of a Bill of Rights in a Deliberative Democracy'
King's College London (LLB Law with honours)
Middle Temple, Blackstone Scholarship
University of Bologna (Italy), Study Scholarship – Human Rights
• Guimaraes v Findlater & Ors UKEAT 0236/16/3101  Employment Status
• Nawaz v BG Consulting Group Limited UKEAT/0088/17  Cutting and pasting from counsel's submissions – bias?
• British Gurkha Welfare Society & Others v Ministry of Defence (2017), European Court of Human Rights, application number 44818/11 Discrimination in pensions
• British Gas Services v Basra  1 ICR D5
• Centrewest London Buses Limited v Spencer  UKEAT/0481/12 (Tolley's Employment Handbook 2014 and Westlaw)
• X v Mid Sussex CAB and Ors  2 CMLR 16,  ICR 249
• X v Mid Sussex CAB and Ors  ICR 460,  2 CMLR 18,  IRLR 335
• Hine & Another v Talbot & Others (2011) UKEATPA/1783/10/SM
• British Gurkha Welfare Society & Others v Ministry of Defence  EWCA Civ 1098  All ER (D) 131 (Oct)
• British Gurkha Welfare Society & Others v Ministry of Defence  EWHC 3 (Admin)