Year of Call: 2007
Commercial Law | Discrimination & Equality | Employment | Human Rights | Professional Discipline
"A fantastic advocate." "Very impressive - a winning combination of being very efficient but also a really nice person to deal with." Chambers & Partners 2021
"Provides digestible and commercial advice that clients can rely upon." Legal 500 2021
In her daily practice, Olivia has a particularly strong reputation for discrimination, holiday pay, employment status, pensions and whistleblowing. Due to her depth of knowledge of discrimination law, Olivia represents clients in discrimination claims in the county court in the areas of Goods & Services, Education and Associations.
Olivia regularly advises and represents clients in High Court cases on matters such as wrongful dismissal, bonus claims, restrictive covenants, confidentiality as well as final and interim injunctive relief.
She is also highly sought after for her experience in undertaking internal investigations or procedures for a wide range of clients, from higher education institutions to commercial undertakings and solicitors' firms to housing associations. Olivia has also been instructed by the Labour Party on two occasions to represent the National Executive Committee in internal disciplinary processes. Olivia has conducted full investigations (interviewing witnesses, gathering evidence and producing an investigation report) as well as reaching determinations in both grievance and disciplinary matters and appeals. She also frequently acts as a legal advisor to clients in respect of their disciplinary, grievance and appeal processes.
In recent times, Olivia has advised numerous clients including schools, local authorities, fire services and private commercial companies with respect to handling changes to holiday pay for thousands of employees. She has also represented respondents (one local authority and one commercial undertaking) in two large multiple claims, each including over 400 claimants, in respect of holiday pay. One such case resulted in amendments to the terms and conditions of thousands of workers. Due to this expertise in holiday pay and working time, Olivia has appeared on BBC radio and television discussing this topic on various occasions.
Indeed, she has developed a prominent profile as a legal commentator for the media. Olivia regularly advises the BBC on their reporting of employment law issues. She appeared on BBC's Victoria Derbyshire show to discuss the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal in the case of Uber v Aslam & others. She also appeared on the six and ten o'clock BBC news commenting on the breaking judgment in the case of Paulley v First Group Buses. Olivia recently commented on the implications of Brexit for BBC 10 o'clock news and has advised journalists on the employment law implications of returning to work after lockdown.
Olivia regularly delivers training and lectures on the topics of employment status and working time (especially holiday pay) as well as returning to work post lockdown.
“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 start-up 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.”
Legal 500: "Provides digestible and commercial advice that clients can rely upon."
Chambers & Partners 2020: "She really knows the holiday pay area very well and can explain things to clients in a clear and easily understandable way." "A brilliant junior and one to watch."
Legal 500 2020: "Excellent ability to digest complex fact patterns and legal issues and to distil these into a sensible and commercial proposals for the client."
Chambers and Partners 2019: "Handles a far-reaching employment practice, specialising in discrimination claims and working time disputes. She represents clients both at Employment Tribunals and in court, and has a growing practice handling High Court litigation." "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."
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)