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Oliver Holland

Partner

Oliver specialises in international cases involving multinational corporations where environmental harm or human rights abuses have been alleged

Corporate accountability Modern slavery

Oliver is a partner in the international department.

Oliver specialises in multi-party litigation including international cases against multinational corporations where environmental harm or human rights abuses have been alleged. He has expertise in representing claimants in foreign jurisdictions as well as advising on modern slavery cases that involve the use of forced and child labour. He has extensive experience in UK group litigation including representing claimants against car manufacturers in relation to the ‘dieselgate’ scandal. 

Legal expertise

Oliver’s current cases include:

  • Oliver is representing over 10,000 Malawian tobacco farmers and their children in the High Court in their claim against British American Tobacco Plc and Imperial Brands plc in respect of claims of forced and child labour on farms allegedly supplying tobacco to the companies (Milasi Josiya & 7,262 Others v British American Tobacco PLC & Others)
  • He is also representing Nepali and Bangladeshi electronic factory workers in their claims against Dyson as a result of allegations of forced labour in their supply chain amongst other modern slavery related cases.
  • Oliver represents Jaguar and Land Rover drivers and Mercedes drivers in their claims against the car manufacturers as a result of allegations relating to ‘dieselgate’ in one of the largest group litigation actions ever proceeding in the English courts.

Notable past cases that Oliver has worked on include:

  • In 2015 he represented over 15,000 Nigerian fisher folk for the loss and damage they suffered as a result of two oil spills that occurred in late 2008 in Bodo Community in the Niger Delta. Shell agreed a compensation package of £55m to compensate the Claimants (The Bomu-Bonny Oil Pipeline Litigation).
  • In April 2019 he represented over 1800 Zambian villagers in the Supreme Court where the claimants obtained a landmark judgment on jurisdiction and parent company liability, allowing the claims to proceed in the English courts (Lungowe & Others v Vedanta Resources Limited & Konkola Copper Mines).
  • He represented Sierra Leoneans in a legal action against Tonkolili Iron Ore Ltd regarding claims the company was complicit in human rights abuses by the police (Kadie Kalma & Others v African Minerals Ltd & Tonkolili Iron Ore (SL) Ltd). The claims went to trial at the beginning of 2018 which included the Judge hearing evidence from witnesses in Sierra Leone.
  • He has represented Bangladeshi shipbreaking workers in pioneering legal cases against British shipping companies who send their vessels to Bangladesh to be broken up in extremely hazardous conditions (Mohammed Edris v Zodiac Maritime and Hamida Begum (on behalf of MD Khalil Mollah) v Maran (UK) Limited). This included a landmark Court of Appeal decision in Begum v Maran (UK) Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 326 where the Court held positively for the claimants in relation to liability in tort for harm caused by third parties.

What the directories say

He has nous beyond his years and knows which buttons to press to get under the skin of his opponents. Great with clients and super cool under pressure.

Legal 500 2022

 Oliver Holland in the news

  • Dyson faces legal action over ‘forced labour’ and exploitation Channel 4 News 10.2.22
  • Is Turkey’s economy heading towards another recession? Al Jazeera 17.4.21
  • Recent UK Court of Appeal judgment may lead to greater accountability of companies hiding behind complex supply chains Business & Human Rights Resource Centre 2.4.21
    FTSE 100 firm faces landmark modern slavery legal challenge Personnel Today November 2019
  • Children under 13 picked coffee beans for Starbucks and Nespresso Metro March 2020
  • Children as young as eight picked  coffee beans on farms supplying Starbucks The Guardian March 2020
  • Breaking Bad – Uncovering The Oil Industry’s Dirty Secret BBC March 2020
  • Zambians can pursue mining pollution claim in English courts The Guardian April 2019
  • End of the liner – deadly boat graveyards where kids as young as eights risk their lives The Sun September 2019
  • Child labour claim brought against British American Tobacco The Times October 2019
  • Vedanta’s London exit fails to stem scrutiny of Indian miner The Financial Times October 2018
  • Leigh Day demands answers after lawyer arrest in Zambia Gazette January 2017

Accreditations

News and blogs

Blog Post
EU Flags Outside European Commission Building
International corporate sustainability EU

EU Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence: no plans for replication in the UK

Anna Barr and Oliver Holland, from our international department, follow up on their blog on the EU Corporate Due Diligence and Corporate Accountability Directive and express their disappointment that the UK government does not plan to replicate the directive.

Blog Post
Uyghur Village
International Forced labour Uyghur

Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region: activists, campaigners and lawyers call for urgent action in the European Parliament

Oliver Holland and Claire Powell from the International Department report on the work of the Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labour and their attendance at the recent public panel event at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Blog Post
Sewing Machine 1 (1)
Forced labour International human rights Malaysia

Forced labour in UK companies’ supply chains: is a UK due diligence law the answer?

Oliver Holland and Ella Cornish discuss what the UK can do to catch up with global moves to halt the import of goods manufactured by the use of forced labour.

News Article
Dyson
Dyson Human rights International Malaysia

Dyson accused of forced labour and dangerous conditions by migrant workers in Malaysian factory

A group of migrant workers who worked in a factory in Malaysia which predominantly manufactured products for Dyson have launched legal claims against Dyson relating to allegations of extensive violations of their legal rights including forced labour, physical and psychological injuries, false imprisonment, cruel and degrading treatment and exposure to extremely hazardous working conditions.

What the directories say

Oliver Holland’s recent promotion to partner is thoroughly deserved and appropriate: he is a shrewd lawyer who is brilliant with clients.

Legal 500 2021