Head of Chambers | Called 1996

Oliver Woolhouse


Before starting pupillage, Oliver returned to the University of Leicester to teach the Law of Evidence and Criminal and Civil Justice to undergraduates. He also taught Commercial Law to students undertaking their Business and Accounting Degrees at the University of Loughborough. 

He immediately thereafter commenced pupillage at Bank House Chambers in Sheffield, before moving to Victoria Chambers in Birmingham. He remained there until 2003, practising in all areas, in particular Crime and Family. 

In June 2003, Oliver moved to No6 Fountain Court, the previous incarnation of Cornwall Street, where he has specialised in Criminal Law. In 2017, Oliver had the privilege of taking on the role of Head of the Criminal Team at Cornwall Street before being elevated to Head of Chambers in 2022. 

In October 2022, Oliver was ranked Leading Junior for 2023 by Legal 500. Oliver was also Band 3 ranked by Chambers & Partners. 


  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB), University of Leicester
  • Bar Vocational Course (BVC), Inns of Court School of Law, London

Oliver’s expertise

Criminal Law

Oliver has a varied and extensive practice. He is often instructed in cases involving murder, manslaughter, death by driving, arson, serious violence, serious Sexual offences, conspiracies to steal, burgle, rob and supply/traffic drugs, blackmail, false imprisonment and kidnapping.

His practice is predominantly centred around Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Stafford and court centres in the West Midlands. However, he has often undertaken work in Shrewsbury, Worcester, Stoke-on-Trent, Warwick, Leicester, Derby and Nottingham. 

He has a very strong defence practice, defending at the highest level as a Senior Junior. However, he also has significant experience prosecuting and is appointed to the CPS Advocates’ Panel at level 4, as well as the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Panel. This means he is approved to undertake a variety of work, including the most serious offences, for the Crown Prosecution Service. These include Serious Sexual offences, including historic offences, conspiracy to supply drugs and driving offences which have resulted in death or life changing injuries. 

He has been instructed as both sole and led defence counsel in cases including murder, attempted murder, serious and historic sexual abuse, group violence, drug importation and large scale conspiracies to rob and burgle. 

Oliver has particular skill and experience in dealing with vulnerable defendants, such as those with mental health issues, and witnesses in the most sensitive cases often requiring the use of intermediaries. He has completed specialist vulnerable witness handling and rape and serious sexual offences courses, and he has experience of s28 cases involving the pre-recording of evidence. 

Oliver has dealt with a significant number of cases involving a wide variety of expert evidence, including cell site analysis, DNA, facial and body mapping, forensic pathology, road accident reconstruction and fire damage. 

With a caseload varying in complexity and gravity, he has established a reputation for early and detailed preparation. He is very approachable, as well as being a determined and persuasive advocate, committed to providing the best possible service to both professional and lay clients. This includes prompt and detailed written advice, in addition to face to face advice in conference. 

He has enjoyed considerable success in the Court of Appeal, reducing sentences imposed upon clients both after trial and plea. 

Oliver accepts both private and publicly funded work. 

Notable Cases
  • R v James Bullock – (2022: Gloucester Crown Court): Prosecution. Death by dangerous driving. 
  • R v NG –  (2022: Stoke Crown Court): Defence. Sexual offences trial. Acquitted. 
  • R v BW – (2022: Wolverhampton Crown Court): Defence section 18. Acquitted. 
  • Operation Activation –  (2021: Wolverhampton Crown Court): NCA  investigated online child abuse trial. 
  • Operation Vent – (2021 Stafford): Defence in large scale drugs conspiracy. 
  • R v Philip Peace – (2021: Birmingham Crown Court): Defence Junior. Murder. Nationally reported complex baby death trial. Appeal – reported case.
  • Operation Satchel – (2021: Wolverhampton Crown Court) Defended in one of the largest scale sexual offence conspiracies in the West Midlands. 
  • R v Joseph Till – (2021: Birmingham Crown Court). Defence junior in Joint enterprise Murder. Acquitted of Murder. 
  • R v Aamer Araf – (2020/1): Wolverhampton Crown Court). Defence junior – double Attempted Murder. Nationally reported. 
  • R v Christopher Halford – (2020: Wolverhampton Crown Court). Defence Junior in joint enterprise Murder. 
  • R v Shannon Cronin – (2020: Birmingham Crown Court). Defence junior Manslaughter. 
  • R v W Smith – (2020: Stafford Crown Court). Prosecution sexual assault; child cruelty. 
  • R v MB –  (2020: Stoke Crown Court). Defence trial. Section 18 stabbing. Reported Court of Appeal case. 
  • R v Danny Cooper - (2019: Wolverhampton Crown Court) Defended. Murder trial. 
  • R v Stephen Lloyd - (2019: Wolverhampton Crown Court) Causing Death by Careless Driving whilst over the prescribed limit. The defendant faced 2 counts relating to the death of two teenagers on a motorcycle which was involved in a collision with his car. Acquitted of the offences on the indictment, convicted of excess alcohol in the alternative. 
  • R v Russell - (2019: Wolverhampton Crown Court). Defence trial involving 4 men involved in a prohibited firearms transaction during a Police covert operation. 
  • R v SW - (2019: Coventry Crown Court). Defended one of two parents charged with long term child cruelty of two children, one now an adult. Father also faced allegations of fraud in relation to falsifying the death of one of those children. 
  • R v CH - (2019: Wolverhampton Crown Court). Defended great uncle accused of sexual assault on a child. Acquitted. 
  • R v D Smith - (2019: Wolverhampton Crown Court). Defendant (and partner) of Good Character acquitted of GBH following trial. 
  • R v Gareth Cable - (2018: Wolverhampton Crown Court) Defended a man accused of Attempted Murder of his own brother. Whilst the brother did not make a complaint, the ‘stabbing’ was committed in front of two police officers and caught on Police Bodycam footage. Acquitted following retrial, the defendant having previously pleaded guilty to section 18. 
  • R v MS - (2018: Wolverhampton Crown Court) The defendant, a paraplegic, was indicted for multiple counts of historic Rape against his wife during the entirety of their 18 year marriage. 
  • R v Ali - (2018: Worcester and Birmingham Crown Courts). Defending County Lines Drug conspiracy; linked prohibited Firearms possession case. 
  • R v KK - (2018: Birmingham Crown Court). Defending father accused of sexual activity with daughter over a number of years; with additional complainants from female friends of the daughter. 
  • R v AS - (2018: Wolverhampton Crown Court). Defendant accused of Rape and assault. Acquitted of Rape following trial. 
  • R v Jamie Wall - (2018: Court of Appeal). Successfully argued a reduction in sentence relating to the defendant’s possession of and use of a police taser. Reported case. 
  • R v B (and others) - (2017: Wolverhampton Crown Court) Child Sexual Exploitation case. Defence trial which lasted for in excess of 3 months, involving multiple defendants, multiple complainants and significant 3rd party disclosure issues. The defendant had significant learning difficulties and required an intermediary, as did a number of the complainants. Upon his conviction, the sentence was reduced from 8 years to 4 years at the Court of Appeal. 
  • R v AD - (2017: Birmingham Crown Court). Defended man accused of sexual assaults upon stepdaughter. Acquitted after trial. 
  • R v JLP - (2017: Birmingham Crown Court). 45 year old man accused by his 16 year old girlfriend, of Rape. He had previously been made the subject of a restraining order against her. He admitted breaching his order by being in contact with her; but the Crown offered no evidence following cross-examination of the complainant in relation to the Rape and violence offences. 
  • R v Stacey Wheeler - (2017: Wolverhampton Crown Court). Defended young woman in relation to Bomb Hoax allegations. 
  • R v LH - (2017: Wolverhampton Crown Court). Defended man of good character accused of multiple historic child sex offences. Acquitted following trial. 
  • R v JW - (2016: Wolverhampton Crown Court). Prosecuted to conviction the trial of a man accused of multiple counts of historic child sexual abuse against a child family member committed over many years. 
  • R v David McKoy - (2016: Birmingham Crown Court). Defence trial relating to the importation of class A drugs via flights from Jamaica. Acquitted after trial. 
  • R v LB - (2016: Birmingham Crown Court). Defended one of two teenagers accused of raping a 15 year old girl at a party. Acquitted after trial. 
  • R v Robert Beech - (2016: Wolverhampton Crown Court). High profile and widely reported case in which the Defendant, along with 4 others, was jointly accused of beating an opposition supporter following a football match in Wolverhampton, who suffered a significant brain injury. After 2 weeks of evidence, the Crown accepted a guilty plea to section 4 public order offence from this defendant. 
  • R v Kareem Khan –  (2015: Wolverhampton Crown Court). Widely reported case involving multiple defendants. Following a birthday party at a venue in West Bromwich, there was a significant violent disorder involving rival gangs. The events resulted in the stabbing to death of a teenage boy. One male was convicted of Manslaughter. Khan was acquitted of any involvement in the associated violence. 
  • R v Andrelle Leedham and others – (2104: Stafford Crown Court) High profile and widely reported case involving former prison inmate conspiring to supply drugs into prison through a female prison officer with whom he had an intimate relationship. 
  • R v Ferguson/R v Scanlon – (2014: Wolverhampton and Stafford Crown Courts) Operations Summergate 1 and 2, large scale conspiracies to rob convenience stores by armed gangs through the Midlands. 
  • R v Hamilton - (2014: Wolverhampton Crown Court) Young single mother acquitted of section 18 after trial. 
  • R v Aiden Elmore - (2013: Wolverhampton Crown Court). Led Junior in Murder by Arson trial. 
  • R v Walker and others – (2012: Wolverhampton Crown Court) Operation alleging large scale conspiracy to burgle and steal high value motor vehicles. Case involved analysis of a large volume of mobile phone and cell site data. Involved multiple defendants and 48 individual burglaries. Defendant acquitted following 3 month trial. 

Legal500 2023 – Leading Junior in General Crime – “Oliver always has a complete grasp of the details of the case and is able to bring sound tactical judgment. He has expert client care skills”

Professional Memberships
  • Criminal Bar Association 
  • Midland Circuit 
  • The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
  • Crown Prosecution Service Panel: Grade 4 
  • Crown Prosecution Service Specialist Panel: RASSO