Olivia Checa-Dover

Olivia Checa-Dover


Year of call: 2007

Call clerks: 0113 297 1200

Email clerks: clerks@kbwchambers.com

  • Recommendations

    Legal 500 2020 and 2019: ‘Her ability to turn around instructions under the most relentless pressure is unmatched.’

    Legal 500 2018: Extremely bright, with a persuasive advocacy style.’

    Legal 500 2017: ‘She has an exceptionally sharp mind and an eye for detail.’

    Practice Summary

    Olivia is a police law specialist.

    Significant experience representing Chief Constables in actions against the police involving allegations of false imprisonment, personal injury claims, malicious prosecution and cases arising out of the seizure and disposal of property.

    Represents interested persons in inquests relating to deaths in police custody and prisons, including the representation of an Assistant Chief Constable and three police constables in a two-week inquest involving highly complex procedural and causation issues.

    Olivia has vast experience of acting in Police Misconduct Hearings, Special Case Hearings and Police Disciplinary Appeals across the country. She has extensive knowledge of the procedures involved prior to the hearing, e.g. arguments relating to evidence admissibility, and is able to advise swiftly on the same in order to achieve the most favourable outcome. Olivia also sits as a Legally Qualified Chair. More about Olivia’s regulatory practice can be found on the Regulatory tab above.

    Regularly instructed to represent the police in employment tribunal claims, with a specialism in discrimination cases, work-related stress and constructive dismissal arising out of alleged bullying and/or victimisation.

    Substantial amount of experience in disclosure applications relating to family proceedings, both requesting evidence filed in Family Law proceedings and resisting orders made by the Family Court for disclosure from the police during ongoing investigations (C2 applications).

    Greatly experienced in applications for sexual harm prevention orders, sexual risk orders, injunctions to prevent gang-related violence, football banning orders, cash forfeiture and appeals against the revocation or refusal to grant firearms/shotgun licences.

    Notable Cases

    Fatal Shooting of Yassar Yaqub

    National Undercover Policing Inquiry

    Leading junior in Rashid v CCWYP


    Presenting counsel in the police misconduct case arising out of the death in custody of Mark Needham



    Equality Act Claims Against the Police (Westlaw Insight article) [2013]

  • Recommendations

    Legal 500 2020 and 2019: ‘Her ability to turn around instructions under the most relentless pressure is unmatched.’

    Legal 500 2018: Extremely bright, with a persuasive advocacy style.’

    Legal 500 2017: ‘She has an exceptionally sharp mind and an eye for detail.’

    Practice Summary

    Inquests and Public Inquiries

    Olivia has extensive experience of inquests and, more recently, public inquiries, with a particular specialism in deaths in police custody or during imprisonment. Olivia’s experience includes lengthy inquests involving complex causation issues and legal argument relating to scope and permissible jury directions. Further, Olivia acts for bereaved families and has particular experience of the sensitivity required during inquests touching upon the death of a child, through professional instruction or on a direct access basis.

    Police Misconduct

    Olivia’s significant regulatory experience includes sitting as a Legally Qualified Chair in police misconduct hearings. She additionally acts for both the Appropriate Authority and accused officers, with PAT experience acting on both sides. Olivia regularly presents misconduct cases involving allegations of sexual abuse, violence and other serious breaches of professional standards. Olivia was recently led in one of the most complicated misconduct cases involving child sexual exploitation ever heard.

    Judicial Review

    Olivia conducts judicial review work in all areas with a particular interest in the review of decisions impacting on disabled persons and also those relating to family law.

    Areas of Expertise

    • Inquests and Public Inquiries
    • Disciplinary work
    • Judicial Review


    Notable Cases

    Fatal Shooting of Yassar Yaqub

    National Undercover Policing Inquiry

    Presenting counsel in the police misconduct case arising out of the death in custody of Mark Needham


    Inquest touching upon the death of Robert Dean Ward

    Represented the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police in this two-week Article 2 inquest raising problematic issues of causation, lawfulness of an arrest and the use of force. The jury returned a narrative verdict in which no causal link was identified between the police’s involvement and the death of Mr. Ward.

    Inquest touching upon the death of William Mead

    Represented SERCO in this tragic case of the death of a baby from sepsis. William had been ill for some time. The inquest explored the role his GPs and the out of hours “NHS 111” service had played in the events leading to his death. The Coroner heard from one of the nation’s leading pediatricians and a number of medical experts.


    Police Appeals Tribunal – DS Trevor Gray [April 2014]

    Successful appeal of DS Gray’s dismissal following a finding of gross misconduct in the form of sexual assaults and rape at first instance.

    The Police Appeals Tribunal allowed DS Gray’s appeal and reinstated him to his rank as Sergeant, ordering the police to reimburse him for his lost pay following his dismissal as well as placing him in the same financial position (including pension entitlement) he would have been had he maintained continuous employment throughout that period.


    Judicical Review – Stocksbridge Leisure Centre [June 2013]

    Instructed in a judicial review (with Helen Mountfield QC as leading counsel) against the decision of Sheffield City Council to close the Stocksbridge Leisure Centre.  The grounds included, inter alia, the Council’s failure to consider the implications of the proposed closure on the disabled and elderly members of the surrounding community. The application for judicial review resulted in the community being able to keep the Leisure Centre under a new scheme.


    Inquest – death of pilot Chris Penistone [November 2011]

    Represented the Civil Aviation Authority during a week-long inquest into the death of Chris Penistone, an aerobatic pilot killed whilst conducting a solo show having already performed twice that day. Evidence was very technical in nature and the consequences for the CAA could have been far-reaching.


  • Recommendations

    Legal 500 2020: ‘She is clear and methodical preparation and grasps the issues well. Olivia handles hostile parents well in cross examination and is a seasoned advocate.’

    Legal 500 2018: ‘A seasoned advocate’

    Legal 500 2017: Her charm connects her with professional and lay clients alike.’

    Legal 500 2016: ‘Experienced in cases involving vulnerable witnesses.’

    Chambers and Partners 2016: ‘She is very down to earth and very good with witnesses.’

    Legal 500 2015: ‘Well prepared, clear, concise and approachable.’

    Chambers & Partners 2015: recommended for Family/Matrimonial proceedings.

    Handles the full range of family law matters, with a particular specialism in sensitive public and private law children cases. She is instructed on behalf of a wide variety of parties, but has specialist experience in representing vulnerable victims of sexual abuse.’

    ‘She is excellent in the way she deals with clients.’

    ‘She is very prompt with attendance notes and good with her clients as well, particularly in children matters.’

    Legal 500 [2014] ‘recommended for public and private law children proceedings.’

    Legal 500 [2013] ‘recommended for her approach to care proceedings.’

    Practice Summary

    Olivia practises in all areas of family law with an emphasis on public and private law children proceedings. Olivia is head of the family law team in Chambers. She has a loyal client base of family law practitioners across the region.

    Public Law

    • Acts for Local Authorities, parents, Guardians and interveners.
    • Experienced in particularly sensitive care proceedings, including those heard in the High Court due to legal complexity and/or the death of a child. Has a wealth of experience in both alleged and serious non-accidental injury cases and proceedings set in unusual or sensitive cultural context.
    • Experienced in detailed cross-examination of expert witnesses.
    • Has particular interest in Court of Protection work.
    • Acted for Applicants and Respondents in applications for Forced Marriage Protection Orders.

    Private Law

    • Regularly acts for applicants and respondents in a wide range of s.8 applications, with particular experience of representing victims of sexual abuse who are initially reluctant, or even unable, to provide full instructions.
    • Is regularly instructed to represent clients seeking contact in the context of another parent implacably resistant to such contact taking place.
    • Has experience of adoption applications made by family members.

    Notable Cases

    • Represented a mother accused of fabricating illnesses in her children, an allegation disproved through the use of expert evidence and the marshalling of voluminous medical records in an attempt to ascertain which, if any, purported illnesses had linked objective evidence supporting its legitimacy;
    • We were ultimately able to ascertain expert evidence that contradicted the Local Authority’s assertions that Mother was deliberately fabricating illnesses;
    • Represented a mother during protracted care proceedings where she and her partner were named in the pool of potential perpetrators of almost fatal non-accidental injuries, including multiple fractures and retinal haemorrhages, sustained over an extended period of time to a baby. Case involved complex causation issues, most notably the presence of another illness which had the potential to mask the symptoms of the alleged non-accidental injuries to a non-perpetrator;
    • Representation of the child in a case of multiple non-accidental fractures, involved chairing experts’ meetings relating to complex issues of causation;
    • Experience of representation of families from the Roma Gypsy community;
    • Experience of representing parents with severe mental health difficulties;
    • Represented a mother during care proceedings arising out of a suspected skull fracture sustained by Mother’s baby whilst in her care. The case has a number of complicating features, both medical (conflicting expert evidence) and social in nature;
    • Represented a mother in private law proceedings relating to a child conceived between first cousins, arising out of an alleged rape.


    • ‘Mental Capacity: Ten Years the Wiser?’ Family Law Journal, June 2014
    • ‘The Limits of Confidence – an article on the varying rights to be balanced when considering witness anonymity.’ Family Law Journal, May 2013
    • ‘Addressing the ‘necessity’ of expert evidence.’ Lexis PSL Family [Lexis Nexis] 29th April 2013



    Family Law Bar Association

  • Equality and Human Rights

    Equality law specialist regularly instructed in discrimination cases in the fields of, inter alia, education, transport and retail.  Often asked to advise at a very early stage to assess potential merits and to recommend next steps, for example whether a referral to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator is appropriate in education cases.

    Experience ranges from the most protracted courses of discrimination and victimisation taking place in an employment context to isolated incidents, such as the refusal of access to transport.


    Accepts instructions in all areas of employment law, acting for both claimants and respondents in the Tribunal and EAT.

    Specialises in cases of discrimination of all kinds, with an emphasis on disability and sex discrimination. Experience includes unfair dismissal as a result of protected disclosures, constructive dismissal and applications for interim relief. Particular familiarity with the law on disparity of treatment in unfair dismissal cases.

    Is happy to accept instructions to act for litigants in the Scottish Employment Tribunal, having experience of the same.

    Areas of Expertise

    • Discrimination of all types;
    • Constructive Dismissal;
    • Unfair Dismissal;
    • Interim Relief;
    • Equality Act claims in the Count Court.


    Reported Cases

    Chief Constable of West Yorkshire v Farrand [2015] All ER (D) 287 (Feb)

    Acted for the Respondent in this successful appeal advanced on the basis the ET had fallen into error in concluding that transferring the claimant to a new role (which she never in practice took up) amounted to a breach of section 21 EqA without more. The question was whether the new role would involve a failure to make reasonable adjustments or not and the ET had not addressed that question.


    Kay v. Cheadle Royal Healthcare Ltd. T/A Affinity Healthcare [2011] All ER (D) 05 (Nov)

    Successfully resisted an appeal based on disparity of treatment in an unfair dismissal claim.


    Taylor v TUI

    Successfully represented a Claimant bringing an action against Thompson holidays for breaches of their duties under the Equality Act 2010, including disability related discrimination and failure to make reasonable adjustments.


    4SLC v Sheffield City Council

    The decision of Sheffield City Council to close a leisure centre widely used by disabled persons and the elderly was reversed following a judicial review of the same. The principal grounds of review were that the Council had failed to properly consider the effect the closure would have on those protected under the Equality Act 2010.



    Equality Act Claims Against the Police (Westlaw Insight article)

  • Practice Summary

    Significant experience of personal injury claims arising out of industrial disease with an emphasis on noise exposure and asbestosis/mesothelioma cases.

    Employers’ liability experience extends beyond industrial disease and includes claims based on health and safety legislation, most regularly the provision and use of work equipment.

    Advises, settles pleadings and represents parties in cases of occupiers’ liability.

    Routinely instructed in applications for interim relief, applications for relief from sanctions, disposal hearings, stage 3 hearings and claims involving credit hire.

    Happy to provide written advice and/or settle pleadings within very tight time constraints.

    Areas of Expertise

    • Industrial Disease;
    • Actions against the Police;
    • Employers’ Liability;
    • Occupiers’ Liability;
    • Professional Negligence.

  • Legal 500 2019: ‘Her ability to turn around instructions under the most relentless pressure is unmatched.’

    Legal 500 2018: Extremely bright, with a persuasive advocacy style.’

    Legal 500 2017: ‘She has an exceptionally sharp mind and an eye for detail.’


    Olivia has extensive experience acting in inquests, with particular expertise in cases involving complex causation issues.

    Notable cases include acting for SERCO in the inquest touching upon the death of William Mead, a 12-month-old boy who died of sepsis following the family’s contact with NHS 111; and acting for the father in an inquest relating to the death of his baby son, who died in the care of the baby’s mother.

    Olivia also has experience of public inquiries and is presently instructed in the National Undercover Policing Inquiry.

  • Called to the Bar 2007/Lincoln’s Inn


    • University of Durham LLB (Hons): 2:1
    • BPP Law School (Bar Vocational Course): Outstanding
    • Recipient of the Buchanan Prize
    • Pupil of Ian Skelt and Amanda Denton, KBW



    • Recorder
    • Legally Qualified Chair of Police Misconduct Hearings
    • External Assessor with the College of Policing
    • Deputy District Judge