Oliver Gravell


Partner

"Nothing is too top-end for him, nothing is out of his league. He's a qualified arbitrator and he keeps a lot of high net worth cases out of court."

Chambers [UK 2020]

Experience

Oliver joined Birketts in 2003. He is a Partner and Head of our Family Team, and recognised as one of the region’s leading divorce lawyers.

Oliver only qualified as a Lawyer when he was 32. Following university, graduating from Oxford University in 1981, he spent a year in Madras (now Chennai), South India, where he taught history and geography to classes of up to 70 ten and eleven year olds. He then worked for an overseas aid charity for six years, mainly in London, but spending six months living and working in a village in rural Bangladesh about 100 miles (seven hours travel) south of Dhaka. He believes that this has given him a whole range of life experiences which he has brought to his practice as a family Lawyer. He qualified as a Solicitor in October 1992 and since then has worked exclusively as a family Lawyer. He  now has 30 years experience advising clients on the financial consequences of relationship breakdown, the welfare of children and co-habitation and prenuptial agreements.   

He is committed, where possible, to finding a path through the emotions which can sometimes overwhelm people going through relationship breakdown and will always try to find non-court options in the first instance.

Oliver joined our Family Law Team in April 2003, at a time when there was only one Birketts office, from a City firm where he had been a Partner and head of the family department from 1998. Since joining Birketts in 2003 he has overseen the growth and development of the team which has been the pre-eminent family law team across East Anglia for a number of years. He has overseen the expansion of the team whilst also becoming a specialist in divorces involving farming and other family owned businesses.

He provides an excellent and personable service to the firm's existing clients as well as servicing new clients in the business sector in East Anglia, and to commuters to London. He is very highly respected for the divorce advice that he gives.

He has been a member of Resolution (previously the Solicitors’ Family Law Association) since he qualified. He now chairs the Ipswich and South Suffolk  branch of Resolution.

Since 2003 Oliver has been involved in the development of collaborative law in the UK, being one of the first 13 trained in the technique in the UK. He initiated a meeting of interested family lawyers in East Anglia in 2004 and there are now over 40 collaborative lawyers in the region.  

He sat, for a number of years, on Resolution’s National Dispute Resolution (DR) Committee which oversees all forms of non court based approaches including collaborative law, mediation and family arbitration. He subscribes wholeheartedly to the Resolution Code of Practice.

Oliver is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators having completed the family law arbitrator's course in January 2012. He is an inaugural member of the Forum for Family Arbitration and is a firm believer that family law arbitration offers a better outcome for most than going through the courts. He is also a member of the Certainty Project, which integrates mediation and arbitration into a single process.

In the autumn of 2020 he was honoured to be asked to be the only Solicitor member on the Ministry of Justice’s Working Group on amendments to the Family Procedure Rules in preparation for no fault divorces which will take over from the current regime in the middle of 2021. This committee was set up following the passing of the Divorce Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, heralding a new era of no fault divorce in England and Wales. 

Oliver is based at our Ipswich office, but is available for clients across the region and in London.

Other Information

Oliver is recommended and named as a 'Leading Individual' by Legal 500 [UK 2021]. A previous edition states that Oliver "knows the answers; he has great experience and superb judgment, and clients are calmed by his calm approach and gravitas". 

Oliver is ranked in Band 1 by Chambers [UK 2021]. A market commentator in the previous edition highlights his ability to handle high-stakes cases, saying: "Nothing is too top-end for him, nothing is out of his league. He's a qualified arbitrator and he keeps a lot of high net worth cases out of court." 

Oliver continues to play cricket despite increasing age, and is proud to have played for the Suffolk Over 50s team in the national “seniors” competition, with the team reaching the quarter finals of the national competition in both of the last two years. 

Legal 500 UK 2021 Leading Individual          

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