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Wilberforce Chambers is a market-leading pensions set that offers expertise in the full gamut of pensions law work. Members have experience of acting at all levels of the judicial system, right up to the Supreme Court. Barristers at Wilberforce often act in cases on the cutting edge of industrial change. These include high-value pensions cases for clients including large-scale employers and the Pensions Regulator. Members recently acted in British Airways v Airways Pension Scheme Trustees, a case which has had wide-reaching implications regarding the powers wielded by pension trustees. The set has also acted in the Lloyds pensions case regarding the equalisation of the Guaranteed Minimum Pension. One source says: "The barristers are reactive and commercial in terms of their advice, which is very welcome in the pensions world."
Client service: Mark Rushton is the head practice manager. "The clerks are very efficient, dependable and responsive."
Highly regarded new silk who often appears unled in significant pensions cases and specialises in professional negligence and regulatory aspects. He is experienced in appellate matters, including those before the Supreme Court.
Strengths: "He has a strong analytical ability and quickly masters large amounts of information." "He is very methodical and clear in his analysis and keeps in mind the commercial aspects of a case."
Recent work: Continued to act for Lloyds Bank in a high-profile case regarding Guaranteed Minimum Pensions equalisation.
Quality junior with a broad commercial chancery practice. He specialises in pensions and related professional negligence disputes. He has notable experience of high-stakes, document-heavy matters.
Strengths: "He is absolutely excellent and has a great manner with clients. He is good on detail but also has very good client-handling and court skills."
Recent work: Acted for the Box Clever trustee in the Upper Tribunal to resist ITV's efforts to overturn a financial support direction.
A respected pensions junior with considerable regulatory experience. He has acted in some of the most high-profile pensions disputes and trials. He has advised on high-value financial support direction actions, and related allegations of professional negligence. He is particularly known for his work defending clients against regulatory action.
Strengths: "He is exceptional – very user-friendly, incredibly hard-working and accommodating." "He has a strong analytical mind with a valuable ability to distil down and explain complex technical legal issues in plain English."
Recent work: Acted in professional negligence proceedings in the High Court, part of the long-running issues surrounding the Wandel & Goltermann pension scheme.
Brian Green QC
One of the leading lights in the pensions industry, he is frequently seen on some of the most high-profile and significant pieces of litigation. He brings well-honed advocacy skills to his litigation and offers expertise in tax and trusts law. He is noted for his experience advising on charity and legacy public sector schemes.
Strengths: "Brian effortlessly combines sharp analytical skills with a powerful sense of having seen it all before. He has a great manner in meetings with clients and has an imposing courtroom presence." "Brian is masterful in his approach. He gives clarity and ensures that no stone is left unturned when seeking solutions."
Recent work: Acted for Barnardo's in the Supreme Court in a case regarding the construction of a UK occupational pensions scheme.
A gifted and experienced pensions barrister who has appeared in several high-profile cases affecting the industry. He is often involved in long-running litigation with international elements concerning pension schemes and the Pensions Regulator. He also has prior experience of advising on professional negligence allegations.
Strengths: "He always gives the impression of having considered your questions thoroughly, even under time pressure." "Edward has a first class mind, with a considerable grasp of technical pension issues and the finer points of court procedure."
Recent work: Continued to act in the Lloyds pension scheme case regarding unequal Guaranteed Minimum Pensions.
Maintains an impressive reputation for her handling of pension matters that contain financial, actuarial or tax aspects. She is also experienced in regulatory, professional negligence and rectification issues. She is additionally noted for handling matters with an international dimension.
Strengths: "She has a sharp intellect and notable attention to detail while maintaining a strategic overview. She has an outstanding ability to grasp and argue technical financial and actuarial issues."
Recent work: Acted in a claim by the operating partner in an oil joint venture against the other partners for pensions costs.
A well-reputed chancery lawyer whose expertise in pensions is complemented by her burgeoning reputation in professional negligence. Her client roster includes representative beneficiaries, company sponsors and the Pension Protection Fund.
Strengths: "She is very user-friendly and bright. She goes the extra mile, providing excellent client service." "Thorough, authoritative and approachable."
Recent work: Acted for a representative beneficiary in response to an employer’s claim for rectification of the trust deed and rules, which mistakenly introduced generous pension increase rates.
Fenner Moeran QC
An impressive advocate, particularly well versed in pension liberation, fraud and moral hazard disputes. He frequently represents trustees, insurance companies and employers, as well as the Pensions Regulator and the government.
Strengths: "He is pragmatic, cuts to the chase and delivers opinions in the clearest terms." "He goes the extra mile and provides commercial advice with a great down-to-earth manner."
Acts for employers, trustees and scheme members in a variety of pension disputes. He has gained particular exposure to Section 75 debt claims and regulatory cases, as well as professional negligence allegations in the pensions arena.
Strengths: "He's an incredibly hard-working and technical lawyer. He has an approachable manner and a sharp intellect." "One to watch in the future."
Recent work: Appeared in the Court of Appeal for the BT Pension Scheme members regarding BT's attempts to switch annual increases from RPI to CPI, which is less favourable for the members.
An established pensions junior who is highly reputed for his diligent work ethic. He is well versed in regulatory investigations and rectification actions.
Strengths: "He brings a very well-rounded commercial litigation knowledge to a pensions case." "He has a phenomenal ability to absorb vast quantities of information and distil it all to provide clear, client-friendly, strategic advice. He is always thinking many steps ahead and has vast experience of regulatory issues."
Recent work: Acted for the Pensions Regulator in proceedings against ITV regarding the pension deficit of Box Clever, a collapsed joint venture.
Jonathan Hilliard QC
Widely regarded as the go-to barrister for technical pensions issues, he represents parties in a broad array of cases. He has significant experience in liberation, moral hazard and professional negligence matters. He is sought after by the Pensions Regulator, as well as sponsors and trustees. He has appeared in courts at all levels of the British judicial system, as well as the CJEU.
Strengths: "He is very intelligent, hard-working and a pleasure to deal with. He always provides sensible advice and is able to turn matters around speedily." "Simply superb – he examines cases forensically and presents issues clearly."
Recent work: Acted in the European Court in a case testing whether the Pension Protection Fund's cap on compensation was compatible with the Insolvency Directive.
Michael Furness QC
Enjoys broad expertise in occupational pensions and other relevant areas, including tax law and trust litigation. He is well known for engaging in international litigation in offshore jurisdictions. Trustee boards and large household-name employers seek out his counsel.
Strengths: "He is efficient and provides definitive advice on complex matters." "Michael is decisive and authoritative. It is very reassuring to have him in your corner."
Recent work: Acted in a case concerning whether ITV is liable for a deficit in the Box Clever Pension Scheme, a scheme for a former ITV business.
Michael Tennet QC
One of the leading silks for pensions, he is a master in regulatory matters and additionally specialises in actuarial issues. He is regularly seen in some of the pension industry's most high-profile and contentious cases. His broad experience includes advising trustees, employers and representative beneficiaries.
Strengths: "Mike is an extremely sharp and capable barrister, with a keen understanding of the key battlegrounds of a case. He is persuasive and to the point with his advocacy, always emphasising the crucial issues." "He is hugely knowledgeable and a brilliant strategist."
Recent work: Acted for British Airways in the Court of Appeal in a claim for a declaration that certain unilateral powers wielded by the British Airways Pension Trustees were invalid.
Paul Newman QC
Highly regarded in the industry, he acts on the full range of pension matters and is particularly recommended for high-profile, intricate cases. He acts for a diverse set of clients, including a number of FTSE 100 companies, trustees, the Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund. He is also an accomplished adviser on allegations of professional negligence.
Strengths: "He provides crystal clear analysis. He's emotionally intelligent and therefore very client-friendly." "He provides very robust advice and a willingness to stand behind it."
Recent work: Acted in Keymed v Hillman, a claim against former company directors for breach of duty and unlawful means conspiracy by a company in relation to contributions made to the company's pension scheme.
Robert Ham QC
An experienced silk with a very strong reputation in the field of chancery and associated trusts work, both at home and overseas. He is frequently sought out to provide counsel on complex pension scheme matters. He also offers expertise in associated professional negligence issues.
Strengths: "He is pragmatic, clear and commercial."
A well-regarded junior with experience in the full spectrum of pensions cases. He has advised and advocated on some of the most large-scale pensions matters including benefits indexation, equalisation and moral hazard proceedings.
Strengths: "He is dynamic, incisive and inspires confidence in clients. He has an impressive grasp of hugely complex technical issues, including actuarial issues." "He has got a real eye for detail and a very good ability to take on a huge amount of information and distil it down for clients."
Recent work: Acted in large moral hazard power proceedings brought by the Pensions Regulator against the Silentnight business and and private equity firm HIG Capital.
Enjoys a wealth of experience in regulatory, moral hazard and insolvency cases all the way up to the Supreme Court. Highly valued by the Pensions Regulator, especially for moral hazard cases. He also has experience in professional negligence cases.
Strengths: "He's a real team player, in command of the detail and surefooted in discussing strategic and substantive issues."
A highly experienced junior barrister with a broad commercial chancery practice encompassing both pensions and trusts.
Strengths: "He's commercial and pragmatic." "He's very thoughtful, with an academic approach."
Recent work: Advised the British Airline Pilots Association in the wake of the CJEU decision in Hampshire v Pensions Protection Fund.