Wilberforce Chambers

Pensions Department

London (Bar)
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A full-service pensions law group, much in demand among regulators, trustees, scheme sponsors and other interested parties. Its instructions relate to a vast array of issues including alleged wrongful calculation, breach of duty, pensions increases, pensions liberation scams, the rectification of documents and the equalisation of benefits. In addition to offering representation in courtroom trials members dispense innovative advice with respect to the construction of pension schemes and related issues. A recent highlight was Barnardo's v Buckinghamshire and Others, an appeal to the Supreme Court regarding whether trustees have the power to switch the index for increases to pensions from RPI to CPI. A solicitor interviewee portrays Wilberforce as "a well-organised set which has a real, coherent focus on pensions."

Client service

"Very professional. The clerks are great. Everything runs smoothly." "The clerks are a class act. They make an effort to find out about the clients' businesses and cases." Mark Rushton is the head clerk.

Strengths

Andrew Mold
Highly regarded junior 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.
"An experienced junior with strong pensions expertise. He is exceptional on paper and can dissect really complex points in a way which courts can readily follow." "Very bright."
Recent work: Acted for Lloyds in relation to proceedings brought alleging sex discrimination in the provision of pension benefits under a number of its pension schemes.

Strengths

Benjamin Faulkner
Promising 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.
"He is very hard-working and gets on top of technical stuff very quickly." "Very bright."
Recent work: Acted in IBM v Stuart Dalgleish, a dispute relating to savings that IBM sought to make by reducing members' benefits under the company pension scheme.

Strengths

Bobby Friedman
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 the targets of regulatory action.
"He is impressive on his feet in court and he provides clear, pragmatic legal advice in conference." "Enthusiastic and technically excellent."
Recent work: Acted in Hague v Rowanmoor, a High Court claim brought by the trustees and members of a pension scheme against a pension scheme administrator, alleging negligence and breaches of duty.

Strengths

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.
"An intuitive lawyer who has a deep understanding of pensions law." "Excellent on his feet in court and very clear in his delivery of complex arguments. He commands the judge's attention." "Knowledgeable, supportive to clients and brilliantly innovative."
Recent work: Acted in Safeway v Newton, a dispute about whether retrospective amendment power can level down pension ages levelled up during the Barber window.

Strengths

Edward Sawyer
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 Regulator. He also has prior experience of advising on professional negligence allegations.
"A good strategist who comes up with good ideas to drive things forward. He is very bright, accessible and user-friendly." "Incredibly hard-working." "He has a great eye for detail and never misses a point."
Recent work: Acted in litigation involving Lloyds and the equalisation of benefits in respect of guaranteed minimum pensions.

Strengths

Emily Campbell
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.
"Very bright, user-friendly and very responsive. Clients trust in her." "She has a thorough and diligent approach."
Recent work: Acted in Barnardo's v Buckinghamshire and Others, an appeal to the Supreme Court on the question of whether trustees have the power to change the index for increases to pensions from RPI to CPI.

Strengths

Emily McKechnie
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.
"Very easy to work with and very bright. She is on top of the pensions material from a technical perspective." "Very personable."
Recent work: Acted in BBC v Bradbury, a dispute about the right of an employer to cap pay for pensionable purposes.

Strengths

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.
"A very good advocate who always has the ear of the court. He comes across extremely well." "Quick at coming to intelligent solutions and a pleasure to work with."
Recent work: Represented Carey Pensions on a SIPP wrongful advice claim.

Strengths

James McCreath
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.
"Very hard-working and bright." "Incredibly user-friendly. He is dedicated to doing whatever he can to assist both the clients and his instructing solicitors."
Recent work: Acted for ITV in resisting an attempt by the Pensions Regulator to impose liability on it for the pensions deficit in the pension scheme of a joint venture it participated in.

Strengths

James Walmsley
An established pensions junior who is highly reputed for his diligent work ethic. He is well versed in regulatory investigations and rectification actions.
"Very responsive and technically brilliant." "A superb logical thinker and a delight to work with."
Recent work: Acted for the Pensions Regulator in a case relating to its first exercise of its Section 15 and Section 16 powers concerned with recovering funds for pension schemes where parties have been involved in the misappropriation of scheme assets.

Strengths

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 phenomenal brainpower. His work is tremendous and nothing fazes him. He is very bright and very hard-working." "A joy to work with."
Recent work: Acted for the Pensions Regulator in connection with an alleged pension liberation scheme.

Strengths

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.
"Very experienced, excellent on paper and a strong advocate. He has real gravitas." "Intellectually he is incredibly strong and very good on the detail. He is also incredibly user-friendly."
Recent work: Advised the trustees of the Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund on various issues concerning the interpretation of the scheme rules.

Strengths

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.
"Very bright, well respected and a good advocate. He is great to work with." "He provides well-structured advice which is readily comprehensible, commercial and robust."
Recent work: Acted in connection with a large claim for rectification of Honda pension scheme documents.

Strengths

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 employers, trustees, the Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund. He is also an accomplished adviser on allegations of professional negligence.
"He impresses with his rigorous analysis of the law." "A first-rate litigator." "Very sharp and practical. He expresses his opinion in a user-friendly form."
Recent work: Acted in Marathon Oil v Centrica Resources, a Commercial Court trial involving a claim by an operator under a UK offshore oil and gas contract to recover pension deficit contributions from the non-operating participants.

Strengths

Robert Ham QC
A much-admired 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.
"Very bright and always pragmatic. Clients adore his easy manner."

Strengths

Sebastian Allen
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.
"Very personable, client-friendly and hard-working." "A clear-headed, resourceful junior with strong advocacy skills."
Recent work: Acted for British Airways in a trial against its pension scheme trustees relating to the exercise of discretionary powers.

Strengths

Thomas Robinson
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.
"A skilled advocate and negotiator who consistently provides clear, pragmatic legal advice." "Super-bright."
Recent work: Acted for the Pensions Regulator in a Financial Support Direction case against Nortel Networks relating to a scheme deficit of £2.1 billion.

Strengths

Thomas Seymour
A highly experienced junior barrister with a broad commercial chancery practice encompassing both pensions and trusts.
"Very thorough analysis. He thinks outside the box and is inventive in terms of looking for solutions." "He really knows his stuff."
Recent work: Acted for the scheme targets in connection with the Coats Pension Plan and a proposed Financial Support Direction.