Overview

Our expert pensions lawyers provide high quality pensions legal advice in non-contentious and contentious matters. Our team is one of the largest in the UK, acting for over 750 clients in both the private and public sectors. We advise employers and trustees with defined benefit, defined contribution and hybrid schemes.

Our pensions lawyers support trustees to improve the governance of schemes and manage potential risks. We have extensive experience of guiding trustees through tricky issues including corporate transactions, funding negotiations (including moral hazard) and the management of past errors. 

Our pensions lawyers also advise employers on the impact of their pension obligations on their business, supporting them to achieve their corporate goals such as restructuring, scheme merger, benefit change, funding or enhanced transfer value exercises. 

Our aim is always to give clear and pragmatic advice, to draft complex documents in plain English and to be a pleasure to work with.

Areas of focus

For trustees, our expertise includes the following:

  • Innovative funding, documenting, merging and splitting of schemes.
  • Governance issues and risk management.
  • Exercising trustees' duties, powers and discretions.
  • Insolvency of the employer and assessment for the Pension Protection Fund.

For employers, our expertise includes the following:

  • Strategies for amending, reconstructing and terminating schemes, as well as scheme funding.
  • Moral hazard clearance.
  • Managing statutory debts and withdrawal arrangements.
  • Redundancy and dismissal.
Experience

Advising Western Power Distribution for many years on all aspects of its five pension arrangements (total assets in excess of £5 billion).

Advising the trustees of the AT&T ISTEL Pension Plan and the AT&T Pension Scheme on all UK pensions issues.

Advising Babcock in relation to its various defined benefit pension schemes, including in relation to the benefits to be provided to former public sector employees who transferred to Babcock.

Ongoing legal advice to the trustees of the Brunel Holdings Pension Scheme including advising on the potential exercise of moral hazard powers by the Pensions Regulator against listed parent company of the Scheme sponsor.

Advice to the trustees of First UK Bus’ large, mixed-benefit scheme on all issues including the implications of major divestment of part of bus division and steps to protect the covenant supporting the scheme.

Advising the trustees of the Great Lakes UK Limited Pension Plan in relation to the bankruptcy proceedings of the Chemtura group, the greatest regulatory repatriation of funds in 2011.

Advising the trustees of the Honda UK Pension Scheme on all legal issues including drafting complex deeds of amendment, assisting in funding negotiations, reviewing investment management agreements and advising on governance issues.

Advising the Yell (now Hibu) Pension Scheme including in respect of the restructuring of the Yell Group, leading to a successful Regulatory Clearance in this £4 billion restructuring.

Advising the QinetiQ Pension Scheme in relation to funding arrangements and restructuring including landmark hearing in the High Court.

Advising the trustees of the University of Oxford Pension Scheme on all aspects of pensions law including review of University covenant and contingent asset.

Retained legal adviser to the Wessex Water Pension Scheme.

Retained legal adviser to the AgustaWestland Pension Scheme, the Selex Pension Scheme and FuturePlanner.

Meet the team
Richard Knight

Richard Knight Partner

  • Head of Pensions
  • Pensions Services
  • Pensions Legal Advice
Michael Hayles

Michael Hayles Partner

  • Pensions
  • Public Sector Pension Schemes
  • Financial Services
Alice Honeywill

Alice Honeywill Partner

  • Pensions Services
  • Pensions Regulatory
  • Public Sector Pension Schemes
Tim Illston

Tim Illston Partner

  • Automatic Enrolment
  • Pensions Services
  • Pensions Legal Advice
Richard Pettit

Richard Pettit Partner

  • Pensions Regulatory
  • Pensions Services
  • Pensions in Northern Ireland
Clive Pugh

Clive Pugh Partner

  • Pensions Regulatory
  • Pensions Services
  • Pensions in Northern Ireland
Susannah Young

Susannah Young Partner

  • Pensions Services
  • Trustee Advice and Training
  • DC Expertise
Claire Rankin

Claire Rankin Legal Director

  • Pensions Legal Advice
  • Automatic Enrolment
  • Equality, Diversity and Discrimination