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Stephenson Harwood

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Work 020 7329 4422
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Helena Berman

Work 0207 809 2196
Stephenson Harwood

Work Department

Commercial litigation


With over 20 years’ experience in complex high value pensions and contentious trust disputes, Helena is recognised as a leading industry figure. She is regularly called upon by clients and peers for opinion on some of the most complex contentious issues.  Helena acts for corporates, trustees, financial services firms, financial institutions, insurers and private individuals.  

Helena has acted on a number of high profile reported cases and has successfully challenged orthodox thinking on important issues such as the law of limitation and construction of trust documents. She is particularly adept at defending trustee advisers in professional negligence claims and she continues to surpass client expectations. Helena is considered an expert on construction and rectification of trust documents. She is also experienced in acting where trustees have fraudulently misappropriated trust assets and advising trustees who find themselves drawn into UK matrimonial proceedings.

Helena sits on the Pensions Litigation Committee of the Association of Pensions Lawyers and is regularly asked to speak at industry leading conferences and to contribute to industry publications.

London: Human resources


Within: Leading individuals

Helena Berman (dispute resolution) - Stephenson Harwood

Within: Pensions

Stephenson Harwood 'has an excellent reputation in the pensions litigation market' with team co-head and 'tremendous litigatorHelena Berman, the 'first-rate and strategically brilliantJenny McKeown and the 'brilliant' co-head Philip Goodchild making the group 'a first choice for clients'. Recent mandates include representing the representative beneficiary of the BT Pension Scheme in proceedings opposing the BT's application to change the scheme's price index, acting for Honda Motor Europe and Honda of the UK Manufacturing in rectification claims, and representing the trustees of the Barnardo's Staff Pension Scheme in the Supreme Court in a claim relating to indexing issues. The non-contentious group is led by the 'knowledgeable and experiencedMark Catchpole; he advised Bic Pension Scheme on issues relating to benefits payable to different member classes and assisted the Bank of Montreal with the introduction of new arrangements. Clients also single out senior associate Naeem Noor, who 'always delivers'.

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London: Insurance

Professional negligence

Within: Professional negligence

Stephenson Harwood’s ‘experienced team’ is ‘very switched on, very able’ and provides ‘excellent commercial advice’ for claimants and defendants across a range of professional negligence disputes. The team is representing the National House-Building Council in a £41m claim against its former auditor and tax adviser, PwC; advising Mark Weiss Limited and Mark Weiss in a $10.8m case against Sotheby's relating to the sale of a painting which is now alleged to be a forgery; and acting for Mercer, Sedgwick Noble Lowndes and Sedgwick Financial Services in a £10m pensions tax negligence case arising out of the Sea Containers chapter 11 insolvency proceedings. Among the team, Andrew Myers is noted for property-related disputes; regulatory litigator Tony Woodcock is ‘excellent’; the ‘incredibly cleverRichard Garcia is active in finance-related disputes; Helena Berman is ‘absolutely first-rate, brings a huge amount to any case’ and is active across a range of pensions, trusts, legal and tax-related cases; and recently promoted partner Kate Cordery has ‘plenty of energy and verve and is a clear thinker who inspires confidence’. Senior associates Guy Harper and Paul Hollands are also recommended. Roland Foord and Stephen Roberts, who is ‘very commercial, bright, is able to see the wood for the trees’ and is ‘not afraid of arguing his point in the most charming of ways’, head the team.

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London: Private client

Contentious trusts and probate

Within: Contentious trusts and probate

Stephenson Harwood has ‘assembled a highly talented and effective contentious trusts team’. The ‘highly experiencedJenny McKeown  is ‘tenacious and pragmatic; she manages her team and clients extremely well and leaves no stone unturned in the quest to get the right answer and then a win for her client’. The ‘commercial and constructive’ Helena Berman is also recommended. At associate level Kasia Sikora-Sikorski has a ‘keen eye for detail and an absolute mastery of the facts’. Alice Scott-Gatty is ‘really excellent with a strategic insight of someone many years her senior’ and Peter Gillis  is ‘insightful, commercial and pays good attention to detail’.  In a complex and multi-jurisdictional matter the team is acting for the Ong family who claimed that the house in which they once lived was the subject of a trust in which they are the beneficiaries. The ‘slick’ group routinely advises high-net-worth clients on a broad range of contentious trusts and probate matters frequently with an offshore element.

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Legal Developments by:
Stephenson Harwood

  • Companies should plan now to minimise their pension protection levy

    The amount that pension schemes have to pay to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) for the year 2006/07 may have increased by as much as five times the previous year's levy. Employers who ultimately bear the cost of many pension schemes will need to make plans now to ensure the levy payable for the year 2008/09 is kept to a minimum.
    - Stephenson Harwood

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