Pensions: dispute resolution in London

Burges Salmon LLP

The 'cutting-edge' pensions disputes team at Burges Salmon LLP is lauded by clients for its ‘excellent knowledge of pensions litigation'. The practice is headed by Justin Briggs, who has extensive experience with cross-border pensions cases and matters which intersect with trusts, tax, and private wealth, in particular. The team is experienced advising both trustees and employers in the public and private sectors with small self-administered scheme (SSAS) disputes, and with self-invested personal pension (SIPP) disputes, which is Suzanne Padmore's area of specialism. Additionally, the team is well-equipped to assist in recovery actions and rectification cases. With the 2022 launch of the practice’s Pensions Schemes ESG Tool, clients are offered up-to-date advice on ESG requirements of UK pension schemes. Senior associate Amy Khodabandehloo is recommended for her work in pensions-related professional negligence cases.

Practice head(s):

Justin Briggs

Other key lawyers:

Amy Khodabandehloo; Suzanne Padmore


‘They have a wide-range of knowledge, insight into the Pensions Regulator, and experience with a wide-range of cases.’

‘They are out of London but provide just as good quality as a London city firm. Excellent knowledge of pensions litigation combined with general commercial litigation skills.’

‘They are really cutting-edge in their thinking and seem to have a brilliant team which keeps them abreast of cutting-edge potential legal arguments. They have been in some huge cases over the years and so they have a lot of credibility in dispute resolution – they will fight their clients’ corner hard if they need to.’

‘The team have been at the forefront of all of the significant pensions litigation in recent times. They have strength in depth as well as some of the most qualified individuals in the field. They are user-friendly, efficient, and pleasant to work with.’

‘Suzanne Padmore and Amy Khodabandehloo are a formidable team, differentiated by their persuasive and sound tactical decisions combined with being genuinely enjoyable to work alongside.’

‘An exceptionally strong pensions disputes team who offer a combination of technical expertise, commercial judgement and dedication to obtaining the best outcome for their clients.’

‘Suzanne Padmore is one of the top pensions disputes solicitors in the country. Fantastic knowledge of pensions law and litigation, great strategic and tactical acumen, and extremely hardworking.’

‘Justin Briggs always keeps up to date with legal developments and is a tactical thinker. Suzanne Padmore is switched on and great at managing a team.’

Key clients

St Modwen Properties PLC and St Modwen Pensions Limited

Trustees of Associated British Engineering Plc Pension Scheme

Mattioli Woods

PSGS Trust Corporation Ltd, the Trustees to the Robert Horne Group Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advised St. Modwen Properties Limited and the Trustee of the St. Modwen Pension Scheme in relation to an application to rectify the Scheme rules to correct an error left unrectified following a previous successful rectification application.
  • Advised the trustees of the Associated British Engineering Plc Pension Scheme in relation to a defaulting participating employer of the scheme, British Polar Engines Ltd.
  • Advised the Trustees, PSGS Trust Corporation Ltd, of the Robert Horne Group Pension in relation to a significant negligence claim valued in excess of £20m against Aon which results from errors committed in the closure of a defined benefit scheme to future accrual, as well as in implementing other scheme changes.


The ‘first-class’ contentious pensions team at CMS is dually headed by Mark Grant and Maria Rodia and is especially known for its experience in handling part 7 professional negligence claims, for which Neil Smith and Neal Gibson are key contacts. Alongside this, the team is adept at advising clients on part 8 matters, as well as providing assistance in claims involving the validity of scheme closures and benefit changes. For Beddoe relief applications, Manchester-based Tim Green is the name to note, while Simon Pilcher is commended for his work with employer covenant support packages and Pensions Ombudsman investigations. Mark Atkinson is recommended for his ‘unrivalled technical knowledge’, while Alexandra Tomlinson is another name to note. Dominic Harris left the team in December 2022 to join the Pensions Ombudsman.

Practice head(s):

Mark Grant; Maria Rodia

Other key lawyers:

Neil Smith; Neal Gibson; Tim Green; Simon Pilcher; Mark Atkinson; Simon Evans; Keith Webster; Alexandra Tomlinson


‘The biggest and best for pensions litigation, with an enormous body of first-class pensions knowledge combined with top-notch litigators. It’s not a surprise that they have been involved in a lot of the biggest litigation in recent years.’

‘Mark Atkinson is a first choice here. He has unrivalled technical knowledge combined with with great tactical focus. Neil Smith is a great litigator, always able to wheedle out the other sides’ weaknesses so he can apply pressure in just the right spots.’

‘Great team, providing the full-range of pensions law advice and expertise.’

Key clients



Legal & General


Brown Shipley

Atos Pension Schemes Limited

Entrust Pensions Limited

Punter Southall Governance Services

Willis Towers Watson

Independent Trustee Services Limited

Oasis Community Services

Trustee of the Scottish Solicitors’ Staff Pension Fund

Board of the Pension Protection Fund


Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

The dispute resolution practice at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is noted by clients as being a ‘market-leading team in the field of pensions disputes', formed of practitioners who ‘know what to expect and how to react‘ when dealing with the range of pensions litigation work. The ‘legendary' Claire Carroll leads the team and is particularly experienced in professional negligence claims, an area in which Jennifer Miles, Daniel Murphy, and associate Richard Bacon regularly provide support. The practice, which assists trustees, employers, banks, and administrators, is able to advise these clients on issues such as enforcement proceedings initiated by regulators, construction and rectification proceedings, the consolidation of pension arrangements, and breaches of statutory duties. For cases before the Pensions Regulator, Emma King and associate Amanda Rowley are key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Claire Carroll

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Miles; Daniel Murphy; Richard Bacon; Emma King; Amanda Rowley; Dan Jackson


‘This is a market-leading team in the field of pensions disputes. Members of the team have a particular strength in dealing with regulatory and public law issues faced by major pension providers and advisers.’

‘Claire Carroll is legendary for her deep expertise in financial services disputes, particularly in the pensions sector. She combines profound technical knowledge with astute commercial judgement.’

‘Claire Carroll is super friendly, approachable, a pleasure to work with, technically excellent, and hugely experienced. Claire is known as a safe pair of hands and a trusted partner to us.’

‘Richard Bacon is not afraid to get stuck into the detail and is technically excellent, very approachable, proactive, and our trusted adviser.’

‘Claire Carroll runs a case with breath-taking efficiency and sophistication. She should be the first port of call for anyone with a pensions issue. Daniel Jackson is a really impressive associate – clever, hardworking, and comes up with really positive and helpful ideas.’

‘Amanda Rowley is fantastic to deal with and very responsive. She handles a case with a great deal of efficiency and has an engaging manner. Jennifer Miles is a very efficient and organised partner who is a pleasure to work with. She looks down the road of a case and makes sure that there are no speed bumps.’

‘The team is involved in the leading cases and has a wealth of experience to draw from when advising. They know what to expect and how to react to the issues that arise.’

‘Claire Carroll has a calm authority and is extremely knowledgeable and user-friendly. She’s the go-to lawyer for pensions disputes. Daniel Jackson is incredibly capable and is able to demonstrate a depth of knowledge well beyond the level that someone his age and experience should have. Daniel Murphy is very client-focused and user-friendly.’

Key clients

The Trustees of the National Transcommunications Limited Pension Plan

Aon Consulting Limited

Universities Superannuation Scheme

Standard Life Assurance Limited & Standard Life Trustee Company Limited

Options UK Personal Pensions LLP

West Northamptonshire Council

Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited

NOW:Pension Trustees Limited

Financial Services Compensation Scheme Limited

Hogan Lovells International LLP

The pensions team at Hogan Lovells International LLP is recommended for regulatory cases, particularly those that are high-profile. Recent work for the team includes the significant and cross-border Nortel case, wherein the team acted for the Trustee of the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan in a long-running and complex cross-border matter. Angela Dimsdale Gill leads the ‘genuinely first-class team', which includes the ‘excellentMatthew Bullen and the ‘brilliantNicholas Heaton. Alongside regulatory work, the practice is also experienced in financial support direction cases, as well as in advising trustees and employers on professional negligence cases, directions and rectifications, and contribution notice proceedings. Counsel Nathan Sherlock is also a name to note within the team.

Practice head(s):

Angela Dimsdale Gill

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Bullen; Nicholas Heaton; Nathan Sherlock


‘They have a collaborative approach, taking and working up ideas from everyone concerned and they are not afraid to pursue innovative approaches.’

‘Angela Dimsdale Gill and Mathew Bullen are excellent, bringing in other subject experts as required, both from within the firm and elsewhere.’

‘A team of amazingly high-quality who can guide you through the complexities of the full-range of pension disputes. Astute, insightful and perceptive, they reduce the stress around this challenging area – you know you are working with consummate professionals. They’re genuinely first-class.’

‘Angela Dimsdale Gill is unrivalled in her knowledge, experience and acumen, and is able to navigate you through the complexities of the case and the quality and clarity of the advice provided is outstanding. A real intellectual powerhouse, who also cares deeply about getting the right result.’

‘Nicholas Heaton is incredibly good at technical detail while retaining a clear sight of the strategy, and is able to navigate you through to a position that works for the client. A good listener who explains everything really well. Brilliant all around.’

‘Hogan Lovells deals with a wide-range of disputes, some of which involve complex legal issues and many of which involve large sums at risk. Working with them, I have found their approach to be focused, professional and practical.’

‘Angela Dimsdale Gill has extensive litigation experience built-up over many years – she has been involved in a number of landmark cases and is widely recognised as a leading figure in the field. As an expert witness, I have enjoyed and valued working with all the team at Hogan Lovells over the years.’

‘The team is one of the best litigation teams dealing with pensions. Angela Dimsdale Gill is vastly experienced having handled some of the biggest and high profile pension disputes in the past couple of decades.’

Key clients


De La Rue

Trustee of the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan

The Board of the Pension Protection Fund

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Trustee of the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan in the largest and most complex pension deficit recovery exercise ever undertaken, involving more than a decade of cross-border litigation.
  • Represented ITV in long-running and controversial pension regulatory proceedings.
  • Acted for FTSE-listed banknote printer De La Rue in a construction application seeking clarity as to the true meaning of an obscure provision in its pensions scheme Rules.

Linklaters LLP

The ‘well-organised' and ‘very strong' pensions dispute resolution team at Linklaters LLP regularly deals with high-stakes and high-profile pensions litigation, with recent work involving long-running moral hazard cases brought by the Pensions Regulator and litigation dealing with rectification. The ‘very intelligentMark Blyth heads the large practice, in which the key names to note are the ‘excellentPhilip Goss, the ‘unflappableTom Kent, Gareth Craft, and Sarah Opie. Alongside regulatory disputes, the practice also provides support in cross-border pensions matters, professional negligence claims relating to pension schemes, and cases seeking clarity over historic scheme changes. The team is also adept at advising clients during mediation processes as an alternative to litigation.

Practice head(s):

Mark Blyth

Other key lawyers:

Philip Goss; Gareth Craft; Sarah Opie; Tom Kent


‘The team has strength-in-depth and has resourced some incredibly demanding transactions to the extent that you wind-up surprised that they have other clients. New lawyers are introduced well to us as a client, and the core team remains in touch.’

‘The best pensions team in London. Technically very strong, very efficient, and with a good appreciation of what really matters.’

‘Mark Blyth is the best pensions litigator out there and can call on the full Linklaters armoury when needed.’

‘This team continues to be one of the strongest in the pensions litigation field. Led by Mark Blyth, they have some of the strongest experience in the market and always field a team who perform at the highest level.’

‘Mark Blyth stands out. With the benefit of a top-quality client base from their pensions team, Mark and his team deliver for their clients across the full-breadth of high-profile pensions cases.’

‘Mark Blyth is a very intelligent litigator with a good knowledge of technical pensions law, and  is ably assisted by the unflappable Tom Kent who has a bright future in this area.’

‘Mark Blyth has been supported by Phil Goss, Gareth Craft, and Sarah Opie. Phil Goss is excellent at reading the room and understanding how to manage stakeholders. Gareth Craft writes very well and his advice is always very well laid out and clear.’

‘Disciplined, considered and well-organised. They work hard at understanding the client’s perspective and then deploying their deep knowledge and experience to deliver for you.’

Key clients

Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund

Capital Cranfield Pension Trustees Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for the trustee of the Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund in High Court litigation over ill-health early retirement pensions for thousands of members.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP‘s pensions litigation team is particularly well-known for its experience in professional negligence, and pension scams-related work. The practice also advises on cross-border class actions, asset recovery work, and LDI claims in the wake of the 2022 mini-budget crisis. ‘Seasoned litigatorIsabel Nurse-Marsh leads the practice, and is especially adept at representing clients in front of the Pensions Ombudsman. Other key names to note within the team include Hayley Goldstone, who is experienced in the full gamut of pensions litigation and noted as being ‘very good at getting to the root of complex issues’. For part 8 actions, ‘very able and experienced associate’ Liam Fitzgerald is a key contact, whilst fellow associates Richard Meers and Matt Sumpton are also names to note. Ben Fairhead  left the firm in February 2024.

Practice head(s):

Isabel Nurse-Marsh

Other key lawyers:

Hayley Goldstone; Liam Fitzgerald; Richard Meers; Matt Sumpton


‘Every key member of the team we have dealt with has been highly professional and very user friendly in explaining complex issues and progressing them through towards resolution. They are all commercially astute and understand the various issues and parties who have to be coordinated. We would strongly recommend the team.’

‘A huge team with acres of experience and a truly national presence that can deal with the biggest of cases. Depth and breadth is the impression that is conveyed here.’

‘Isabel Nurse-Marsh is the standout team leader who runs her cases brilliantly and makes sure everyone knows what they are doing and by when it needs to be done. Nothing ever falls through the cracks.’

Key clients

Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund representative beneficiaries

Dalriada Trustees Limited

Trustee of the Newell Rubbermaid UK Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Capita Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

Trustee of the Plumbing & Mechanical Services (UK) Industry Pension Scheme

Mercer Limited

Royal London

Jardine Lloyd Thomsons (JLT) Benefit Solutions Limited

Nortel Networks UK Pension Trust Limited

Royal Bank of Scotland Retirement Savings Plan

Work highlights

  • Acted for the beneficiaries of the Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund in a case about underpaid ill health benefits spanning 30 years, for which a £60m+ settlement was approved by the High Court.
  • Acted for a leading independent trustee appointed by the Pensions Regulator in multi-jurisdictional and multifaceted litigation involving over 100 distressed schemes with over £250m at stake.
  • Acted for the Trustee of the Newell Rubbermaid UK Pension Scheme in an age discrimination test case.

Sacker & Partners LLP

Second-to-none‘ boutique firm Sacker & Partners LLP focuses exclusively on pensions work. The litigation team deals mainly with professional negligence cases, rectification actions, member complaints, regulatory investigations, and risk management work. Practice head Peter Murphy is commended by clients for offering a ‘Rolls Royce service’ and is especially experienced in enforcement cases. James Bingham, who is noted for his provision of ‘sensible advice‘, is experienced in complex High Court claims as well as recovery actions. ‘Excellent‘ senior counsel Arshad Khan‘s recent work includes high-stakes professional negligence claims worth in excess of £100m.

Practice head(s):

Peter Murphy

Other key lawyers:

Arshad Khan; James Bingham


‘Peter Murphy and Arshad Khan are both very impressive – incredible knowledge of pensions law and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Sackers has the ability to call on the most appropriate expertise within the company to deal quickly with your specific query or request for help. The team will follow through the query until is fully resolved and settled to the customer’s satisfaction.’

‘James Bingham is always engaged and offers sensible advice that clients can understand and appreciate. He involves and trusts his associates who always deliver.’

‘The dispute resolution practice at Sackers is second-to-none. The team are very experienced, and they clearly set out what they believe is the right approach in dealing with the dispute and the required outcome.’

‘I work with Sackers on complex complaint cases, and they are always extremely efficient in providing their legal guidance and drafting responses where necessary. I greatly value their flexibility in joining calls to discuss cases, or technical points, and the way that they communicate their guidance in plain English.’

‘Peter Murphy offers a Rolls Royce service where you know you are in good hands from start to finish. There is nothing about pensions litigation that he doesn’t know about, and he always makes you feel confident about the outcome.’

‘They are a leading pensions law firm – brilliant at understanding and dealing with the complexities of pension litigation.’

Key clients

Honda Motor Europe Limited and Honda Group UK Pension Scheme

GEAPS Pension Scheme

John Lewis Partnership Trust for Pensions

ITV Pension Scheme

Arup UK Pension Scheme

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc

Nationwide Pension Fund

Yorkshire & Clydesdale Bank Pension Scheme

DHL Group Retirement Plan

GSK Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advised the company and the trustee of the Honda Group UK Pension Scheme in complex and high-value High Court proceedings alleging negligence against their former pension consultants, Mercer.
  • Acted for the Trustees of the Arup Pension Scheme in relation to the recovery of large sums that were overpaid to Scheme members following administrative errors.
  • Advised new and longstanding clients on investigations into losses incurred due to investments in pooled liability driven investment funds (LDI), and on merits assessments of potential claims.

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood‘s team works together with the firm’s non-contentious, private wealth, contentious trusts, and regulatory teams to assist clients with the full spectrum of pensions dispute resolution. Headed by Helena Berman, the ‘all-round excellent‘ practice is experienced in construction and rectification applications, FCA investigations, and moral hazard cases. Jenny McKeown is particularly well-known for her work with insurers, whilst May 2023-promoted partner Chris Edwards-Earl, who is lauded by clients as a ‘very impressive litigation lawyer‘, is a key contact for RPI and CPI disputes. Associate Maria Chami is recommended for her work in professional negligence cases in a professional context.

Practice head(s):

Helena Berman

Other key lawyers:

Jenny McKeown; Chris Edwards-Earl; Maria Chami


‘We get outstanding client care. As a team, they understand our business and have strong relationships with the Bar.’

‘Experienced fusion of pensions and professional negligence experience.’

‘Helena Berman and Chris Edwards-Earl have a great approach to seeking innovative solutions to resolve issues. They also have a great capacity to explain and summarise complex legal issues and thus interact effectively with trustee boards.’

‘Stephenson Harwood are the strongest commercial pensions practice in the UK. They combine a deep knowledge of law with unparalleled commercial acumen.’

‘Chris Edwards-Earl  is a rising star in the pensions litigation world being hardworking, intelligent and having good judgement.’

‘Chris Edwards-Earl is a very impressive litigation lawyer. He combines an excellent capability to determine the commercials of a case with a superb capability to determine legal tactics.’

‘An all-round excellent team which is packed full of talent. They are totally committed to their clients’ objectives and routinely deliver brilliant outcomes.’

‘Helena Berman is a brilliant lawyer who combines technical expertise, tactical nous, dedication and originality. You would not want to be against her.’

Key clients

Chris Burns

Mercer Limited and Sedgwick Noble Lowndes Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Chris Burns, Representative Beneficiary of the BBC Pension Scheme, in proceedings which will determine the scope of the Scheme’s amendment power and whether significant variations can be made to the Scheme going forwards.
  • Defended Mercer Limited and Sedgwick Noble Lowndes Limited in a high value negligence claim issued by the employer and trustees of the Honda pension scheme in December 2009 regarding a range of alleged defective amendments to the scheme between 1986 – 1999, which will continue to a full High Court hearing.

Baker & McKenzie

Baker McKenzie‘s dispute resolution team is commended for its ability to ‘explain complicated matters in simple language’. Arron Slocombe leads the practice, which frequently advises trustees in cases such as Pensions Ombudsman disputes, investigations, and regulatory actions. Jeanette Holland is a name to note for her expertise in large-scale restructurings, as well as anti-avoidance cases and de-risking matters, whilst Jonathan Sharp is a key contact for pensions cases with a tax angle. Counsel Tom McNaughton and associates Hannah Moxon and Lauren Awoyinka are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Arron Slocombe

Other key lawyers:

Jeanette Holland; Jonathan Sharp; Tom McNaughton; Hannah Moxon; Lauren Awoyinka


‘They explain complicated matters in simple language, making it easy to understand.’

‘Responsive, friendly and helpful.’

Key clients

Atos IT Services

JPMorgan UK Retirement Plan

Work highlights

  • Advised global IT company Atos on the first case in the UK to assess the complex deficit funding rules and statutory protection provisions of the industry-wide Railways Pension Scheme.
  • Advised the Trustee on the successful December 2022 Pensions Ombudsman case of Dr R.

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG‘s ‘very strong specialist pensions litigation team' is led by the ‘intelligent and astuteIan Gordon, who is especially experienced in handling complex issues involving occupational pension schemes. The 'truly impressive' wider practice's workload includes assisting clients in High Court-level disputes; advising on professional negligence cases, work for which legal director Charlotte Scholes is a key contact; and assisting clients in the resolution of Pensions Ombudsman cases namely regarding claims and disputes with members. Associate Aaron Dunning-Foreman is experienced advising on issues relating to complex data breaches in a pensions context.

Practice head(s):

Ian Gordon

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Scholes; Aaron Dunning-Foreman


‘A very strong specialist pensions litigation team.’

‘The practice is very ably led by Ian Gordon who is an intelligent and astute litigator with a good knowledge of technical pensions law.’

‘The team has always fully engaged with us as clients from the point of referral and kept us informed of progress throughout. Their knowledge of the subject matter provides us with confidence that we are in good hands.’

‘Not only are they knowledgeable on the legal subject matter, but they also can put it into a commercial context. They have good knowledge of the overall pensions landscape.’

‘Gowlings’ is a truly expert pensions team – they offer breadth of experience across pensions advisory and disputes work. They take a commercial and pragmatic approach to their advice and litigation.’

‘Ian Gordon is one of the stars of pensions litigation with a huge amount of experience acquired in leading cases.’

‘What sets the team apart is their unwavering commitment to ensuring excellent communication throughout the entire process. They have consistently kept me informed, addressing any concerns promptly and effectively. It is evident that their expertise extends beyond legal matters, as they possess a deep understanding of the broader implications and practicalities involved in pension law.’

‘Their wealth of knowledge in the field is truly impressive, encompassing both the intricate nuances of the substantive law and a comprehensive understanding of UK pension plans.’

Key clients

Mitchells & Butlers Pensions Limited

Britvic Pensions Limited

CGI IT UK Limited

The Trustees of the Thales UK Pension Scheme

The Trustee of KPMG Staff Pension Fund

Croydon Borough Council

Virgin Media Limited

Government of Canada

The Trustees of the Debenhams Retirement Benefit Scheme

The Very Group Limited

Punter Southall Governance Services

Ross Trustees


Independent Trustee Services


PAN Trustees

Work highlights

  • Acted for the successful employer in litigation involving the CMG UK Pension Scheme.
  • Acted for the London Borough of Croydon in its dispute with Oasis Community Learning concerning the way employer contribution rates are set for participating employers of Croydon’s part of the Local Government Pension Scheme where a maintained school converted to an academy under the Academies Act 2010.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

The pensions disputes practice at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's workload includes matters ranging from advising clients in their responses to the gilt crisis, assisting in professional negligence cases, and advising on claims for investment losses incurred by trustees. Samantha Brown and William Glassey dually lead the ‘fantastic team of really classy litigators'; Brown is well-equipped to handle declaratory proceedings and Glassey is particularly experienced in professional negligence cases against solicitors, barristers, and pensions actuaries. Senior associate Dan Saunders, described as ‘responsive and a pleasure to deal with', is a key contact for work wherein sponsoring employers are navigating issues in scheme documentation. Antonia Pegden and Philip Lis are also recommended for their ‘fantastic' work.

Practice head(s):

Samantha Brown; William Glassey

Other key lawyers:

Dan Saunders; Antonia Pegden; Philip Lis


‘Samantha Brown is an all-round legal star who is technically brilliant and possesses supreme commercial judgement. Sam goes the extra mile for her clients and is also a pleasure to work with.

‘The team have been very responsive and supportive with our issue and in helping us resolve the dispute for the benefit of our employees.’

‘A very personable team who are also technically excellent. A fantastic team of really classy litigators.’

‘Samantha Brown and Antonia Pegden are outstanding. Clever, pragmatic and commercial. Dan Saunders is always responsive and a pleasure to deal with.’

‘Strong combination of litigators and specialist pensions lawyers.’

‘The HSF pensions disputes team is formidable – packed with hugely able lawyers who combine technical expertise with commercial acumen and an unparalleled dedication to their client’s cause.’

‘Antonia Pegden is a fantastic litigator who is completely unflappable and can be guaranteed to make the right decision no matter the heat of the situation.’

‘Philip Lis has been particularly supportive of our issue with a pension provider and excels at identifying the key points in a plethora of detail. His guidance has been helpful and is moving us towards resolution of this long-standing dispute.’

Key clients

The Board of the Pension Protection Fund


JLT Wealth Management

Willis Towers Watson

Work highlights

  • Advised the Trustees of a confidential pension scheme on a complex matter of scheme construction and an associated potential professional negligence claim.
  • Advised the Board of the Pension Protection Fund on a range of matters.
  • Advised a multinational financial services firm to defend a complex claim for investment losses suffered by the trustee of a large pension scheme.

Osborne Clarke LLP

Osborne Clarke LLP's pensions practice was bolstered in May 2022 with the arrival of the BDB Pitmans team, which includes Reading-based pensions specialists Chris Netiatis, David Hosford, and Lee Colgate. The team ably advises employers, trustees, and scheme members on the full spectrum of pensions litigation, with recent work including cases involving age discrimination, part 8 proceedings, and member complaints. Jonathan Hazlett heads up the practice and offers its clients extensive experience in disputes surrounding PPF assessment periods, whilst colleagues Charles Crowne and associate Katherine King specialise in professional negligence and rectification claims respectively; they are described as being ‘excellent' and ‘superb'.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Hazlett

Other key lawyers:

Chris Netiatis; David Hosford; Lee Colgate; Charles Crowne; Katherine King


‘All OC staff allocated to our work are high-quality and very responsive.’

‘Depth of knowledge and such quality of delivery. Charles Crowne is my key contact, who I regard as excellent in all my dealings. Superb.’

‘Osborne Clarke have an excellent reputation in pensions disputes. They have positioned themselves effectively as a firm well-suited to act on behalf of members of pensions schemes in litigation involving scheme employers and trustees.’

‘The pensions team is involved in some of the key cases in our field. It is known for its people and continues to attract great talent.’

‘An all-round excellent team of pensions litigators who combine technical expertise with commercial judgement.’

‘Katherine King is a delight to deal with. She is knowledgeable and an expert at rectification actions.’

‘I have worked with Charles Crowne, who is able sensible and calm in a crisis.’

‘Jonathan Hazlett has significant experience and in-depth knowledge of the area, which enable him to always to make the right judgement calls and obtain the best outcome for his clients.’

Key clients

Trustee of the T&N Retirement Benefits Scheme (1989)

Trustees of the Boxclever Pension Scheme (Open Trustees)

The trustees of the Canon Retirement Benefits Scheme for the UK

Representative beneficiary of the membership to the De La Rue Pension Scheme

The Board of the Pension Protection Fund

Trustees of the Old British Steel Pension Scheme (Open Trustees)

Trustee of the Eastman Machine Company Superannuation Scheme

Slaughter and May

The contentious pensions team at Slaughter and May is headed by 'standout partner' Richard Jeens, who is described by clients as a ‘reassuring presence‘. The practice is highly regarded for its commercial litigation-related work in pensions disputes contexts. It also offers trustees and employers assistance in part 8 claims, investigations by the Pensions Regulator, and member complaints. Pensions issues in M&A transactions are regularly dealt with by Chris Sharpe, who was promoted to the partnership in May 2022, while Daniel Schaffer’s recent experience includes advising on pensions investigations. The 'very impressive' Sandy Maudgil and associate Rachel Hunter are recommended for their recent work on judicial review proceedings for a major pension scheme, whilst associate Serina Lyons is complimented as an ‘up-and-coming’ member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Richard Jeens

Other key lawyers:

Chris Sharpe; Daniel Schaffer; Sandy Maudgil; Rachel Hunter; Serina Lyons


‘Across the team, the intellectual calibre and focus of the lawyers is outstanding, meaning that advice is comprehensive, clear and always on-point, even when matters involve complex technical points. The level of responsiveness is exceptional.’

‘Richard Jeens is a reassuring presence and effective leader. Serina Lyons is very efficient, responsive, and diligent.’

‘Richard Jeens and Chris Sharpe have led for us and have done a tremendous job. Richard is unflappable, extremely strategic and a very adept communicator. Chris is very strong on the technical pensions law aspects whilst also being very commercial in his approach.’

‘Excellent support has been provided to us by very capable associate Rachel Hunter.’

‘Sandy Maudgil is the walking encyclopaedia of all things pensions – very impressive.’

‘Their knowledge and understanding of rail industry pensions coupled with their advice and assistance is superb.’

‘An excellent, cohesive team with deep technical legal knowledge allied to a commercial mindset and a focus on working collaboratively with clients.’

‘Richard Jeens is the standout partner. The very able Serina Lyons is also up-and-coming.’

Key clients

Trustee of the BT Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Ford Pension Schemes

Trustees of the Marks and Spencer Pension Scheme

Railways Pension Trustee Company Limited, the Trustee of the Railways Pension Scheme

Trustee of the BBC Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advised Railways Pension Trustee Company Limited, the Trustee of the industry-wide Railways Pension Scheme in relation to Part 8 High Court claim over contributions provisions, and a connected investigation by the Pensions Regulator.
  • Advised the BBC Pension Scheme on the Part 8 claim brought by the BBC regarding the BBC’s ability to make changes to future service benefits under the power of amendment in the Trust Deed and Rules of the Scheme.
  • Acted for the Trustees of the BT Pension Scheme, Ford Pension Schemes and Marks and Spencer Pension Scheme in relation to the judicial review of the UK Statistics Authority’s decision to align RPI with CPIH from 2030.

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs‘ pensions litigation practice is experienced in dealing with trustees, employers, and scheme members, and is adept at assisting large schemes such as the Jaguar Land Rover Pension Scheme and Thames Water Pension Trustees Limited. The team is led by Manchester-based practitioner Victoria Leigh, who is recommended for her work in public sector pensions. Other work the practice carries out includes risk management; regulatory proceedings, an area in which Jason Blakey is recommended; contentious issues at the juncture of pensions and tax; professional negligence cases; and construction and rectification issues. The practice has noteworthy abilities handling small, self-administered schemes.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Leigh

Other key lawyers:

Jason Blakey

Key clients

Jaguar Land Rover Pension Scheme

Greater Manchester Pension Fund

Representative Beneficiary of the National Transcommunications Limited Pensions Plan

James Cropper Plc

Representative Beneficiary of the Newell Rubbermaid UK Pension Scheme

Thames Water Pension Trustees Limited

Representative Beneficiary of the Humberclyde Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Lendlease UK Pension Scheme

Adecco UK Limited

Trustees of the Cabot Plastics Pension Plan

Work highlights

  • Advised the representative beneficiary of the Newell Rubbermaid Pension Scheme as to the validity of the transfer in 1991 of benefits of members who were under 45 from the final salary section to a money purchase section and/or whether they were unlawfully discriminated against on the grounds of age.
  • Acted for James Cropper Plc and Entrust Limited in a professional negligence claim against Aviva relating to a failure to provide competent advice and services in connection with the intended equalisation of the normal retirement dates.
  • Advised the representative beneficiary of the National Transcommunications Limited Pension Plan in proceedings to determine the effectiveness of amendments to Plan Rules in the absence of an actuarial confirmation required under s37 Pension Schemes Act 1993.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard‘s pensions disputes team is headed by ‘formidable negotiatorSusan Garrett. The team is described as 'dynamic' and as being formed of lawyers who make 'almost superhuman' efforts to reach the best outcome for clients. Its recent work includes equalisation cases, rectification actions, as well as Pension Ombudsman and IDRP complaints, which is a specialty for Rachel Uttley. Jade Murray is adept at assisting clients on the pensions matters in transactions, in particular, whilst Rachel Rawnsley is experienced acting for blue-chip pension trustees. Other key contacts within the team include Clare Dwyer and associate Triin Ungert.

Practice head(s):

Susan Garrett

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Uttley; Jade Murray; Rachel Rawnsley; Clare Dwyer; Triin Ungert; Catherine McAllister


‘Susan Garrett combines a deep understanding of the topic, her practical experience, and her calm but authoritative manner.’

‘A good team, with a great balance between technical pensions know-how and litigation experience.’

‘Jade Murray is an excellent pensions lawyer, with great knowledge with a real commercial edge.’

‘Clare Dwyer is a joy to work with, and is always alive to the various angles of a particular case or argument. She reacts quickly to change, and her commercial understanding is second to none.’

‘Catherine McAllister is simply the best person to go to for technical scheme knowledge. There is nothing that she does not know or understand, and she is able to give advice with confidence even when a matter is unanticipated or arises unexpectedly in judicial questioning. She knows her clients’ pension schemes inside-out, and is an asset to any legal team.’

‘The team at AG is very well-organised and dynamic. They respond to the challenges that often arise during litigation quickly and thoroughly, and as counsel you always have the best possible support.’

‘Susan Garrett brings her considerable commercial litigation skills to the area of pensions disputes, as well as being a formidable negotiator.’

‘Clare Dwyer, Catherine McAllister, and Triin Ungert are all incredibly responsive and on top of everything that needs to be done. They never drop the ball, and their efforts in this regard are almost superhuman.’

Key clients

Britvic Plc

Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited

Trustees of the Tioxide Pension Fund

Trustee of the Asda Group Pension Scheme

CMG Pension Trustees Limited

Trustee of the Mercer Master Trust

Pension Insurance Corporation

Trustee of the Kellogg GB Pension Fund

Co-operative Group

Local Government Pension Services

Trustee of the Ibstock Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Royal Blind Group Pension Scheme

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Trustee of the Short Brothers Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Acted for Britvic plc in an appeal to the Court of Appeal, in which the company was successful on all grounds of appeal.
  • Acted for an employer and trustees of a pension scheme in a professional negligence claim against their former advisor.
  • Acted for CMG Pension Trustees Limited in two sets of Court proceedings concerning the CMG UK Pension Scheme, which concerned the rectification of the definition of pensionable salary under the Scheme and also involved the Trustee seeking declarations from the Court on the forfeiture provisions of the Scheme, and how that impacts on the administration of the Scheme.

Clyde & Co

The pensions team at Clyde & Co is especially recommended for its ‘top drawer‘ professional negligence work. Alongside this, the practice advises on remedial proceedings seeking declaratory relief, and provides assistance in cases where the client has previously received defective advice regarding scheme mergers and restructurings. Fergal Cathie heads the team, which includes the ‘excellentIvan Wilkinson, financial institutions insurance coverage specialist Laura Cooke, and associate Toby Rouse, who is adept at acting in professional indemnity cases.

Practice head(s):

Fergal Cathie

Other key lawyers:

Ivan Wilkinson; Laura Cooke; Toby Rouse; Sarah Clover


‘Highly experienced team marrying together top drawer dispute resolution experience with pensions specialism. Solid commercial judgement and sound strategic decision-making.’

‘Ivan Wilkinson is an excellent technical pensions lawyer as well as a very experienced professional negligence litigator.’

‘A very classy firm – probably the leading outfit for professional negligence in the pensions context.’


Dentons regularly advises employers and trustees on both defined benefit and defined contribution pension schemes, as well as on matters such as regulator investigations, and litigious aspects of buy-outs. Eleanor Hart and Alison Weatherhead jointly lead the practice; Hart heads up the reward-focused side of the team, whilst Weatherhead leads the people, reward, and mobility-focused team from Edinburgh. Counsel Caroline Curran joined the Manchester team in October 2022 from Brabners LLP, and is experienced in handling contentious matters across the pensions space.

Practice head(s):

Eleanor Hart; Alison Weatherhead

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Curran


‘The Dentons pensions team punches above its weight. They are commercial, pragmatic and easy to work with. Eleanor Hart has a wealth of experience in restructuring and similar issues.’

‘The members of the disputes team all have considerable technical expertise and are involved in a mix of high-profile matters and also those of national importance.’

‘Caroline Curran is very pleasant, pragmatic and easy to work with, with considerable experience in an array of pensions-related disputes. Because of the size of the team, the contentious and non-contentious teams work harmoniously together for the benefit of the client.’

Key clients

Pirelli & C. SpA

Purepay Retail Limited

Virgin Atlantic Airways

Ministry of Justice

Travelport International Limited

Ministry of Defence

Canadian Western Bank

BCA Pension Trustees Ltd

Trustees of the CMESI pension scheme

SITA Information Networking Computing UK Limited

Grant Thornton UK LLP

Trustees of the Basil E Leeder & Sons Limited Pension Scheme

Habib Bank

That Bournemouth Company 3 Limited

Yamaha Music Europe GmbH

Work highlights

  • Advised on a compromise on behalf of the Trustees in order to compromise a section 75 debt claim against the employers.
  • Advised the associated parties of a company in administration on an investigation by the Pensions Regulator that steps in the lead up to its insolvency and subsequent restructuring may have materially impacted the scheme in a detrimental manner.
  • Advised the client on auto-enrolment compliance issues, and provided risk-based advice in response to the complex issues relating to non-compliance with the auto-enrolment requirements.

Mayer Brown International LLP

Mayer Brown International LLP’s team is adept at handling the full gamut of contentious pensions issues for trustees and employers, including member complaints, professional negligence cases, regulatory investigations, and investment disputes. The practice is also experienced in assisting with cross-border contentious cases, with recent work involving Scotland, the US, and Guernsey. The ‘proactive and efficientTim Shepherd jointly leads the team with ‘able and thoughtful litigatorStuart Pickford, and Andrew Block, who is especially experienced advising employers on a range of contentious pensions matters.

Practice head(s):

Tim Shepherd; Andrew Block; Stuart Pickford


‘Mayer Brown is our long-standing trusted adviser. Technically excellent, efficient, very experienced, and proactive. They’re a great team to work with and a sound source of support and advice.’

‘Tim Shepherd is friendly, approachable, proactive, and efficient. Quick to get to grips with the details and nuances of a case and a very strong tactically. A great lawyer to work with.’

‘They have a detailed understanding of our schemes, and our way of working. Knowing how we would wish to approach and handle complaints, and working with us to clearly explain the position to a complainant, with a view to finding an appropriate and just resolution.’

‘They have a strong ability to focus on the important and salient points of the complaint received, and to work with us to develop a robust response which clearly details to the complainant the key facts and details, and draw to a conclusion any proposed resolutions.’

‘Stuart Pickford’s approach is always very thorough and he always goes the extra mile to ensure that responses cover all the details.’

‘Stuart Pickford is our litigation adviser and brings a fine, forensic approach to intricate problems of governance and claims which can have their origin many decades in the past. Patient, careful, and considered, he is able to deconstruct and explain complex problems to a trustee board largely composed of non-lawyers. His measured and thoughtful advice has yielded excellent results for our Scheme.’

‘Stuart Pickford is an able and thoughtful litigator with good judgement.’

Key clients

Pension Protection Fund

Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund Trustees Limited

QBE Insurance

Reed Elsevier Pensions Trustees Limited

Massey Ferguson Works Pension Trust Limited

Kingfisher Pension Trustee Limited

Santander (UK) Group Pension Scheme Trustees Limited

JMEPS Trustees Limited

Prudential Staff Pensions Limited

BOC Pension Scheme Trustees Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Trustee of a multi-million pound pension scheme sponsored by a FTSE-100 employer in relation to rectification proceedings in which the sponsoring employer is asking the Court to order rectification of one of the scheme documents.
  • Represented a participating employer in the Motor Industry Pension Plan in a long-running dispute with the Plan’s trustees concerning the calculation of a Section 75 debt claimed against the employer.

Taylor Wessing LLP

The pensions litigation team at Taylor Wessing LLP is headed by the ‘clever' and ‘totally committed' Mark Smith, who is especially experienced in the charities, financial services, media, transport, and logistics sectors. The practice is recommended for its work in pensions fraud cases, and also offers its clients assistance in cases of restructurings, as well as in matters brought by regulatory bodies, and rectification issues. Anna Taylor joined the team in January 2022 from rival Linklaters LLP, bringing extensive experience in advising companies and trustees on a breadth of pensions issues.

Practice head(s):

Mark Smith

Other key lawyers:

Anna Taylor


‘A small team but its leader, Mark Smith, more than makes up for that.’

‘Mark Smith is the most hands-on partner with whom I work, which makes my job so much easier. Totally committed and very commercially aware.’

‘A seamless combination of the litigation and non-litigation practices.’

‘Mark Smith is a clever litigator with a great deal of technical knowledge, who is a pleasure to work with.’

Work highlights

  • Advised the trustee of a large pension scheme in connection with a possible use of powers by The Pensions Regulator in relation to the refinancing of an employer group.
  • Advised a number of employers on engagement with The Pensions Regulator as a result of significant breaches of the auto enrolment legislation.
  • Advised the trustees of a number of pension schemes on the settlement of claims against former administrators and advisers in connection with historic benefits errors.


TLT's pensions team seamlessly combines both contentious and non-contentious expertise to assist clients with matters such as professional negligence claims, complaints from the Pensions Ombudsman, construction cases, and rectification matters. Team co-head Sasha Butterworth is dually qualified in England and Wales and Northern Ireland, and is especially recommended for her expertise in risk reduction and trustee ESG governance; fellow co-head and ‘superb lawyer' Victoria Mabbett has extensive experience in mediation in particular. Paul Gair and associates Kate Ward, Victoria Channing, and Jack Hargreaves are also key names in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Sasha Butterworth; Victoria Mabbett

Other key lawyers:

Paul Gair; Kate Ward; Victoria Channing; Jack Hargreaves; Chris Crighton


‘They are very collaborative in their work and have been involved in some of the biggest cases of recent years.’

‘Victoria Mabbett is a superb lawyer and a real rainmaker.’

‘Chris Crighton is very experienced and a really switched-on, academic thinker.’

‘Victoria Mabbett is noteworthy.’

Key clients

Viavi Solutions Pension Trustee UK Limited

Pullmaflex U.K. Limited

The Trustees of the Leggett and Platt UK Pension and Assurance Scheme

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Corporate Trustee in Rectification Proceedings of a large pension Scheme, in which the rectification proceedings were required to correct the drafting of a deed and thereby protect the Scheme from significant liabilities.
  • Acted for the Trustees of the Wandel & Goltermann Retirement Benefits in a claim seeking the Court’s declarations in relation to the interpretation of a provision in the governing Scheme documents.
  • Acted for Pullmaflex UK Limited and the trustees of its pension scheme in relation to substantial and complex breach of contract and professional negligence claims against their former advisors.


Fieldfisher‘s pensions practice is part of its broader employment, compliance, and immigration practice, and is particularly experienced at assisting representative beneficiaries. The team is led by David Gallagher, who is regarded by clients as being ‘very good technically'. Other work the practice undertakes includes equalisation, and negligence cases.

Practice head(s):

David Gallagher


‘Very calm team with detailed technical knowledge of tax and corporate points.’

‘David Gallagher is very good technically which is useful when dealings involve complicated litigation.’

Key clients

Trustees of the Sibelco UK Occupational Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Cooper Consolidated Pension Plan

Trustees of the MTL Instruments Group Pension Scheme

EDF Energy Limited

Electricity Pensions Trustee Scheme

OneFamily Friendly Society

Trustees of the Power Generation Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Beazley Furlonge Limited Pension Scheme

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright‘s pensions litigation team sits within the firm’s broader dispute resolution team, which is led by the firm's EMEA-lead Patrick Bourke. The practice routinely advises employers and trustees on issues such as investigations initiated by the pensions regulator, internal complaints, and professional negligence cases. Key contacts within the team include the ‘hugely bright' Lesley Browning and associate Suzie Kemp.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Bourke

Other key lawyers:

Lesley Browning; Suzie Kemp


‘Clearly, the individuals are very knowledgeable in the area and have assisted where we were unable to undertake the tasks ourselves.’

‘Friendly and responsive and always give practical advice.’

‘Proactive, service-minded, experienced and value-adding with an ability to really focus on key issues.’

‘Lesley Browning is hugely bright, and one of the best pensions lawyers in the UK.’

‘Good understanding of our industry sector and global presence.’

‘Good stability with partner retention which proves invaluable when disputes arise in long-tail issues related to pension liabilities.’

‘A top-end firm dealing with a wide-range of pensions law issues.’

‘Lesley Browning is hugely bright, and one of the best pensions lawyers in the UK.’

Key clients

Trustee of the West of England Ship Owners’ Insurance Services Ltd Retirement Benefits Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advised the Trustee of the West of England Ship Owners’ Insurance Services Ltd Retirement Benefits Scheme in relation to its administrator’s member transfer process and scams response, ensuring that our client’s overall processes meet the new legal requirements and are robust but proportionate.