Pensions in North

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has contentious and non-contentious expertise, with notable experience in the public and voluntary sector pensions field. The team advises trustees and sponsoring employers of UK pension schemes and is led by Martin Poore, who has a particular focus on corporate and scheme restructuring. His team includes the 'excellent' Tracy Walsh, 'who delivers complex advice in a clear and straightforward way', and Suzanne Duff, who works for a wide range of companies and pension scheme trustees, specialising in regulatory matters. Her non-contentious work is primarily based on advising employers on restructuring their organisations, liability management and winding up pension schemes.

Practice head(s):

Martin Poore

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Duff; Tracy Walsh


‘The team is easy to deal with, has the necessary range of experience and skills and is accessible’

‘Very professional and very reactive. Always available’

‘Suzanne Duff has created an excellent team who work together seamlessly to provide a superb service’

‘The firm has depth of knowledge, pensions, housing sector and market trends awareness’

‘The team is excellent and effectively advises on complex issues in a straightforward way’

‘Suzanne Duff stands out in the quality of her advice, her commitment to find an innovative solution and her loyalty to and mentoring of her team’

‘Tracy Walsh is an excellent pensions lawyer who delivers complex advice in a clear and straightforward way. She understands our commercial needs and does not sit on the fence. I would not hesitate in recommending Tracey to other clients.’

Naomi Jacques is a very knowledgeable associate who consistently delivers high quality legal advice, often against challenging deadlines.’

‘Tracy Walsh and Naomi Jacques provide a first-class advisory service, cutting through complexity and working well both with my in-house team, board and other advisers, particularly actuaries’

Key clients

Procter & Gamble


Go-Ahead Group plc

Taylor Wimpey plc

Bellway plc

Newcastle Building Society

Northern Powergrid plc

Sabic UK Petrochemicals Limited

Research Machines plc Pension Scheme

2020 Trustees

Work highlights

  • Advising Procter & Gamble (P&G) on the pension implications of P&G’s decision to acquire Merck KgAA’s consumer health division.
  • Advised the trustee of the Go-Ahead Group Pension Plan in relation to a proposal that future increases to pensions should be based on the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), rather than the Retail Prices Index (RPI).
  • A combined flexible retirement offer and enhanced transfer value exercise, as well as the buy-in of all Scheme benefits with an insurer on a risk basis, for the trustees of the 600 Group Pension Scheme.
  • Advises Northern Powergrid on its section of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme (ESPS) and its own occupational money purchase scheme.
  • Advised NEPIA (a leading marine mutual liability insurer) on the pensions-related issues it faced when restructuring its group of insurance companies in preparation for Brexit.

Irwin Mitchell

The pensions team at Irwin Mitchell is best known for its legal advisory service for trustees and sponsoring employers of occupational pension schemes. The firm also has expertise in documentation and scheme governance. Martin Jenkins leads the national practice from London, while senior associate Kate Byers is head of pension documents in Newcastle and specialises in drafting pension scheme documentation and providing technical support.

Practice head(s):

Martin Jenkins; Kate Byers


‘The firm takes a practical and pragmatic approach’

‘Reasonably competitive on price and build good client relationships’

‘The team is very approachable and works with clients to identify a realistic solution’

‘They are personable, knowledgable and build strong relationships with their clients’

Key clients

PAN Trustees Limited

Trusteeship : Fishing Co-operative (UK) Ltd Retirement & Death Benefits Scheme

Work highlights

  • Established life assurance only scheme for all UK staff of a European manufacturer of medium-size and large crawler excavators and working gear excavator.
  • Advising the trustees of a care home provider’s pension arrangement in relation to the scheme’s merger with a pension arrangement sponsored by a national health care association.
  • Provision of training and scheme governance advice to trustee board of the UK branch of a multinational food manufacturer to ensure compliance with the Pension Regulator’s twenty-first century trusteeship guidance.
  • Provision of step-by-step legal support for the trustees of a north east housing association’s pension scheme to ensure full compliance with GDPR.
  • Provision of legal advice to the trustees of a defined benefit pension plan sponsored by the UK company of an American chemical and fibre processor following the Lloyds GMP equalisation case taking into account both the immediate and longer term implications for the scheme.

Neon Legal

Boutique pensions law practice Neon Legal is ‘small, flexible and cost effective’, with a particular expertise in advising SMEs and smaller schemes. The ‘knowledgable and down-to-earthTushar Bhate leads the team and is known for his ability to handle complex matters.

Practice head(s):

Tushar Bhate


‘The small, compact practice allows for decisions to be made quickly and advice provided in a timely manner’

‘A boutique offering in the pensions market and as such it is very competitive on price’

‘Advice is given in a pragmatic way and in particular the senior partner has also the benefit of experience with top law firms’

‘Tushar Bhate continues to provide pragmatic and cost effective advice’

Key clients

Trustee of the Barratt Group Pension & Life Assurance Scheme

Plumbing Employers Action Group (PEAG)

Hays Travel Limited

MHM Pension Trustee Services

John N Dunn

Kingswood Trustees

National Federation of Retail Newsagents

Sir John Fitzgerald Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising the Plumbing Employers Action Group, an action group composed of small, medium and large employers, in respect of the Plumbing and Mechanical Services (UK) Industry Pension Scheme as regards trustee decisions and the action (or lack of) by the Pensions Regulator in respect of s75 debts which have not been collected by the trustee.
  • Advises the trustee of the Barratt Group Pension & Life Assurance Scheme on a number of various issues.
  • Advising John N Dunn on a number of its DB and DC pension arrangements.
  • Drafting a consolidated trust deed and rules for the trustees of the Andrews Sykes Group Pension Scheme.