Sacker & Partners LLP > London, England > Firm Profile

Sacker & Partners LLP

Employment > Pensions: dispute resolution Tier 1

'First rate' pensions firm Sacker & Partners LLP has ushered in a new era, with David Saunders , who is praised for his ‘calm and balanced’ approach taking over from Ian Pittaway as head of the non-contentious team.The firm is well known for its risk-transfer practice, and represented more than quarter of the £30bn market in bulk annuity transactions. An expert in scheme management, the firm also acts for a significant number of the UK’s top 200 schemes, including household name clients. Janet Brown is a lead partner for several of the firm’s major DB and DC clients. Leading on ESG issues in the sector, Edward Hayes and Fuat Sami advises trustees on corporate change and covenant protection complex restructuring projects. Litigation expert Peter Murphy leads the contentious arm of the practice which specialises in handling complex claims in the High Court and beyond, as well as regulatory investigations, indexation disputes, deed interpretation and professional negligence claims . Other recommended lawyers in this team include James BinghamArshad Khan, and well regarded Aaron Dunning-Foreman.

Practice head(s):

Peter Murphy


‘Peter Murphy is one of the top partners is this field and Arshad Khan is also highly impressive’

‘They communicate in a practical and accessible way that allows good understanding of the issues. They set clear expectations of the possible outcome in advance and have been proven to be right to date, which is important for building trust in the future. They also recognise the practical difficulties that arise in the real world and how they compare with the theoretically ideal position and are effective at finding ways to bridge the gap between the two. Finally, they are responsive, stick to the agreed deadlines and provide progress updates at suitable times to keep all parties well informed.’

‘Pragmatic and empathetic – very much feel that they understand the issues from our point of view’

‘We value their diversity, specialist expert knowledge and collaborative style of working with us. Unlike many law firms they provide clear billing and annual expenditure summaries broken down per person and area of specialism, which is extremely useful and transparent.’

‘Sackers are one of the leading pensions practices and are second to none in this field. They have a very deep team of pensions experts and I have been impressed with everyone that I have come across.’

‘The Sackers dispute resolution team is first class,  covering the full breadth of contentious activities’

‘Aaron Dunning-Foreman is thoughtful with his suggestions and will always listen to what we believe is the right approach to dealing with disputes and helping us achieve the correct outcome.’

Key clients

HSBC Bank (UK) Pension Scheme

GSK Pension Schemes

John Lewis Partnership Trust for Pensions

BBC Pension Scheme

ITV Pension Scheme

Arup UK Pension Scheme

Honda Motor Europe Limited

TfL Pension Fund

GEAPS Pension Scheme

People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals

Work highlights

  • Acted for The Trustee of the Arup UK Pension Scheme in a Part 8 application to court for directions regarding a potential change to the index by which pension increases are calculated.
  • Assisting Transfer scam complaints and data subject access requests for clients where members have transferred out their benefits, to subsequently discover that they have been the victim of a scam.
  • Advising The Trustee of the GEAPS Pension Scheme on an issue regarding the administrative practice of a particularly complex benefit under the Scheme Rules.

Employment > Pensions (non-contentious) Tier 1

Premier pensions firm Sacker & Partners LLP has ushered in a new era, with David Saunders , who is praised for his 'calm and balanced' approach taking over from Ian Pittaway as head of the non-contentious team.The firm is well known for its risk-transfer practice, and represented more than quarter of the £30bn market in bulk annuity transactions. An expert in scheme management, the firm also acts for a significant number of the UK's top 200 schemes, including household name clients. Janet Brown is a lead partner for several of the firm's major DB and DC clients. Leading on ESG issues in the sector, Edward Hayes and Fuat Sami advises trustees on corporate change and covenant protection complex restructuring projects. Litigation expert Peter Murphy leads the contentious arm of the practice which specialises in handling complex claims in the High Court and beyond, as well as regulatory investigations, indexation disputes, deed interpretation and professional negligence claims . Other recommended lawyers in this team include James Bingham, Arshad Khan, and well regarded 'No.2' Aaron Dunning-Foreman.

Practice head(s):

David Saunders

Other key lawyers:

Edward Hayes; Janet Brown; Jacqui Reid; Fuat Sami; Eleanor Daplyn ; Ralph McClelland


‘The Sackers team is a very cohesive group of pension experts each of whom have particular expertise in their specialist fields as well as wide general pensions knowledge. Their technical updates are particularly timely and clear and enable you to engage with them at the right point in time.’

‘Clearly pensions are first and foremost their USP. This is their strength and sole focus, unlike most other legal firms which are multi-discipline and have a pensions practice alongside numerous other departments. ‘

‘The people make Sackers unique – each member of our team is so likeable – we feel like we have known them forever. They are just so great to work with and knowledgeable. Even the thorniest of issues are explained well and in an interesting way.’

‘Janet Brown – down-to-earth, practical, knowledgeable. She fills us with confidence – nothing gets past her. We love her wit and style. She is an absolute gem!’

‘David Saunders has been our longstanding contact within the firm and in addition to the attributes detailed above David also provides broader input and advice based on his own wider experience all of which we find incredibly valuable. David also displays an ability to remain calm and balanced even in the most difficult of circumstances.’

Key clients

National Grid UK Pension Scheme

HSBC Bank (UK) Pension Scheme

Railways Pension Scheme

TfL Pension Fund

John Lewis Partnership Trust for Pensions

Bank of England Staff Pension Fund

DHL Group Retirement Plan

GSK Pension Schemes

Royal Mail Pension Plan

Airways Pension Scheme (APS)

Work highlights

  • Advised Trustee of the Mowlem (1993) Pension Scheme on a £150m PPF+ buyout transaction, a ground-breaking transaction which secured the benefits of more than 360 deferred members and 650 retirees.
  • Advised Trustee of the Siemens Benefits Scheme on a corporate transaction involving the carve out of Siemens gas and power business and a pensioner buy-in, securing £530m of liabilities for more than 2,000 pensioners.
  • We acted for the Trustee of the Sal Pension Scheme on the takeover of the RSA Insurance group by Intact Financial.

The firm: Sackers is the UK’s leading law firm to the pensions industry, advising pension scheme trustees, employers, providers and corporate investors on all aspects of their pension arrangements.

Widely viewed as leaders in the field, we advise more of the UK’s top 200 pension funds than any other law firm and have been consistently ranked in the top tier for pensions by The Legal 500 for over twenty years.

We are truly a ‘one stop shop’ for our pensions industry clients, advising on risk transfer solutions, ongoing operational issues, pension scheme investments and liability management, funding and security arrangements and contentious issues, as well as advising on contract based arrangements. We are equally as at home advising on the day-to-day running of a pension arrangement as we are helping clients to resolve a specific problem or complete a one-off project. This includes funding and investment, contingent assets and covenant support, managing liabilities, corporate support, regulatory, governance, risk, disputes and operations.

Principal areas of work: The firm is entirely devoted to meeting the needs of its pensions clients. Since Sackers was established in 1966, our specialist focus has helped us to build a stellar client list of over 450 occupational pension schemes of all sizes and structures and across all industry sectors. We retain key employer appointments on both an advisory and project basis, as well as advising providers, master trusts and IGCs on all aspects of DC pensions.

Whilst other firms have litigators, banking, investment and tax lawyers who ‘do some pensions work’, Sackers has specialist teams who spend all their time on pensions work. Investment lawyers advise on all the key risk transfer solutions including LDI and CDI strategies, buy-ins, buy-outs and longevity transactions, DC asset security and fund reviews and the full range of alternative investment structures. They also offer expert advice on the impact of ESG factors in pension scheme investing and managing and reporting climate risks. Pensions litigators advise on issues such as rectification, equalisation and investment claims. Banking and finance lawyers advise on a wide range of funding and security structures including contingent assets, guarantees, escrow accounts and asset-backed funding structures.

More information about who we are and what we do can be found at our website

Pensions Ian Pittaway
Pensions Pauline Sibbit
Pensions David Saunders
Pensions Peter Murphy
Helen Baker photo Helen BakerHelen is a partner with substantial experience in advising trustees, employers and…
Helen Ball photo Helen BallHelen is a partner advising trustees, employers and providers on all aspects…
Michaela Berry photo Michaela BerryMichalea heads the firm’s Public Sector team, where she advises both local…
James Bingham photo James BinghamJames is a partner in our specialist pensions litigation team. His practice…
Janet Brown photo Janet BrownJanet advises both trustees and employers, large and small, of both defined…
Claire Carey photo Claire CareyClaire is a partner and head of the firm’s Know-how team. Claire’s…
Vicky Carr photo Vicky CarrVicky is a partner and banking and finance specialist with over 15…
Philippa Connaughton photo Philippa ConnaughtonPhilippa acts for both corporate clients and trustee boards on the whole…
Ian Cormican photo Ian CormicanIan is a partner with a wide range of experience advising trustees…
Eleanor Daplyn photo Eleanor DaplynEleanor is a partner who advises a wide range of trustee and…
Faith Dickson photo Faith DicksonFaith is a partner who advises both trustees and employers on a…
Lucy Dunbar photo Lucy DunbarLucy advises trustees and employers on a wide range of defined benefit…
Emily Forrest photo Emily ForrestPartner with broad pensions experience. Emily has been involved in a number of…
Edward Hayes photo Edward HayesEdward has built a strong specialist expertise and knowledge base in all…
Tom Jackman photo Tom JackmanTom advises both employers and trustees, with a particular focus on transactions…
Georgina Jones photo Georgina JonesGeorgina is a partner in the firm’s Know-how team, which works to…
Ferdy Lovett photo Ferdy LovettFerdy advises clients from a wide range of industries and acts for…
Ralph McClelland photo Ralph McClellandPartner and finance and investment specialist with 9 years’ experience in the pensions…
Peter Murphy photo Peter MurphyPeter is head of Pensions & Investment Litigation and has over 20…
Stuart O Stuart O"BrienPartner with experience of a broad range of pension related matters, advising employers…
Paul Phillips photo Paul PhillipsPartner and head of the firm’s finance and investment group. He has…
Ian Pittaway photo Ian PittawayIan is the firm’s senior partner. He has decades of experience advising…
Jacqui Reid photo Jacqui ReidPartner and specialist pensions lawyer with over 15 years’ experience of advising…
Fuat Sami photo Fuat SamiPartner who advises trustees and employers of pension schemes (big and small)…
David Saunders photo David SaundersDavid has experience of a wide range of pension issues advising both…
Pauline Sibbit photo Pauline SibbitAs a partner for over 25 years, Pauline has a strong specialist…
Joanna Smith photo Joanna SmithJoanna is an experienced pensions lawyer, advising employer and trustee clients in…
Sarah Tier photo Sarah TierPartner with extensive experience of advising both public sector schemes and former…
Claire van Rees photo Claire van ReesPartner advising trustee and employer clients on a wide range of pensions…
Number of UK partners : 29
Number of other UK fee-earners : 36

We have maintained our focus on diversity and inclusion throughout 2021. We now have three partners who act as diversity and inclusion champions within the firm. They and the D&I committee meet regularly to ensure our policies and practices are kept under review, and to identify areas of priority, so that we can continue to improve our employment offering. Areas of priority include gender, work-life balance, wellbeing, family friendly policies, disability, social mobility and ethnicity.

Sackers has a good diversity track record in a number of areas  – we’ve had equal or greater participation of women at all levels for many years for instance and currently almost 60% of our partners are female.  However diversity and inclusion is an ongoing and evolving process and progress must never be taken for granted. There’s no magic formula but we work hard to maintain and raise awareness, to have the right policies and processes in place and to work together as a firm to take positive action.

We’re a relatively small firm and as a niche practice we can’t take on trainee solicitors, which makes it difficult to take direct action to address the under-representation of ethnic minorities in the law. We are always looking out for what we can do though. We participate in the Black Interns Matter programme with members of the firm acting as mentors as well as being sponsors of the Law Society’s Diversity Access scheme which provides LPC funding and work experience for students who have experienced barriers to entering the legal profession.

We also support a number of other social mobility initiatives, including working with schools in Tower Hamlets to provide students with interview practice. This helps improve employability, particularly for students who are often the first generation in their family to attend higher education. The firm has also provided work experience to students from inner city comprehensive schools.

Diversity and inclusion is a longstanding part of our culture at Sackers. We believe passionately that our staff will be most successful when they bring their authentic selves to work and that, in turn, our firm and its client offering will be successful too. We seek to create an environment where everyone feels included and their talents and contributions are valued. This not only enables people to achieve their full potential but also helps us provide the best service to our diverse client base.