Charities Blog
A regularly updated blog commenting on pension issues with particular relevance to charities and their schemes...


Whether you are an employer providing valuable benefits for your staff or trustees coping with the legal responsibilities of running a scheme, UK pensions law continues to present a number of challenges. Our pensions team has the experience and expertise to help you to meet these challenges in a way that suits your commercial interests.

For those with traditional occupational pension schemes established under trust, we have the full range of skills and experience necessary to deal with scheme mergers and restructurings, pensions issues in corporate transactions, closure to further accrual and replacement benefit schemes, buy-out, buy-in and liability hedging investments and scheme winding up. We maintain a healthy working relationship with the Pensions Regulator and have a thorough understanding of its processes.

We lead many of our clients through the legal and regulatory challenges presented by compulsory pensions or automatic enrolment. We start by assessing your benefit design requirements and review existing arrangements, and from this design a bespoke plan to help your business move forward  and to comply with associated anti-discrimination laws and data protection legislation. To find out more about when and how these rules apply, read our auto-enrolment basics guide here.

We have a market-leading public sector pensions practice with vast experience in a wide range of transactions from routine outsourcing through to multi-disciplinary groundbreaking projects spanning several government departments.

So whether you're a major IT contractor, a newly-formed mutually-owned organisation or a public sector body, we have the expertise, the commercial knowhow and the reputational standing to ensure that you get the best outcome possible.

Finally, if you find yourself in a legal battle over a pensions issue we have a highly rated team for specialist pensions dispute resolution covering the High Court, Court of Appeal, tax tribunals, Pensions Ombudsman and disputes with the Pensions Regulator.

Legal 500 UK describes David Gallagher as a 'very experienced and able pensions lawyer offering structured, reliable solutions to client problems.' 

Whilst Michael Calvert is praised for being "measured and thorough...he has all the angles covered and prepares for all potential outcomes".

Chambers UK says Andrew Patten is "praised by commentators for his technical ability".

Whilst Murray Keir is highlighted because "he can break down jargon and explain things in layman's terms".


Notable deals / highlights

  • Acted for a major transatlantic banking group on the merger of two UK pension schemes, working closely with our client and the other advising firms to anticipate issues and address them in a constructive and collaborative way to ensure the project was completed in the most cost effective and efficient manner while being consistent with the protection of members interests.

  • Advised a utility company client on a major project to cap pensionable salary and prospectively close its final salary pension schemes from 2015. This included a review of the schemes' documentation, contracts of employment, trade union agreements and statutory controls on amendments.

  • Acted for a long-standing trustee client in the negotiation, documentation and filing of a parent company guarantee to mitigate the PPF levy. We used our international colleagues to advise on the proper execution of the guarantee in the parent company's jurisdiction.

  • Advised a leading UK independent trustee through the winding up of the British pension scheme sponsored by an international bank, including on member communications, insurance buyout terms, use of surplus and regulatory compliance.

  • Advised a major UK retailer on a number of pension changes prior to their staging date for automatic enrolment, including harmonisation of contribution rates and pay definitions and associated employment law issues with staff handbooks and contracts.

Expertise spotlight

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