| Call 2002
Experience and Expertise
Oliver has developed a broad pensions practice, having received instructions from many of the leading firms specialising in pensions (including Clifford Chance, Pinsent Masons and DLA Piper) and acted in important, complex and high-profile cases.
Oliver particularly enjoys the interplay between his traditional and commercial trusts practice and pensions, especially:
- Difficult questions of construction and estoppel;
- Dealing with mistakes in the implementation of or amendments to pension schemes (i.e. rectification);
- Pensions liberation (and dishonesty / breach of fiduciary duties and asset recovery);
- The administrative and disclosure obligations of trustees;
- The rights and obligations of employers and beneficiaries;
- Enforcement against pension rights, including issues of insolvency;
- Winding up issues, particularly in the event of a deficit and related financial support directives and protection/assistance schemes;
- Related professional negligence issues; and
- Dealing with complex procedural issues arising from pensions litigation, including guidance applications, representation orders and prospective costs orders.
Oliver is adept at drafting trust deeds and supplemental instruments, as well the statements of case and applications often found in technically complex pensions litigation.
Oliver has also acquired a niche specialism in pensions issues in relation to local authority outsourcing arrangements, with particular expertise in advising on and drafting complex terms in outsourcing contracts and admission agreements.
He is a member of the Association of Pension Lawyers.
Cases and Work of Note
- Mitchells & Butlers Pension Scheme (2017 -). Oliver is being led by Keith Rowley QC on a rectification and construction action concerning the true identity of a donee of a power to alter the rate at which pensions in payment and deferment are increased, and subject to that the scope of that power as regards past service.
- Re A Scheme (2017 -). Oliver is currently advising the trustees in respect of the validity of a purported amendment to the scheme (as to increases to pensions in payment) where, contrary to the scheme amendment power, there was no written consent of the principal employer.
- Lord Chancellor v Turner (2015 -). Instructed on behalf of the Lord Chancellor to advise in respect of enforcement of a damages award of £1.8m (for misappropriation of client funds) against a former solicitor and District Judge, and in particular whether it was recoverable against his judicial pension;
- Phoenix Dunlop Pension Trustees Ltd v Barnett Waddingham (2014-). High Court. Instructed in the early stages of a professional negligence action against the scheme actuaries in respect of a purported amendment to the scheme (subject to rectification claim);
- Re Dalriada Trustees Ltd (2014). Instructed by trustees of a scheme (appointed by the Pensions Regulator) to advise and draft an application for freezing, proprietary and disclosure injunctions in respect of a suspected pensions liberation scheme. Issues included whether payment out of the scheme into a supposed investment vehicle (out of which the beneficiary would ultimately receive his/her pension) amounted to a breach of trust, and subject thereto whether the recipients were potentially liable for knowing receipt / dishonest assistance;
- Re A Firm (2012). Instructed to advise an investment house on the complex structure and administration of two Self-Invested Personal Pension Schemes, held within its group;
- Re A Company (2012). Advised company on the prospects of Pensions Regulator issuing it with a Financial Support Directive;
- Re A Pension Scheme (2011-12). Instructed to advise an individual regarding his complaint against Legal & General for maladministration regarding the winding up of his pension scheme, the proposed purchase of an annuity on his behalf and the non-disclosure of information;
- Re R (2011). Instructed to advise an Irish individual (with a centre of main interest in England) on the interplay between his English insolvency and his Irish pension rights;
- HR Trustees Ltd v Wembley Plc  EWHC 2974 (Vos J). Instructed to advise, draft proceedings and represent the trustees at trial on the issue whether an amendment to the rules of a pension scheme was invalid because only four out of five of the scheme’s trustees had signed it, despite all five having agreed to the amendment, and if so whether the court could cure the defect by the application of the maxim equity looks as done which ought to be done, and correct what had been an obvious administrative error;
- GP Noble Trustees v Kelly (2010 -). Instructed for the trustees of a company pension scheme in a highly technical application seeking the Court’s approval of the settlement of a claim by the trust against advisors in respect of the negligent implementation of a change to the structure of the scheme. The question was whether the settlement was for the benefit of the members, and in light of the winding up of the scheme and the tax treatment of the changed structure, how best the settlement monies were to be applied between them;
- Re A Company (2010). Advised (with leading Counsel) as to the effect of the PPF rules in relation to the scheme.
Publications, Articles and Talks
- ‘The protection of LGPS pensions on a transfer of public sector employees to the private sector‘: Seminar to NWALP 2009;
- ‘Correcting Mistakes in Pension Scheme Documentation’” Seminar to NWALP 2014;
- “Dealing with Errors in the Execution of Trust Powers”: Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal, Jan/Feb ’14 ed.
- Joint author of Chapter A2 of Tolley’s Pensions Law Service: Types of Pension Schemes – Work-Based Pension Schemes.
- Author of various Lexis Nexis Practice Notes on Pensions:
- “Amending Mistakes and Rectification“;
- “Costs and Pensions Litigation“;
- “Making a Complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman”;
- “The Pensions Ombudsman: When he should be used and what are his powers”;
- “Appeals against Determinations by the Pensions Ombudsman”;
- “Trustee claims against Advisors (Professional Negligence)”,
- “Discretionary Decisions – What must Pension Trustees Do” and
- “Duties of Pension Trustees – An Overview”
- Author of Case Note for Lexis Nexis: “Pensions Roundup 2014“;
- Interview Article for Lexis Nexis on Royal Mail Group v Evans .
- Formal Defects in Pension Scheme Documentation – HR Trustees v Wembley Plc 5 years on – Talk given at the APL Annual Conference 2016 in Budapest. The paper is published in Trusts Law International, Vol 30(4), 203-224;
- Litigation Round-up (2016) – A webinar for Lexis Nexis;
- PPF – A Focus on Litigation – Part of the MBL Pensions Conference 2016.