Ian Gordon Partner Head of Pensions Disputes (UK)

Speaks:  English

Qualified: 2001 - Solicitor of England & Wales

Called to the Bar: 1994 - England & Wales

Primary office:  London

Ian Gordon

Leading our Pensions Disputes practice, Ian has considerable experience helping clients to resolve disputes or potential disputes involving occupational pension schemes.

Ian takes time to understand clients' concerns, goals and priorities. With clear explanation and analysis, he brings his experience to bear to devise and lead strategies for meeting clients' objectives. Ian makes what can be complex accessible in order to resolve disputes or potential disputes involving pension schemes as speedily and as cost-effectively as possible. Where their interests are directly affected, he deals with scheme members with appropriate sensitivity.

Ian specialises exclusively in pensions disputes and has very extensive experience of a wide range of work in this area. Clients value the insights he brings to cases so that problems are resolved in not only their technical but also their commercial context. He also has considerable experience advising clients on steps they might take to avoid issues and uncertainties arising in the first place.

Where unavoidable, Ian's work has involved bringing proceedings in the High Court, including applications to rectify the rules of pension schemes, claims asking the Court to rule on the meaning and effect of provisions in pensions schemes or pensions legislation, as well as (where necessary) advising on professional negligence claims (claimant and defendant).

Most of Ian's clients are trustees or employers of occupational pension schemes, both in the private and public sector (where Ian's clients include charities, borough and city councils, as well as overseas governments with pensions schemes in England). Ian also has considerable experience of advising members of schemes where their interests are affected.

Ian has advised on the pension schemes of a number of household names, including Britvic, Axminster Carpets and Mitchells & Butlers.

Client have praised Ian for:

  • his "formidable and acute command of the legal arguments and how to play them";
  • providing "outstanding advice and service … throughout the many twists and turns in the case";
  • his "clear, pragmatic and robust approach";
  • "always [getting] straight to the heart of the matter, with insight, crisp delivery and periodic flashes of keen wit";
  • being "approachable, readily contactable and [dealing] with matters with calmness, impressive efficiency and speed."
  • Ian is ranked in Band 2 by Chambers (UK) for his "excellent industry knowledge" and for providing "good-quality, pragmatic advice".
  • Testimonials for Legal 500 say "Ian Gordon always gives in-depth analysis and can explain the big picture issues to trustees. Able to give a practical way forward and is an excellent support when handling delicate issues."

In recognition of the strength of our practice, Gowling WLG won the UK Pensions Award 2022 for Pensions Litigation Firm of the Year.


Ian's experience includes:

  • Acting for the Trustee of the Mitchells & Butlers Pension Plan and the 22,000 members it represented in High Court proceedings in which the court rectified the pension increase rules in that scheme.
  • Acting for the Trustee of the Axminster Carpets Group Retirement Benefits Plan in what is the leading case concerning limitation and interest in a pensions context.
  • Acting for the employer of the CMG UK Pension Scheme in a leading case on forfeiture and recoupment in a pensions context.
  • Acting for the Trustee of the Britvic Pension Plan in the Court of Appeal case on the interpretation of that scheme's pension increase rules.
  • Acting for the employers of two schemes in relation to issues arising from their pension increase provisions.
  • Acting for borough and city councils in disputes arising out of their participation in pension funds.
  • Advising clients on accessing surpluses in pension schemes of which they are the principal employers.
  • Acting for members in various cases in which employers sought rectification of the schemes' rules, all of which were resolved by summary judgment, one by expedition to enable a corporate transaction to go ahead.

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2022

  • 2019

    • Rankings & Awards
      Chambers (UK) 2020 - Pensions litigation: UK-wide - Band 2
  • 2018

    • Rankings & Awards
      Chambers (UK) 2019 - Pensions litigation: UK-wide - Band 3
  • 2016

    • Career
      Gowling WLG (UK) LLP, partner
  • 2014

    • Career
      Wragge & Lawrence Graham & Co LLP, partner
  • 2011

    • Career
      Wragge & Co LLP, director
  • 2007

    • Career
      Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP, senior associate
  • 2001

    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
      Qualified, Solicitor of England & Wales
  • 1997

    • Career
      Simmons & Simmons LLP, associate
  • 1995

    • Career
      Beachcroft Stanleys LLP, associate
  • 1994

    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
      Called to the Bar, England & Wales
  • 1993

    • Education
      Christ Church, Oxford, Bachelor of Civil Law
  • 1989

    • Education
      Christ Church, Oxford, BA Jurisprudence