Peter Shave has 20 years' experience of dealing with pensions related disputes before a variety of tribunals – the courts, the Pension Regulator's Determinations Panel, the Pensions Ombudsman and the PPF Ombudsman.
Peter leads a team of eight lawyers within the pensions team across our offices in London and Birmingham. It is a specialist team with lawyers who are familiar with pension issues on a day-to-day basis. This means they can provide value for money for clients by quickly identifying the key issues and the appropriate strategy for dealing with a dispute when one arises.
In addition to his dispute work, Peter has been involved in a wide range of advisory work for clients including substantial buy-in and buy-out projects, plan funding negotiations, day-to-day member queries and plan winding up.
Peter's clients are the sponsoring employers and trustees of occupational pension plans. He regularly works with lawyers in other jurisdictions (recent examples including France, Germany, Italy, the USA and Japan) where their clients have pension issues affecting their UK operations.
Some pension disputes have significant and complex implications for plan members. Peter has very considerable experience of acting in such cases for a representative class of members. He takes a sensible and pragmatic approach. This means that employers and trustees can be confident that the relevant issues are tested at proportionate cost with appropriate, but sympathetic, engagement with the representative defendant and the wider membership.
Many of the cases Peter has been involved in, at all levels of court, have established precedents of continuing relevance to the pensions industry.
The hallmarks of Peter's practice are:
- a collaborative approach with clients and other professional advisers to achieve the client's desired goal
- a belief that prevention is better than cure, so working with clients to identify the sorts of issues that can cause problems and the steps that can be taken to minimise the occurrence of claims
- a flexible, cost-effective service offered to national and international clients from London or Birmingham as appropriate.
In addition to client work, Peter provides pro bono advice on pension issues through The Pensions Advisory Service and is a regular speaker at industry events.
Helping a global building supplies company successfully resist a very substantial claim from the trustees of one of its pension schemes. We set up a strong legal team which worked very effectively together to present the arguments to court in the best light, securing the desired outcome.
Working with trustees of a defined benefit occupational pension scheme to resist a member's challenge to a complex restructuring of the scheme. The restructuring secured core benefits for members at a higher level than would have been the case if the sponsoring employer had become insolvent. It also allowed the sponsoring employer to invest in its business, free from the legacy pension issues, to the benefit of employees, shareholders and the pension scheme members. Had the member's challenge succeeded, it would have been very damaging to the sponsoring employer's business and the level of pension payable to the other members of the scheme.
Working on behalf of members of a defined benefit occupational pension scheme to resolve issues of doubt over the pension payable to them. The problem arose because of defects in the scheme documentation. We were able to show that a higher level of benefits was properly due. This meant that members received more than might otherwise have been the case following the insolvency of the sponsoring employer of the scheme.
Advising the US parent of a UK company when they faced the prospect of The Pension Regulator exercising its moral hazard powers against it. This required a deep understanding of a fast-evolving area of pensions law, as well as an ability to sift through voluminous evidence and engage accountancy experts to advise on financial issues affecting the corporate group. We were ultimately able to reach a position where The Pension Regulator did not seek to exercise its powers.
Acting for an administering authority to recover contributions due in respect of The Local Government Pensions Scheme from an admitted body which challenged the terms and effect of their admission agreement. Our analysis of the issues and strategic approach to the litigation enabled our client to conduct negotiations with the admitted body from a position of strength. This secured payment over a term that was acceptable to the administering authority, given its responsibilities to other employers in the fund. It also allowed the admitted body to continue its activities, which were for the benefit of the local community.