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Sebastian has a substantial litigious and advisory pensions practice.
He has experience acting on a wide range of pensions matters and his cases have often involved significant insolvency, regulatory, employment and international aspects (including US Chapter 11 and Canadian CCAA proceedings). Sebastian has experience of pensions issues from all angles, acting regularly for trustees, members, sponsoring companies, professional advisers and regulatory bodies.
Sebastian has had particular experience of the regulatory aspects of pensions law, having worked closely with the Pensions Regulator whilst on a four-month secondment and on subsequent cases. He has, since September 2009, provided regular advice to the Pension Protection Fund following time spent with the Pension Protection Fund’s in-house legal team.
Notable matters on which Sebastian has been instructed:
- Re Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan. Acting for the trustee of the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan in relation to the largest ever financial support direction case brought by the Pensions Regulator under the Pensions Act 2004, involving a multi-billion pound buyout deficit. This has also involved advising the trustee on the interaction of its claim to a financial support direction as a result of the successful UK regulatory proceedings with the insolvency proceedings in various jurisdictions, including in the UK, the US and Canada. In the UK, this resulted in the joint application by the UK administrators of Nortel and Lehman Brothers as to the provability of liabilities under a financial support direction in Bloom v The Pensions Regulator  EWHC 3010 (Ch) (with Michael Tennet QC).
- Advising on the construction of terms in the current and historic documentation of a pension scheme relating to the provision of spouses’ pensions (with Paul Newman QC).
- Re the Derfshaw Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme. Representing the Pensions Regulator successfully in an oral hearing before the Determinations Panel and before the Tax and Chancery Chamber of the Upper Tribunal in relation to an application by the trustee for the winding-up of the scheme under S 11(1)(c) of the Pensions Act 1995: see www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/docs/DN1364577.pdf
- Medway Community Living Services Ltd -v- Medway Primary Care Trust. Advising the claimant, an employer participating in a local government pension scheme, on the value of a cessation debt owed to the scheme (with Michael Tennet QC).
- Bucks Consultants (Administration and Investment) Ltd -v- Wendy Laycock. Advising a member of a large pension scheme on the merits of a claim brought by the claimant for repayment of a lump sum pension paid to her by mistake.
- Acting for the Pensions Regulator in prohibition proceedings against a pension scheme trustee (with Michael Tennet QC and Jonathan Hilliard QC).
- Advising the Pension Protection Fund on a regular basis in relation to applications for review under S 207 of the Pensions Act 2004 and applications for maladministration under S 206 of the Pensions Act 2004.
- Advising the Pensions Regulator on its moral hazard powers in connection with a number of large pension schemes with respect to issues of conflicts of interest arising out of the investment decisions of the trustees of the schemes and the sharing of a potential surplus between the members and the employer of the schemes.
- Advising the majority shareholders of a sponsoring employer on the risks of a contribution notice being issued by the Pensions Regulator as a result of a proposed change of control of the sponsoring employer.
- Advising a sponsoring employer on whether certain corporate restructuring would amount to events that have to be notified to the Pensions Regulator.
- Advising on claims against professional pension trustees for unauthorised investments.
- Advising a member as to the level of his pensionable salary under the terms of the scheme’s governing documentation.
- Advising the Pensions Regulator on the internal delegation of its functions.
- Advising on the tax implications of the conduct of the trustees of a small self-administered pension scheme and on the restructuring of the scheme.
- Advising on family pension sharing orders.