Andrew Spink QC
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Andrew Spink QC is a highly respected advocate with 32 years’ experience at the Bar, of which 15 years have been as a successful QC. He is the current Chair of the Commercial Bar Association, one of the Heads of Outer Temple Chambers and a part-time judge sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench and Chancery Divisions of the English High Court and as a Justice of the Astana International Financial Centre in Kazakhstan (where he is also a member of the panel of arbitrators).
Andrew has a broad-based business law practice, specialising particularly in disputes relating to the interpretation or breach of most types of commercial contract and trust deed, claims for breach of fiduciary duty, freezing injunctions and asset recovery, CPR Part 8 claims as well as hostile CPR Part 7 claims for damages and other relief in the context of pensions and other commercial trusts, banking and financial services, professional negligence claims and company law issues.
As well as appearing as an advocate, he is highly sought after for the provision of expert technical and strategic advice to clients, both in relation to complex commercial civil disputes and in non-contentious situations (corporate mergers or takeovers; in relation to the many issues arising in the administration of large occupational pension schemes, including dealing with the UK Pensions Regulator; advising on pensions issues in the area of corporate insolvency; advising on issues of contractual interpretation in day-to-day commercial business life and on company law issues).
Andrew is also experienced in cases involving mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution, together with regulatory cases in front of the Determinations Panel of the Pensions Regulator and the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber). This is a relatively new and fast-developing pensions jurisdiction where Andrew has been involved in several of the most significant recent cases. Andrew’s clients include individuals, partnerships, companies (including financial institutions), pension scheme trustees / employers / members, Government departments, International Financial Centres, and participants in multiparty group actions.
Andrew is ranked in Band 1 for Pensions in Chambers UK, which notes that “He is an extremely well-respected silk, winning glowing praise from market sources for his exceptional advocacy skills and client-focused approach” and in the top tier for Pensions in Legal 500 which notes that he is “A powerful advocate, who has the ear of the court and can be relied on in an emergency”. Andrew is also listed as a leading silk for Professional Negligence in Legal 500.
Over the years, Andrew has been variously described in the legal directories as “terrifyingly good in court”, “highly valued”, “seriously good”, “reliable, commercial and pragmatic” and “very personable and down to earth.” “[He is] Terrifyingly good and incisive” and “He has a very good client manner; he puts clients at ease and always seems in control.” The Legal 500 adds that he is “definitely someone you want on your side…he has extensive expertise and is a real pleasure to work with.”
Disciplinary & Regulatory
Regulatory Pensions Work – Cases
Andrew has been involved in a number of the leading cases involving regulatory intervention by the UK Pensions Regulator, including its attempts to exercise its financial support direction (“FSD”) jurisdiction extra-territorially.
Guinness Peat Group Plc (“GPG”) and the Coats UK Pension Plan (2014 – ongoing)
Andrew is instructed as leading counsel by the Trustees of the Coats UK Pension Plan in what is probably the largest and most complex on-going regulatory action brought by the Pension Regulator in respect of one of the UK’s largest schemes (with in the region of 27,000 members). The Pensions Regulator is seeking Financial Support Directions against various GPG entities and the case raises the hugely important questions concerning the “insufficiently resourced” jurisdiction. The action has been hotly contested by GPG and the case is consequently proceeding as what is effectively a massive piece of multi-party commercial litigation.
Carrington Wire (2012 – 2015)
Andrew acted for the Trustee of the Carrington Wire DB Pension Scheme in a case in which the Pensions Regulator sought Contribution Notices against Severstal (one of the largest mining companies in the world) and the director of the corporate purchaser of Severstal’s former UK business. Andrew acted for the Trustees who sought to recover the multi-million pound scheme deficit from these Targets. The case was ground-breaking given that it was the first time the Regulator had sought to invoke the “material detriment” test set out in Section 38A of the Pensions Act 2004. Important issues of construction of that section arose, as well as heavily disputed issues of fact. The case settled against Severstal, but proceeded successfully against the director in March 2015 with important rulings on the issues of law being made.
Lehman (2010 – 2014)
The Lehman litigation has been the largest and most wide-ranging series of UK proceedings arising out of the ‘moral hazard’ legislation. Andrew acted on behalf of 4 Lehman companies from the outset of the case in 2010 when 2 of those companies successfully secured a determination that no FSD should be issued against them. Upon the Trustees initiating a reference from that determination to the Upper Tribunal, his clients’ application to strike out the reference became the first ever pensions case to reach the Court of Appeal from the Upper Tribunal and is the leading case on the Regulator’s FSD jurisdiction. The underlying references went back to the UT and were proceeding to a 3-week hearing in February 2015 before settlement.
Andrew acted on behalf of all six members of the worldwide Chemtura Group of companies against which the Regulator was seeking the issuing of a Financial Support Direction, the matter settling shortly before a Determinations Panel hearing.
Andrew provided expert evidence on UK pensions legal issues to the Court in Ontario in proceedings arising there out of the Regulator’s attempt to obtain a Financial Support Direction against members of the Nortel Group of companies.
Appointments & Memberships
As of July 2017, Andrew is the new Chair of the Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR), having previously served as COMBAR’s Vice Chair as well as Chair of its International Committee, which is responsible for coordinating the Association’s activities in all non-UK jurisdictions. Before that, Andrew was Chair of COMBAR’s North American Committee and organised the annual North American Meetings for 2012 and 2013.
Internationally, Andrew is a registered advocate at the Dubai International Financial Centre and is a legal consultant at the New York State Bar.
In the UK, he sits as a Deputy High Court Judge in both the Chancery and Queen’s Bench Divisions and has been a Civil Recorder since 2005. He was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in the QBD in 2008 and the Chancery Division in 2011.
With effect from 1 January 2018, Andrew was appointed on a part-time basis as one of the initial panel of Justices at the Astana International Financial Centre Court in Kazakhstan together with Lord Woolf (Chief Justice), Sir Robin Jacob, Sir Rupert Jackson, Sir Jack Beatson, Sir Stephen Richards and Lord Faulks QC. See: http://aifc-court.kz/about-the-aifc-court.
Andrew was elected as a Bencher of the Middle Temple in 2010.
He is joint head of Outer Temple Chambers and Head of the Business Department.
Andrew has been a Civil Recorder since 2005 and was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in the QBD in 2008 and in the Chancery Division in 2011.
Andrew Spink QC is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, please click here.
Areas of Law
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Commercial & Chancery
- Disciplinary & Regulatory
- Financial Services
- Pensions & Trusts
- Professional Negligence
“He is an extremely practical and commercial QC who puts clients at ease.” Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2018
“He is technically excellent and driven by the client’s goals.” Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2018
“Masters very technical briefs quickly.” Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2017
“A powerful advocate, who has the ear of the court and can be relied on in an emergency.” Pensions, Legal 500 2017
“Any opinion of his carries weight with the other side.” Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2017
“He takes everything into account, thinks outside the box and thinks commercially.” Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2017
“A leader in the field.” Pensions, Legal 500 2016
“He has a very measured type of approach and he is very thorough.” Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2016
“A superb thinker who processes all of the arguments and delivers first-rate analysis.” Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2016
“An excellent barrister who comes up with well-considered, persuasive answers. A good man to use in practice and not just academically. He has the ability to convey incredibly difficult matters clearly, and is terrifyingly good. He is tactically brilliant and is an exceptionally good all-rounder.” Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2015
“Great with clients and as an advocate.” Pensions, Legal 500 2015
“Terrifyingly good and incisive.” “He has a very good client manner; he puts clients at ease and always seems in control.” Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2014
“He has brilliant commercial instincts and extraordinary attention to detail.” Pensions, Legal 500 2014
“Extremely easy to work with, responsive, hard-working and a lawyer who understands the issues clients face.” Noted for having “one of the best attitudes to client service at the Bar”, he received glowing praise from instructing solicitors across the country, who were taken with his “commercial and robust” advice. Pensions, Chambers & Partners, 2013
Andrew Spink QC is “terrifyingly good in court.” Pensions, Legal 500 2013
Andrew Spink QC has demonstrated that “he can mix it with the best, and do so with an easy, commercial manner.” Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2012
Andrew Spink QC demonstrates “great leadership and tactical nous.” Pensions, Legal 500 2012
“Highly regarded as someone who is “not only strong technically, but is also very hands-on and practical.” Especially good when in court, “he has an impressive portfolio of cases.” Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2011
“Definitely someone you want on your side”, “he has extensive expertise and is a real pleasure to work with.” Pensions, Legal 500 2011