Lydia Seymour

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Lydia Seymour has a specialist pensions and employment law practice, including professional negligence claims in both areas. She has been recognised by the legal directories as a leading junior since 2005 and is listed for employment, pensions and professional negligence.

Her practice includes all aspects of ‘black letter’ pensions law, including: de-risking, rectification,  issues arising in multi-employer schemes and trustee duties. Her clients include the Pensions Regulator, employers, trustees, trade unions and individuals.

She also acts in claims of professional negligence arising from actuarial and legal advice to pension schemes, including cases in which allegations of breach of duty have also been made in respect of professional or lay trustees.

Given the dual nature of her practice, Lydia has developed a particularly strong reputation in the areas of crossover between pensions and employment law, and she is instructed in many of the leading cases in this area, particularly those which raise issues of age or sex discrimination in relation to pension provision, TUPE and breach of trust and confidence.

She also has substantial experience of statutory schemes and advises regularly on issues relating to the Local Government Pension Scheme, the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, University Superannuation Scheme and the NHS Pension Scheme.

Lydia has wide experience of employment and discrimination cases at all levels, appearing regularly in complex and high-profile discrimination and whistleblowing matters. She is also regularly instructed in claims arising out of the termination of employment, particularly those raising bonus or restrictive covenant issues.

Lydia sat as a fee paid Employment Judge in various London regions for 12 years.

Lydia has a first-class degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University and a distinction in the CPE Diploma in Law.

Clients and the legal directories have recognised her excellence in analysis and advocacy, ability to explain complex issues in plain English and strong commitment to her cases.


Lydia acts and advises in a wide range of contentious and non-contentious pensions work including ‘black letter’ pensions law; issues relating to statutory schemes and claims at the interface of pensions and employment law.

She has acted and advised in numerous High Court claims raising issues of scheme amendment (including estoppel and misrepresentation); de-risking (including Courage fetter issues and the pensions / employment crossover implications); equalisation and rectification. She has advised the Pensions Regulator on issues including scheme closures, section 75 debts, clearance statements and auto-enrolment.

She also has substantial experience of professional negligence actions relating to pensions, including advising and acting in claims involving allegations against actuaries and legal advisors, limitation problems and complex issues relating to loss. In addition to acting for companies and corporate trustees in pensions professional negligence claims she has also acted for a former lay trustee of a large defined benefit scheme accused of breach of trust in connection with losses to a pension scheme following the collapse of the principal employer.

Lydia is a leading practitioner in cases which raise issues of both pensions and employment law, and she is instructed in many of the leading cases in this area. These include age discrimination claims arising from scheme amendments and redundancy situations; TUPE – related pension issues, particularly those relating to the implications of the Proctor and Gamble decision; claims for breach of the implied term of trust and confidence arising from non-pensionability agreements and de-risking exercises, and sex discrimination and equal pay claims including calculation of the pension entitlements of part time workers.

In relation to statutory schemes, Lydia advises regularly on applications and responses in proceedings before the Pensions Ombudsman and has wide experience of the Local Government Pensions Scheme (LGPS), Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS), University Superannuation Scheme (USS) and the Principal Civil Services Pension Scheme (PCSPS). She has also advised trade unions on issues arising from the NHS Pension Scheme and Firefighters’ pensions.

Notable Pensions cases

BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions Ltd v Winslett [2022] PE-000005 (Chancery Division)

Lydia acted for the representative beneficiary in this rectification claim which raised various scheme amendment issues including retrospectivity and evidence in circumstances in which decisions were taken by one entity in a group of companies whilst a different entity was the signatory to the pension deed. The claim was the subject of a court approved compromise.

Ceredigion Recycling and Furniture Team v Pope & Ors [2022] EWCA Civ 22

Lydia acted for the company in this Chancery Division remedy hearing in which the company obtained an order for the return of its business premises and damages from former Directors who were found to have taken them in breach of duty and contract and placed them into Self-Invested Personal Pensions (‘SIPPs’)

Motor Industry Pension Plan (Chancery Division)

Lydia acts for the Trustee in this matter (led by Richard Hitchcock KC) which concerns a multi-sector pension scheme for the motor industry.

The Local Government Pension Scheme and provision of a Sharia law compliant alternative

Lydia was asked to provide policy advice to the Local Government Association on whether authorities are obliged to offer a sharia-law compliant pension scheme in circumstances in which employees were refusing membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme on religious grounds. Lydia’s advice addressed the question of whether failure to provide a sharia-compliant pension scheme could be actionable discrimination as well as the potential implications for councils if they did provide such an alternative and were then asked to provide schemes which were compliant with other religious or philosophical beliefs. The Advice was published and provided to all local authorities in England and Wales and can be read here:

Sargeant & others v London Fire & Emergency Planning Auth & Others [2021] Pens L.R. 12

Lydia (led by Andrew Short KC) acted for over 6000 firefighters in their successful age discrimination challenges following changes to their pension entitlements. The claims were upheld by the Court of Appeal in 2018 and in 2022 settlements were secured in respect of each claimants injury to feelings.
Lydia also acted (led by Keith Bryant KC) for over 1000 Ministry of Defence police officers who brought similar claims which were also settled during 2022.

Carr v Thales Pension Trustees Ltd [2020] EWHC 949 (Ch)

Acted for the company (led by Nicolas Stallworthy KC) in this High Court appeal against a decision of the Pensions Ombudsman relating to whether a pension scheme had ‘hard-wired’ RPI increase provisions.

Sergeant & Others v Department for Constitutional Affairs & Others [2018] 3 All E.R. 245

Lydia (led by Andrew Short QC) acted in the Court of Appeal for the successful Claimants in this claim brought by over 6,000 firefighters claiming age discrimination, equal pay and sex and race discrimination in relation to the transitional provisions of the new firefighters’ pension scheme

FBU v Fordham [2018] EWHC 1978 (Ch); [2018] 7 WLUK 661

Acted for the employer in this Chancery Division appeal against the finding of the Pensions Ombudsman concerning the interpretation of scheme rules, their interacting with contractual provisions and limitation.

Europe Arab Bank & others v Everest (Chancery Division 2018)

Lydia acted for the Representative Beneficiary in this complex claim for rectification of three separate pension deeds which was the subject of a court-approved compromise.

IBM United Kingdom Holdings Ltd v Dalgleish [2015] Pens L.R. 99

Lydia was part of the team acting for the Representative Beneficiary in the remedy proceedings in the long-running IBM pension litigation.

Lydia has over twenty years’ experience of all aspects of employment and discrimination law. Latterly she has specialised in complex discrimination claims (including claims at the interface of pensions and employment law), whistleblowing and High Court bonus and restrictive covenant issues.

Comments in the legal directories include: “Razor-sharp, with encyclopaedic knowledge of the constantly shifting field of employment law”; “flexible, unfussy and totally on the ball” and “calm, thoughtful and a great advocate”.

Recently, Lydia has been instructed by both employers and employees on a number of claims raising issues of age discrimination and pension entitlement (including claims relating to transitional provisions in scheme amendments and redundancy), as well as acting in a number high profile claims brought by senior women working in the city alleging structural sex discrimination in relation to bonus payments and promotion.

She acts for companies, individuals and trade unions, and advised the Commission for Equality and Human Rights on aspects of the Equality Act 2010.

Lydia sat a fee paid Employment Judge in various London regions for 12 years. She co-edits the Employment sections of Butterworths’ Civil Court Practice (The Green Book) and is a co-editor of Tottels’ Discrimination Law.

Notable Employment cases

Brooks v Pletini [2022] EAT 88; [2022] 1 WLUK 567

Lydia acted for the successful appellant in this EAT hearing in which the ET had gone ahead with a hearing despite the Respondent contending that she had not received notice of proceedings as a result of the closure of her workplace during the covid pandemic. She acted for the same client in High Court proceedings staying a Notice of Enforcement of the original Judgment of the Employment Tribunal. The decision is one of a relatively small number on the role of the civil courts in the enforcement of ET Judgments, and the power of the High Court to stay execution pending an appeal to the EAT.

London Fire Commissioner v Sargeant [2021] ICR 1057

Lydia was led by Andrew Short in this EAT hearing which followed the firefighters’ successfully claims of age discrimination in relation to changes to their pension. In this Judgment, the EAT set out how the non-discrimination rule in pension schemes works and found that the firefighters’ employers were responsible for the discrimination which had occurred even though they believed that they were acting in accordance with the terms of a statutory instrument.

London Underground Limited v Mighton [2020] EWHC 3099; [2020] 11 WLUK 242

Acted for Transport for London (leading Elizabeth Grace) in this successful application in the Queen’s Bench Division for a general civil restraint order against a former employee

London Underground Limited v Amissah – [2019] EWCA Civ 125; [2019] ICR 1155

Acted for the Respondent in a this high-profile group claim under the Agency Workers Regulations concerning the liability of the end user of agency workers in a situation in which money is withheld by an employment agency which subsequently goes into liquidation.

Sargeant & Others v Department for Constitutional Affairs & Others – [2018] EWCA Civ 2844; [2020] 1 All E.R. 304

Acted for the successful Claimants (led by Andrew Short QC) in this claim brought by over 6,000 firefighters claiming age discrimination, equal pay and sex and race discrimination in relation to the transitional provisions of the new firefighters’ pension scheme.

Parker v Medical Defence Union & Another – EAT [2017] 11 WLUK 123

Lydia acted for the Claimant in this EAT claim raising novel issues relating to the appropriate basis of calculation of pension benefits for members of final salary schemes who worked both part time and full time during their working life.

O’Sullivan v London Underground Limited – EAT [2016] 1 WLUK 626

Appeal to the EAT on the award of death in service and pension benefits to the dependants of an employee who died during the course of Employment Tribunal proceedings.

Lees v Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine - EAT [2016] 1 WLUK 155

Appeal to the EAT on an age discrimination claim relating to an employer’s refusal to declare an employee redundant in circumstances in which an enhanced pension would be due.

Weerasinghe v Basildon & Thurrock NHS Trust - EAT [2016] ICR 305

Two appeals to the EAT – one on the meaning of the term ‘cross appeal’ in the context of EAT procedure, and the second on the correct approach to be taken by an Employment Tribunal in deciding whether there has been discrimination arising from disability.

Related updates

Lydia Seymour 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.

"She's a brilliant barrister with incredible practical skills. She can distil complex cases into simple and comprehensible terms."; "Lydia is exceptionally hard-working. Her advice is pragmatic, taking into consideration the commercial realities of the situation on which she's advising. She does not sit on the fence but is straight-talking, with a very high level of legal knowledge. She has an extremely pleasant manner and clients like her and have full trust in her."; "Lydia is unrivalled in her knowledge and ability to handle complex matters. She is the first port of call for all of our queries as she has an understanding and empathy towards clients."

Employment, Chambers & Partners 2024

"Lydia is unrivalled in her knowledge and ability to handle complex pension and discrimination matters. She is the first port of call for all of our queries and has an understanding and empathy towards clients that makes her one of the country's most effective advocates."

Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2024

'She is excellent at distilling very complicated matters into plain language. She provides not only great technical legal advice but commercial pragmatic options for the client. She is also very good with the clients. No weaknesses.'

Professional Negligence, Legal 500, 2024

'Charming, organised and reassuring. Gives excellent advice on rectifications.’

Pensions, Legal 500, 2024

'Lydia is an impressive technical barrister. She understands the client's strategic aims and her advice is clear and practical.'

Employment, Legal 500, 2024

“Lydia is excellent for employment law and has great client service.”

Employment, Chambers and Partners 2023

“Lydia is not only thorough, well detailed and commercially sound in her advice, but she also has excellent advocacy skills.”

Employment, Chambers and Partners 2023

“Lydia is an excellent senior junior barrister for pensions disputes.”

Pensions, Chambers and Partners 2023

"Lydia has an ability to grasp complicated legal issues by the horns and deal with them in plain language. As an advocate, she is excellent, delivering a highly skilled cross-examination. She is incredibly thorough and has a sharp mind."

Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2023

"Highly intelligent, excellent with clients, very hard working and diligent. Always on top of the detail."

Pensions, Legal 500 2023

"Lydia has fantastic client-care skills and inspires confidence. Lydia is extremely knowledgeable and also commercially astute - a great negotiator."

Employment, Legal 500 2023

"Lydia has an ability to grasp complicated legal issues by the horns and deal with them in plain language. As an advocate, she is excellent, delivering a highly skilled cross-examination. She is incredibly thorough and has a sharp mind."

Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2022

"She is very experienced with great technical knowledge which she can distil into layman's terms."

Pensions, Legal 500 2022

"Lydia knows the law in this area like a walking text book - she is able to explain complicated concepts clearly and persuasively in lay terms, and has phenomenal tactical acuity and judgement."

Employment, Legal 500 2022

"She is exceptionally good and knows everything there is to know about employment law; shes a wonderful tactician."

Employment, Chambers & Partners 2020

"She's excellent on paper and on her feet, technically excellent and a pleasure to work with."

Employment, Chambers & Partners 2020

"She is hugely talented and has excellent skills and ability."

Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2021

"She is absolutely fantastic to work with and an expert on discrimination matters."

Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2021

Really knows her subject, prepares very diligently, is unfailingly helpful, and utterly fearless in court.

Employment, Legal 500 2021

She has excellent attention to detail, and is hardworking and knowledgeable in the pensions field.

Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2021

"Very insightful. Quick to grasp the key issues and navigate the way to a practical outcome. Excellent attention to detail. Hard-working and knowledgeable. Easy to work with."

Pensions, Legal 500 2021

"Phenomenally pragmatic, very clear and concise, and extremely commercial."

Employment, Chambers & Partners 2020

"She’s very bright and has excellent strategic and tactical acumen."

Employment, Chambers & Partners 2020

"Lydia is always willing to go the extra mile for her clients. She is incredibly thorough and always well prepared."

Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2020

"She is very strategic and a deep thinker. She's incredibly good at relaying complex pensions issues in simple terms."

Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2020

"An extremely able counsel; client friendly, clear, strategically and legally astute and a real pleasure to work with."

Employment, Legal 500 2020

"A go-to junior in the employment/pensions area."

Pensions, Legal 500 2020

"She is experienced in pensions-related professional negligence."

Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2020

"She is excellent and incredibly hardworking."

Employment, Legal 500 2019

"Very responsive and proactive."

Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2019

"…has a good handle on the detail."

Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2019

"Very knowledgeable, intelligent and personable."

Employment, Chambers & Partners 2019

"…has an in-depth knowledge of the law."

Employment, Chambers & Partners 2019

“A good strategic thinker. She has an amazing ability to distil complex concepts to a digestible form.” 

Employment, Chambers & Partners 2018

"Incredibly thorough and puts everything into the case, leaving no stone unturned."

Employment, Chambers & Partners 2018

"She is incredibly thorough, well prepared and always willing to go the extra mile for her clients."

Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2018

"She is very methodical, very personable and a very good team player."

Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2018

"She is an excellent advocate, who is incredibly hardworking, strategic and insightful."

Employment, Legal 500 2017

"She is a very good communicator and has the benefit of good experience in both pensions and employment law."

Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2017

"She manages to translate pension issues into laymans terms."

Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2017

"She is a good team player who will fight the client’s corner. She is also very thorough."

Employment, Chambers & Partners 2017

"She leaves the client with the clear sense that they have had the best possible representation."

Employment, Chambers & Partners 2017

"Quite simply awesome; she combines clear and practical advice with being extremely responsive."

Employment, Legal 500 2016

"Always well-prepared, she’s flexible, unfussy and totally on the ball."

Chambers & Partners 2016

To find out more, contact Matt Sale on +44 (0)20 7427 4910 or Lexie Johnson on + 44 (0) 207 427 0801 for a confidential discussion.

Our dedicated practice management team can help you identify the right barrister for your case.

  • Sat as a fee-paid Employment Judge in various London regions for 12 years.
  • APL
  • ELBA

  • Conversational French

  • Co-editor of the Employment section of Butterworths’ Civil Court Practice (The Green Book)
  • Co-editor of Tottels’ ‘Discrimination Law’.
  • Pensions: Law, Policy and Practice (2020, Hart Publishing) Chapter on ‘The Courts, Non-Discrimination and Systemic Change in UK Public Sector Pension Schemes’

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