Andrew Spink QC
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Andrew Spink QC is a highly respected advocate with 35 years’ experience at the Bar, of which 17 years have been as a successful QC. He is 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 served as the Chair of the Commercial Bar Association from 2017 to 2019.
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, cross-jurisdictional issues, 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, a wide range of other commercial contracts (currently with a focus on cases of force majeure and frustration arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic) professional negligence claims (acting for both claimants and defendants) and company law and insolvency issues.
As well as appearing as a leading 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.
In the international context, Andrew is a registered advocate at the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) Court. He has expertise in various aspects of DIFC law, both in terms of the application of existing DIFC Law to ongoing disputes but also having led the team of Outer Temple Chambers barristers which in 2016-17 provided the DIFC Authority with advice on how to amend its existing Companies Law, leading to the enactment of Companies Law DIFC Law No.5 of 2018. In 2019-20 Andrew led another OTC team which advised the DIFC Authority on the appropriate legal structure for, and then undertook the drafting of some of the key framework documents necessary to implement, the DIFC Employee Workplace Savings Plan, a groundbreaking trust-based end-of-service benefit arrangement design to align the DIFC workforce with global retirement savings standards.
Andrew is ranked in Band 1 for Pensions in Chambers UK, which notes that “One of the most experienced pensions silks at the Bar. He’s user-friendly, hugely knowledgeable, pragmatic and commercial” and in the top tier for Pensions in Legal 500 which notes that he is “Probably the best advocate at the pensions bar. Great team leader. He gets the best out of the juniors on the case.” Andrew is also listed as a leading silk for Professional Negligence and Commercial Litigation in Legal 500 2021, where he is recognised as an advocate who “always finds the right argument, and the right way to deliver it, he also knows when to step in and fits in very well to a client team.”
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.”
Commercial & Chancery
Andrew is ranked as a leading silk in Commercial Litigation in Legal 500 2021.
X Inc v Y Ltd (2020 – proceedings not yet issued)
Andrew is advising a US-based company, which is a party to a sponsorship contract with a UK company, on its rights under the contract’s force majeure provisions following the cancellation due to Covid-19 of sporting events to which the sponsorship contract relates.
MacQuarie Capital (Europe) Ltd v Nordsee Offshore MEG I GmbH (Commerical Court, 2019)
Andrew appeared for Nordsee Offshore in a contractual dispute with international bank, MacQuarie at a Commercial Court trial in front of Butcher J in May 2019. The dispute concerned the correct construction of the terms of the English law engagement contract under which MacQuarie agreed to raise equity and debt finance for a €1.7bn German offshore windfarm development. The 4-day trial involved cross-examination of foreign law experts as well as a number of factual witnesses.
Prakash Industries Ltd v Peter Beck Und Partner Vermogensverwaltung Gmbh (Commercial Court 2019-20)
Andrew acts for an investment fund which is the defendant in declaratory proceedings brought by an Indian company against a German Investment Fund. The dispute concerns whether an event of default has occurred in relation to convertible bonds issued by Prakash to inter alia the Investment Fund. The Investment Fund also bring a counterclaim for the late delivery of shares following the exercise of conversion rights.
Dell Emerging Markets (EMEA) Ltd v IB Maroc SA (Commercial Court 2017-2019)
Commercial Court claim and counter claim concerning failings in designing and implementing a major IT project for Morocco’s largest telecommunications provider. Proceedings were initially brought in Morocco, but moved to the Commercial Court in England following an anti-suit injunction obtained before Teare J. Andrew was brought into the case to argue an application for permission to appeal a key aspect of Teare J’s order consequent upon the anti-suit injunction which raised a particular point of construction on the jurisdication clause in the contract which it was alleged had been breached. Thereafter, he remained instructed on the case as it progressed through the pleading and early stages of preparation for trial before settling.
In the matter of X (Holdings) Ltd and others (in administration) (2019)
Andrew advised on numerous insolvency, trust and pensions legal issues arising out of the entry into administration of several group companies over whose valuable assets (held by the Administrators) the Trustee of the group pension scheme claimed to hold priority charges under a mortgage ahead of other creditors including the companies’ bankers. Andrew was jointly instructed by two clients with potentially adverse interests with a view to exploring whether an agreed settlement could be reached between the Administrators and the Trustee as to whether the general creditors as a whole or the pension scheme alone should receive the benefit of the assets.
Baldwin & others v Standard & Poor’s Credit Market Services Europe Limited (McGraw-Hill Pension Scheme) (Companies Court 2018)
The context for these Companies Court proceedings, of a type never brought before by UK pension scheme trustees, was a Brexit-inspired proposed cross-border merger whereby one of the S&P group of UK companies, which was a sponsoring employer of the group’s UK pension scheme, would merge into an Irish group company and thereafter cease to exist in accordance with the fast track procedure provided for under the Companies (Cross-Border) Mergers Regulations 2007, leaving the pension scheme with a significantly altered UK employer covenant. This raised significant issues of concern for the trustees, for whom Andrew acted, as to the security of the benefits payable under the Scheme, as well as issues of English companies and pensions law and Irish law. Proposed compromise approved by Nugee J at a hearing in May 2018.
X v Y (2018-2019)
Andrew advised on remedies and claims against parties involved in an alleged conspiracy to give false evidence in foreign arbitral proceedings.
Bluewaters Communications Holdings Ltd v (1) Ecclestone, (2) Bayerische Landesbank Anstalt Des Öffentlichen Rechts (“BLB“) (3) Bambino Holdings (2016)
Claim arising from sale of Formula One in 2005. Claimant, whom Andrew advised up to issue of proceedings in 2016, was a bidder for the shares in one of the companies controlling Formula One and alleged that, owing to a corrupt bribery agreement entered into between Bernie Ecclestone and the chief risk officer of BLB in order to ensure the sale to a purchaser amenable to Mr. Ecclestone (as found in an earlier case, Constantin Median AG v Ecclestone & ors), it lost the opportunity to acquire those shares and thus control of Formula One. The claim raised complex issues of fact and law, including jurisdictional issues and questions, under both English law and German law, relating to liability for unlawful interference with the Bluewaters’ economic interests, conspiracy by unlawful means, deceit, fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent misstatement, and vicarious liability or equivalent civil wrongs, together with remoteness and quantification of loss issues.
Mengiste & anor v Endowment Fund For The Rehabilitation Of Tigray & Ors (“EFFORT”) (2012 – 2016)
Two strands: (1)  EWHC 599 (Ch) (2)  EWHC 857 (Ch),  EWHC 1087 (Ch),  EWCA Civ 1003;  P.N.L.R. 4
Strand 1: Chancery commercial claim seeking to have judgments obtained in Ethiopia by the Defendants set aside and damages awarded on the grounds of an alleged fraudulent conspiracy in the prosecution of the original claims. Raised complex issues of Ethiopian law (including issues about the ambit of restitutionary causes of action) as well as an important jurisdictional forum issue as to whether a claimant in civil proceedings against defendants with alleged links to the Ethiopian government could expect to receive a fair trial of his action in Ethiopia or whether the action should be tried in England. Andrew’s cross-examination of the other side’s Ethiopian law expert, described by the Judge as a “thorough and comprehensive destruction”, was instrumental in securing a resounding victory for his clients. In 2015, the claimants sought to have the stay of their action imposed in 2013 lifted. Their application was unsuccessful at first instance but is now proceeding to the Court of Appeal, for hearing in 2016.
Strand 2: Application for wasted costs by successful Defendants on Strand 1 against solicitors representing unsuccessful Claimants on grounds that Strand 1 claims were effectively an abuse of process owing to fundamentally inappropriate expert evidence relied on by Claimants to which solicitors should not have leant their support. Went to Court of Appeal on decision of Strand 1 trial judge not to recuse himself and on his substantive stage 1 wasted costs decision. A leading decision on both recusal and wasted costs.
Philips Pension Trustees Limited & Philips Electronics UK Limited v AON Hewitt & AllianceBernstein (2011 – 2016)
Fiercely fought Part 7 claims for damages for professional negligence by the employer and trustees of a large UK pension scheme against the scheme’s former investment strategy consultants and one of its fund managers, arising out of the scheme’s investment in 2007 of £2 billion of trust assets in credit default swaps and £500 million in US sub-prime mortgage backed assets, which caused the scheme massive losses during the Credit Crunch.
The issues include the scope of the duty owed by the Defendants to the trustee/employer, the risks inherent in the financial products, and an important issue as to whether or not the investment consultant was an authorised person carrying on regulated activities for the purposes of FSMA 2000. The court was engaged for several days in 2016 on a strike out application. The matter was thereafter listed for trial and settled for a substantial sum later in 2016.
X v Y (Law Firm) (2014 – 2015)
Andrew acted for an international law firm in a claim against it for injunctive relief concerning whether it should be permitted to continue to act for a party to an international commercial arbitration in London on the grounds of conflict and/or having come into possession of confidential/privileged information. He also gave advice to that party concerning English legal and procedural issues arising in the context of related commercial litigation in New York.
Pavel Sukhoruchkin & Others v Marc Giebels van Bekestein & Others (Hadar Fund) (2013 – 2014)
A multi-party, multi-jurisdictional high value shareholder dispute concerning various alleged frauds, breaches of fiduciary duties and numerous other claims in respect of an investment fund in the Cayman Islands and its investment manager in the BVI. The case was listed for a five-day interlocutory hearing in July 2014 in the Chancery Division for permission to continue a double-derivative claim (brought by the Defendants in a counter-claim) and a strike out application (of some (but not all) other elements of the counterclaim) by the Claimants. Andrew acted for the directors of the corporate entities central to the dispute.
Gate Gourmet Luxembourg IV SARL v Morby & Other Related Actions (2010 – 2011)
Three related commercial and insolvency matters in the Chancery Division arising out of disputes between companies over alleged breaches of warranty in a share purchase agreement, breaches of fiduciary duty and trust by company directors and preferential payments.
Ruttle v DEFRA / Farm Assist v DEFRA (2002 – 2009)
A series of hard-fought commercial claims against DEFRA in the Technology and Construction Court in which Andrew acted for companies involved in the clean-up works following the 2000 and 2001 outbreaks in the UK of Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth. These raised a large number of complex construction issues in the areas of contractual and statutory interpretation, corporate insolvency, assignment of causes of action, legal professional privilege and quantum. There were eight first instance judgments and two trips to the Court of Appeal, in both of which Andrew’s client was successful, most recently in relation to the recoverability of interest under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 and the Supreme Court Act 1981.
Appointments & Memberships
Between 2017 and 2019, Andrew was 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.
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
- Insolvency & Restructuring
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Commercial & Chancery
- Disciplinary & Regulatory
- Financial Services
- Pensions & Trusts
- Professional Negligence
“An authoritative and experienced advocate well known for his handling of high-profile pension disputes.” Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2021
“He is extremely commercial in his approach, gets to the heart of the matter very quickly and produces clear, client-friendly advice.” Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2021
“He has consummate client care skills, complete mastery of an incredible volume of material, and the ability to distil complex matters and cut a path to a practical as well as a legally correct solution.” Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2021
“He has long experience of valuer and pensions-related professional negligence cases. Confident in court and a good delegator.” Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2021
“Probably the best advocate at the pensions bar. Great team leader. He gets the best out of the juniors on the case.” Pensions, Legal 500 2021
“He always finds the right argument, and the right way to deliver it, he also knows when to step in and fits in very well to a client team.” Commercial Litigation, Legal 500 2021
“An authoritative and experienced advocate well known for his handling of high-profile pension disputes. He frequently undertakes regulatory work as well as Part 7 and 8 claims in relation to pensions. He also offers experienced advice on the inflation index to be applied to pension increases.” Pensions, Chambers and Partners 2020
“One of the most experienced pensions silks at the Bar. He’s user-friendly, hugely knowledgeable, pragmatic and commercial.” “He combines a calm and genial approach, which goes down very well with clients, with top-notch advocacy and advisory skills.” Pensions, Chambers and Partners 2020
“Personable, great with clients and as an advocate; adopts a calm, knowledgeable and impressive approach.” Pensions, Legal 500 2020
“He is highly skilled.” Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2020
“An exceptional pensions silk who is approachable, practical with his advice and well prepared.” Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2019
“Client-friendly and a superb cross-examiner.” “A very accomplished advocate.” Pensions, Chambers & Partners 2019
“He is very bright and user friendly with excellent technical knowledge.” Pensions, Legal 500 2019
“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