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.”
Professional Negligence – Cases
Re AB Retirement Benefit Scheme (2016-2020 and continuing)
Andrew acts for the proposed claimants, the employer and trustees of a pension scheme with a 20-year history of alleged serial failures by their professional advisers to advise properly on compliance with formality requirements in relation to scheme documentation amendments. This has given rise to complex overlapping and interlocking high value professional negligence claims against the scheme’s former administrator and multiple firms of solicitors. The outcome of the claims will be influenced by Part 8 proceedings shortly due to be commenced by the trustees to determine the effect of the formality failures and various other legal issues in which Andrew is also acting.
Re CD Pension Scheme (2016-20 and continuing)
Andrew acts on behalf of the proposed claimant trustees of a pension scheme and the PPF (the scheme employer is in liquidation so the scheme is in a PPF assessment period) in another complex and high value proposed claim against various entities (which acted as the scheme administrators and legal advisers on certain issues) for many years, together with one of the law firms that advised the trustees, over a failure to comply with formality requirements in relation to the closure of the scheme to future accrual.
Re XY Pension Scheme (2019-20 and continuing)
A potential Part 7 claim for professional negligence against a leading law firm (Firm A) for failing to advise the employer and the trustee of a pension scheme about (a) the need for a deed to implement benefit changes introduced in 2003 and (b) the potential negligence during 2002-3 of another leading law firm (Firm B) which advised the employer and the trustee about those benefit changes (leading to a “loss of a chance” claim against Firm A), the claim against Firm B in respect of its negligence being time barred. Andrew is advising the proposed claimant employer and the trustee. The extent of Firm A’s liability is likely to be determined by the outcome of Part 8 and/or 7 proceedings for construction and rectification to be pursued first by the employer and the trustee.
P Group Pension Trustees and others v various Q entities and Law Firm Y
Andrew was instructed on behalf of various proposed defendant entities which acted for many years as administrators to the X’s Pension Scheme. Predecessor firms to Law Firm Y were the Scheme trustees’ legal advisers. A professional negligence claim against Andrew’s clients and Law Firm Y based upon a failure by the scheme to equalise Normal Retirement Dates as had been intended. Andrew was closely involved in developing the defence strategy on behalf of his clients including limitation, duty and quantum arguments deployed in their letter of response to the letter of claim. The claim settled following two mediations at both of which Andrew represented his clients’ interests.
Philips Pension Trustees Limited & Philips Electronics UK Limited v AON Hewitt & AllianceBernstein (Chancery Division 2011 – 2016)
Investment advice and management negligence claims for over £200m, brought by the employer and trustees of a major UK pension scheme, for whom Andrew acted, against the scheme’s former investment strategy consultants and one of its fund managers. The claim arose out of the scheme’s prior investment of £2 billion of trust assets in credit default swaps and £500 million in US sub-prime mortgage backed assets that caused the scheme huge losses during the Credit Crunch.
Issues included the scope of the respective duties owed by each of the Defendants to the trustee/employer, the risks inherent in the financial products, and importantly, whether or not the investment consultant was an authorised person carrying on regulated activities for the purposes of FSMA 2000. The claim settled at a mediation after an extensive and hard fought interlocutory battle.
Sopra Steria Ltd and others v Punter Southall Ltd, Stuart Southall and Nabarro LLP (Chancery Division 2017)
Andrew advised two of the defendants (the scheme’s actuarial advisers) in this highly complex professional negligence claim also brought against the scheme’s legal advisers arising out of a benefit restructuring process.
Legal professional negligence claim – pensions law – RAA (2014 – 2016)
Andrew advised the potential defendant (the pensions team of a well-known law firm in relation to a claim brought by scheme trustees and the Pension Protection Fund for damages for alleged negligence in relation to the law firm’s advice in connection with a regulated apportionment agreement entered into by the trustees.
Actuarial professional negligence claim – failure to equalise (2012)
Andrew advised the potential defendant, a major actuarial firm, on a claim brought against it by trustees of a pension scheme arising out of an alleged failure to equalise benefits, which was successfully settled at a mediation. The claim raised issues relating to scope and breach of duty, construction of amendment powers, causation, quantum and limitation.
Legal professional negligence claim – pensions law – equalisation / failed amendment (2011 – 2013)
Andrew advised and represented at a mediation the proposed defendant, the pensions team of a well-known law firm, in a claim against them for professional negligence alleged to have occurred in the context of benefit changes purportedly introduced into pension scheme rules but which fell foul of the scope of the power of amendment.
Legal professional negligence claim – pensions law – pension increases / failed amendment (2011)
Andrew advised the proposed claimants, the trustees and principal employer of a final salary scheme in relation to a claim against the scheme’s former solicitors for negligence arising out of an alleged failure to comply with the power of amendment in the scheme rules when purporting to reduce the annual rate of increase on pensions in payment. The issue related to the correct actuarial basis for calculating the trustees’ or employer’s losses.
Actuarial negligence claim – failure to equalise (2011)
Andrew advised the proposed claimant, a pension scheme’s trustees and principal employer, on a claim against the scheme’s former actuarial advisers for negligent advice relating to an allegedly failed equalisation of normal retirement ages. The issues included scope and breach of duty and limitation.
Philips v Hewitt (No. 1) (Chancery Division 2006 – 2009)
Andrew advised the trustee and employers of the Philips Pension Plan in its successfully settled claim against Hewitt, based upon allegations of actuarial negligence.
Credit Lyonnais Securities and 6 others v Watson Wyatt (Chancery Division (trial in front of Warren J): 2003-2005)
In one of the very few actuarial negligence claims ever to go to a full trial, Andrew represented the trustee and employers of a large pension scheme in a claim alleging that their actuarial advisers prepared a negligently over-optimistic valuation of scheme liabilities (indicating that it was in surplus when in fact it was in deficit) as a result of which, amongst other things, the employer banks paid large bonuses to staff that would not otherwise have been paid. Although the matter went to trial, it settled on the third day after Andrew’s opening speech. The judgment would have determined many of the legal issues on duty, breach, causation and quantum that remain unresolved to this day.
Commercial property valuation professional negligence cases (1990s)
During the 1990s Andrew acted for numerous banks in a series of cases in which the banks sought to recover damages for professional negligence from commercial property valuers who had prepared allegedly negligently low valuations on commercial property over which the banks held security, the value of which security was significantly reduced by the property crash at the end of the 1980s.
Professional Negligence – Advisory Work
Andrew has wide experience of advising, on both sides, in relation to legal and actuarial negligence alleged to have occurred in the context of failed attempts to equalise normal retirement ages post-Barber, as well as in many other pensions-related contexts. As well as raising breach of duty, causation and (often complex) quantum questions, these cases almost invariably involve issues over limitation.
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