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Philip Stear

Philip Stear

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Year of Call:

2018 (Solicitor since 1997)

Philip Stear’s practice involves the interaction of commercial trusts, insolvency and contract law, with a particular focus on questions and disputes arising in relation to occupational pension schemes.

Philip joined Outer Temple Chambers on Call in November 2018, having been a solicitor in Travers Smith LLP’s highly ranked pensions practice for more than twenty years, thirteen of them as a partner. In his early career he was a Lecturer in Law at the University of Bristol (specialising in the law of contract and the law of trusts) from 1992 to 1995, and then part-time (with a special focus on pensions law) from 2000 until 2004.

Philip is an acknowledged expert in relation to technical pensions law and regulatory practice, and combines this with long practical experience of occupational pension schemes and the practical challenges they face in relation to governance and trusteeship, benefit design and modification, funding and security and member communications and disputes. He also maintains a wide and deep knowledge of the broader legal landscape. Clients prize him as a solution-oriented lateral thinker able to find ways to unlock the knottiest problems.

As a result of his long experience at the coalface of occupational pension schemes (including acting for the trustees of some of the UK’s largest pension schemes), Philip brings to his pensions practice:

  • acute sensitivity to the practical challenges faced by pension scheme trustees and employers as a result of their different perspectives, and to the need to manage conflicts of interest arising from trustee roles pragmatically and to evaluate sensitively the pros and cons of court proceedings in relation to a matter;
  • the ability to think “out of the box” and to originate and evaluate innovative approaches; and
  • the willingness to work collaboratively and inclusively as part of a wider team, including not only trustee committees and employer representatives but also other legal advisers, actuaries and covenant advisers.

Commercial & Chancery

Philip’s Commercial and Chancery practice reflects his wide experience while at Travers Smith of the broader commercial and legal context in which his clients operate, as well as his extensive knowledge of contract and trusts law. He has particular experience in relation to:

  • sale and purchase agreements in M&A transactions, including agreements to which trustees of private trusts are party as buyer or seller
  • guarantees and other security instruments; and
  • outsourcing agreements and commercial contracts.


Appointments & Memberships

  • ChBA
  • APL


In 2018, Philip was awarded the APL’s Wallace Medal, an award recognising excellence in legal writing by members of the APL.

Philip Stear 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


“has an enormous mind for legal work, great ability and is charming to deal with” Pensions, Chambers and Partners 2018

“very thorough very focussed” Pensions, Chambers and Partners 2017

“genuinely exceptional” Pensions, Legal 500 2016

“a very able technical lawyer and a good communicator” Pensions, Chambers and Partners 2015

“able to simplify incredibly complex legislation” Pensions, Chambers and Partners 2014

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