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Stephen Doherty

Stephen Doherty

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Stephen practises commercial litigation, with a focus on pensions, international contractual disputes, and financial services law.

His recent work includes proceedings before the Determinations Panel of the Pensions Regulator in relation to the appointment of an Independent Trustee (led by Andrew Short QC), acting on behalf of a client subjected to a freezing order in a $30+ million civil fraud dispute (before the DIFC Courts), advising a client in respect of the liabilities of various group companies under s. 75 Pensions Act 1995, advising on the exercise of amendment powers to sever the final salary link in a defined benefit pension scheme, and successfully acting as lead counsel in a $14 million DIAC arbitration.

Stephen has also spent time on secondment at the Pensions Regulator, as well as both the Enforcement and General Counsel’s Division of the Financial Conduct Authority.

Stephen has recently returned to chambers, having spent almost two years on secondment to the international arbitration team of a leading law firm in Dubai. Whilst on secondment, Stephen worked as lead counsel on several multi-million dollar arbitrations in relation to large construction, infrastructure and development projects across the Middle East (including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar), and was responsible for advising on merits and strategy, drafting pleadings and submissions, and successfully representing clients at preliminary and full merits hearings. Stephen is registered to appear and frequently represents clients at hearings before the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts, including recently representing a client successfully in an appeal before the DIFC Courts.

Further examples of recent instructions include:

  • Successfully acting as lead counsel for a Master Developer in a $14 million arbitration claim against a sub-developer for breaches of its construction and payment obligations (DIAC)
  • Advising in relation to a claim for entitlement to pensionable service for part-time workers following the CJEU’s decision in O’Brien v Ministry of Justice
  • Advising and drafting grounds of appeal to the High Court from a decision of the Pensions Ombudsman
  • Successfully representing a contractor in an appeal before the DIFC Courts in relation to a commercial dispute arising from the provision of fit-out works
  • Successfully representing a client before the DIFC Courts, seeking permission to appeal a decision in relation to the payment of penalties under Article 18(2) of the DIFC Employment Law
  • Advising a Trade Union client in respect of proposed changes to the pension scheme of a large UK plc
  • Advising and drafting pleadings in a £500,000 breach of contract claim
  • Advising a SIPP / TIP provider in relation to its reporting obligations under the FEES Manual of the FCA Handbook
  • Advising and drafting pleadings in relation to the clawback of commission by an FCA regulated firm in relation to a number of insurance products

Stephen has a first-class degree in History from Oxford University. He completed his Graduate Diploma in Law with distinction, and achieved an outstanding grade in the Bar Professional Training Course. He is also a contributing author to Atkin’s Court Forms issue on Pensions.

Stephen is public access qualified and accepts instructions directly from members of the public.

Pensions & Trusts

Stephen spent time on secondment to the Pensions Regulator, where he was involved in a range of Determinations Panel, Upper Tribunal and High Court litigation, and other advisory work. Stephen has experience of issues relating to pension scams, misuse and misappropriation of pension scheme assets, defined benefit scheme funding, scheme governance, and the prohibition of scheme trustees. Whilst seconded to the Financial Conduct Authority, Stephen has gained further experience of pensions scams, the regulation of personal pension schemes, and issues relating to the suitability of advice provided to pension schemes.

Stephen regularly advises pension scheme members in relation to a variety of complaints to the Pensions Ombudsman and through internal dispute resolution procedures (IRDPs). This includes complaints of maladministration through the provision of incorrect pension benefit quotations, misrepresentation, breach of contract, claw back of overpaid benefits, and complaints relating to the retention of Mental Health Officer (MHO) and Special Class (SC) status in the NHS Pension Scheme.

Before he was seconded in the Middle-East, Stephen was led by Nicolas Stallworthy QC in Hogg Robinson Plc v Harvey and others [2016] EWHC 129 (Ch), an application by the sponsoring employer of a pension scheme for summary judgment in respect of its claim for rectification of a deed of amendment to the scheme, which purported to change the rate of pension increases from RPI to LPI.

Other examples of recent instructions include:

  • Advising and drafting grounds of appeal to the High Court from a decision of the Pensions Ombudsman
  • Drafting representations to the Pensions Regulator in response to a Warning Notice (led by Andrew Short QC)
  • Advising in relation to a claim for entitlement to pensionable service for part-time workers following the CJEU’s decision in O’Brien v Ministry of Justice
  • Advising a SIPP / TIP provider in relation to its reporting obligations under the FEES Manual of the FCA Handbook

Commercial & Chancery

Stephen has been instructed to advise and appear in court in a range of other complex contractual and commercial disputes including a professional negligence claim relating to a commercial property transaction, a dispute by a minor shareholder against a major UK plc, a contractual dispute relating to a publication agreement, and a contractual dispute between a commercial business and a gas supplier.

Further examples of recent instructions include:

  • Advising and drafting pleadings in relation to a contractual dispute relating to the breach of terms of use of an online trading platform
  • Advising and drafting pleadings in a £500,000 breach of a supply agreement
  • Advising in relation to a £250,000 dispute regarding breach of a loan agreement
  • Advising and drafting pleadings in relation to the clawback of commission by an FCA regulated firm in relation to a number of insurance products
  • Advising on a claim for unliquidated damages in a complex international dispute
  • Representing a client in an application for injunctive relief in support of related arbitral proceedings

Stephen has also acted for clients in a number of high-value and complex commercial disputes in the Middle East, including Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Whilst seconded to a leading law firm in Dubai, he was responsible for advising on merits and strategy, drafting pleadings and submissions, and representing clients at preliminary and full merits hearings. Examples of recent cases include:

  • Successfully acting as lead counsel for a Master Developer in a $14 million arbitration claim against a sub-developer for breaches of its construction and payment obligations (DIAC)
  • Representing the contractor in a complex construction dispute valued in excess of $30 million, relating to a dispute over contractual variations and entitlement to an extension of time (ADCCAC)
  • Representing the contractor in a high-profile infrastructure dispute, valued in excess of $8 million (ICC)
  • Representing the contractor of a Dubai-based company, in relation to a claim against the Employer for unlawful termination (ICC), and
  • Representing a Dubai-based real estate investor in a complex suite of claims, which relate to a high-profile commercial dispute regarding a failed development, which is valued in excess of $60m (DIAC)

Banking & Financial Services

Since joining chambers Stephen has gained experience in a range of civil and criminal litigation in the field of banking and financial services, and has worked in both the Enforcement and the General Counsel’s Division of the Financial Conduct Authority.

Stephen has experience of advising on interest rate hedging product (IRHP) mis-selling, unfair relationship claims under s. 140A-D Consumer Credit Act 1974, applications for change of control under Part XII FSMA and other issues relating to suitability of investment advice.

At the Financial Conduct Authority, Stephen was involved in a high profile investigation of a retail bank and has advised on numerous issues relating to pensions scams, authorisation of firms, passporting, and the scope of the FCA’s powers under FSMA.

Stephen also has experience of a high profile criminal investigation, conducted by the Serious Fraud Office, into allegations of corruption and bribery against a large UK bank.

As well as having experience of the regulation of financial services in the UK, Stephen also has experience in advising international clients in respect of the regulatory framework in the DIFC.

Examples of other recent instructions include:

  • Advising a SIPP / TIP provider in relation to its reporting obligations under the FEES Manual of the FCA Handbook
  • Advising and drafting pleadings in relation to the clawback of commission by an FCA regulated firm in relation to a number of insurance products
  • Advising on the application of DFSA rules in a dispute between a bank and a commercial business

 

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Stephen has extensive experience in international arbitration, having spent 20 months working at a leading UAE law firm, Horizons & Co. Stephen’s practice in the Middle East has been predominantly focused on high value commercial and construction disputes, and he was regularly instructed to advise on the merits and strategy in relation to complex arbitral disputes, as well as drafting pleadings and submissions. Stephen has also been instructed as an advocate, to represent clients at preliminary and full merits hearings.

Stephen has experience of conducting arbitration cases in accordance with DIAC, ADCCAC, DIFC-LCIA and ICC Rules. Some examples of recent cases include:

  • Representing the contractor in a complex construction dispute valued in excess of $30 million, relating to a dispute over contractual variations and entitlement to an extension of time (ADCCAC)
  • Representing a master developer in a contractual dispute valued in excess of $10 million (DIAC)
  • Representing the contractor in a high-profile infrastructure dispute, valued in excess of $8 million (ICC)
  • Representing the contractor of a Dubai-based company, in relation to a claim against the Employer for unlawful termination (ICC), and
  • Representing a Dubai-based real estate investor in a complex suite of claims, which relate to a high-profile commercial dispute regarding a failed development, which is valued in excess of $60m (DIAC)

Stephen also has experience of advising and representing clients before the DIFC Courts, and advising on jurisdictional and other issues that arise in the UAE.

 

Employment & Discrimination

Stephen regularly appears at Employment Tribunals and has advised and represented parties in a variety of cases including unfair dismissal, discrimination, wage & holiday pay claims and at preliminary hearings. He has also represented claimants pro bono through the Free Representation Unit.

Public Law

Stephen has experience of public inquiries, and during 2014-15 was instructed as Junior Counsel to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, which was investigating the physical and sexual abuse of children from 1945 to 2014, and allegations of political interference in relation to the prosecution of alleged offenders.

In addition to spending a year as Junior Counsel to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, during pupillage Stephen gained experience of drafting pleadings and other court documents in judicial review proceedings. More recently he has been involved in the high profile litigation surrounding the public procurement of criminal legal aid work by the Lord Chancellor.

Appointments & Memberships

  • Lincoln’s Inn
  • COMBAR
  • Association of Pensions
  • DIFC Part II Registered Advocate

Awards

  • Lord Denning Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Hardwicke Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn

Stephen Doherty 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.

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