Peter Murphy



Peter is head of Pensions & Investment Litigation and has over 20 years’ litigation experience, 17 of those solely dealing with pensions-related disputes. Peter is ranked as a leading lawyer for pensions litigation by both Chambers and Legal 500. Peter’s practice includes:

  • High Court trustee applications
  • Contentious regulatory investigations and proceedings
  • Investment-related claims involving pension schemes
  • Professional negligence claims (acting for both claimants and defendants)
  • Pensions Ombudsman and Financial Ombudsman complaints.

Recent experience

Peter has been at the cutting edge of the development of the Pensions Regulator’s powers. Matters where he has acted for the trustees include:

  • Coats – advising in relation to an investigation by TPR into the possible use of its ‘moral hazard’ powers
  • EMI – settling a scheme funding dispute on the steps of a Determinations Panel hearing following the takeover of EMI by private equity firm Terra Firma
  • Focus DIY – negotiating a settlement following action by TPR to pursue a financial support direction (FSD)
  • Sea Containers – obtaining the first-ever FSD
  • telent – successfully obtaining an order for the appointment of independent trustees following a bid for telent by Pensions Corporation.

Recent High Court cases in which Peter has acted include:

  • Halcrow – known as Pollock v Reed, a test case concerning trustees’ powers and propriety in a benefit restructuring situation
  • Citifinancial Europe – rectification of pension scheme documentation, obtained by summary judgment
  • United Utilities – enforcement of a disputed section 75 debt.

Peter also has significant experience of mediation, largely in the professional negligence context.

Memberships and Qualifications

Membership of professional bodies:
Association Pension Lawyers (Full Member)

Career history

Qualified: 1996, Queensland, Australia
2003, England & Wales

Pensions experience since: 2000

Joined Sackers: 2000

Joined partnership/LLP: 2006

Employers: Deacons, Australia (1996-1999)

Academic history


Queensland University of Technology (1990-1993)
University of Queensland (1996-1998)
The College of Law of England and Wales (2003)

Degree: Bachelor of Laws
Post-Graduate Diploma in Applied Economics
Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test

Further Information


  • Peter Murphy has “excellent knowledge and understanding of pensions litigation,” according to sources. He is widely respected for work handling the full gamut of pensions litigation, including rectification claims, professional negligence and investment-related claims – Chambers UK 2019
  • Peter Murphy frequently works with trustees of large schemes in the entertainment and financial services sectors. One source states that ‘he doesn’t make a drama out of a crisis’, adding that ‘he is collaborative, sensible and measured’ – Chambers UK 2018
  • Peter is praised by his clients for bringing a ‘preternaturally calm and always balanced’ approach – Legal 500, 2017
  • Peter Murphy is praised by market commentators, who note that “he is very dynamic” and “he knows when to be aggressive and when to back off.” He is praised by sources for his technical ability and extensive litigation experience – Chambers UK 2016
  • Katherine Dandy and Peter Murphy lead the ‘excellent’ contentious work – Legal 500 2015, ranked leading lawyer
  • Peter is ‘frequently instructed on major cases by an impressive client roster. Sources point to his depth of specialist expertise, and comment: “He’s calm under fire and very measured. He’s good to have on your side when the bullets start firing.” Chambers UK 2015
  • Peter has “extremely detailed knowledge and understanding of the regulatory process.”  Legal 500 2014 leading lawyer
  • ‘Peter Murphy wins praise from sources as a “strong litigator.”‘
    Chambers UK 2014 recommended lawyer
  • Litigators Katherine Dandy and Peter Murphy lead “a formidable unit” that is praised for its no-nonsense approach.’ Legal 500 2013
  • ‘Peter is “rated very highly” by sources, who praise his “shrewd brain and strategic nous” and his approachability. He has “deep experience of litigation in the pensions field”’ Chambers UK 2013
  • Peter is “a fantastic litigator and tough negotiator.” Legal 500 2012
  • ‘Peter attracts plaudits for his “practical and commercial” approach and “top-notch strategic advice.” He acted for the trustee of the EMI Group Pension Fund in a scheme funding dispute arising from the takeover of EMI by private equity firm Terra Firma. Chambers UK 2012

Extracurricular interests and activities:

Golf, tennis and my kids (although not necessarily in that order!)