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:

  • Lloyds Bank, ITV and Europe Arab Bank – all of which concerned rectification of pension scheme documentation, obtained by summary judgment and/or by court-approved compromise
  • Halcrow – known as Pollock v Reed, a test case concerning trustees’ powers and propriety in a benefit restructuring situation
  • 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 is held in high regard for his skill on complex pensions disputes. His comprehensive practice covers, among other issues, professional negligence matters, Pensions Ombudsman complaints and Pensions Regulator investigations. “He is extremely thorough, highly skilled and knowledgeable.” – Chambers UK 2021
  • Peter Murphy is pragmatic and solutions-driven. He is always calm and assured in the way he supports his clients and deals with other parties – Peter is a pleasure to work with” – Legal 500 2021
  • Commentators hold Peter Murphy in high regard for his skill on complex pensions disputes. His comprehensive practice covers, among other issues, professional negligence matters, Pensions Ombudsman complaints and Pensions Regulator investigations. “He gives clear-cut and precise advice and does not lose sight of commercial realities,” says one source, while another adds: “He’s very good at keeping all the plates spinning and everything on track in complex litigation” – Chambers UK 2020
  • 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

Extracurricular interests and activities:

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


Dispute resolution

Risk and operations


Latest News & Media

Peter Murphy joins expert panel to discuss TPR’s new powers on 20-20 Trustees podcast

Contingency planning in the shadow of the Pension Schemes Act webinar

Peter Murphy comments on shades of grey within TPR’s consultation on how it will use new criminal offences powers

Peter Murphy comments in the Sunday Times on the Pension Schemes Act 2021

Sackers webinar survey shows that the majority of attendees were not overly concerned about The Pensions Regulator’s new powers

Sackers survey on TPR’s new powers covered in Pensions Expert

Disclosure and the ESG spotlight – will you be blinded by it?

TPR’s new interview powers in the Pension Schemes Bill

Peter Murphy comments on Chappell facing fourth bankruptcy to pay BHS contributions

Peter Murphy comments on pension reform in Pensions Age

Latest Knowledge

New contribution notices under PSA21 – TPR consults on code of practice changes

TPR’s approach to the investigation and prosecution of the new criminal offences – Sackers’ response to consultation

Pensions & investment litigation briefing – April 2021

TPR consults on new criminal sanctions policy

Pension Schemes Act 2021 – the dawn of a new regulatory era?

Pensions & investment litigation briefing – December 2020

Pensions & investment litigation briefing – June 2020

Pensions & investment litigation briefing – September 2018

Pensions & investment litigation briefing – April 2018

Pensions & investment litigation briefing – December 2017