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Mark Blyth

Litigation Partner, London

“I have over 25 years’ experience of pensions disputes and have been involved in many of the major cases during that time. I have extensive knowledge of pensions law and practice and offer clients pragmatic and practical guidance to get the best outcome in the most challenging situations.”

Overview

Professional experience

Education and qualifications

Overview

Mark is widely acknowledged as one of the leading pensions disputes lawyers in the UK, advising employers, trustees, insurers and professional services firms on the most complex, high-value and novel pensions disputes. He started and leads the firm’s Pensions Disputes Resolution Group. 

Mark advises on all aspects of pensions disputes, including with the Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Pensions Protection Fund, over scheme funding and re-structuring, benefit redesign and construction of scheme rules, rectification and professional negligence.

Mark acts for clients before the Determinations Panel of the Pensions Regulator (and subsequent references to the Upper Tribunal), the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Work highlights

Mark has acted in many of the leading contentious pensions matters over the past 25 years. A few highlights include advising:

  • Arcadia/Taveta parties in the high-profile regulatory dispute with TPR, and ultimate settlement, over the £580m BHS pension scheme deficit, which also involved a Parliamentary Select Committee process
  • Nortel Networks in a moral hazard regulatory dispute concerning liability over a £2.1bn deficit in the pension plan of its UK subsidiary, in which Marl’s client took the unusual step of U.S. court relief to prevent action in the UK by TPR
  • Eastman Kodak in relation to a groundbreaking settlement solution arising from a £2bn deficit in its UK pension scheme, which entailed a Regulated Apportionment Arrangement and setting up a new UK pension scheme with reduced benefits into which members were transferred
  • the administrators of Lehman Brothers International (Europe) in a dispute over a financial support direction sought to be imposed by TPR, which was settled after going to the Upper Tribunal, but also resulted in a Supreme Court judgment that such liabilities imposed on companies in administration are not administration expenses (which would have meant that they were paid in priority to preferential and other unsecured creditors) but count as provable debts (which rank equally with the claims of other unsecured creditors)
  • British Airways (BA) in recent High Court proceedings brought by BA against the trustees of the Airways Pension Scheme over their decision to implement discretionary pension increases. This case raises novel issues over the relationship between trustees and employers that will have important future implications
  • National Power in a case that went to the House of Lords, which ruled that a surplus could be used by the employer to pay for redundancies through enhanced early retirement

 

Professional experience

Mark is a member of the Association of Pension Lawyers (APL), is an advisory panel member of the Occupational, Pensions Defence Union and is a member of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS).

He also sits on the Pensions Litigation Court Users Committee and is a former Chairman of the APL’s Pensions Litigation Committee. Mark is also a Band 1 rated leading practitioner in relation to pensions litigation in the Chambers and Legal 500 guides.

Mark is regularly quoted in the press, writes frequently for industry periodicals, and often speaks at seminars and conferences.

Education and qualifications

Mark studied law at the University of Warwick.