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Durham University

Durham Law School


Durham Law School is pleased to announce the appointment of its first Visiting Professor of Pensions Law, Philip Bennett

(17 June 2019)

Philip is a graduate of Durham University who spent more than 30 years as a partner in Slaughter and May, a leading London law firm, specialising in pensions law.

Professor Thom Brooks, Dean of Durham Law School, said:

‘I am delighted to be welcoming such a distinguished practitioner of pensions law to join us as our first Visiting Professor of Pensions Law. Philip will be teaching what I believe to be the first undergraduate pensions law module in the UK, further enhancing the options available to our law undergraduates.’


Philip Bennett said:

‘I am delighted to be joining this leading Law School and to have the opportunity to teach the law behind the headlines in this high-profile area. There are more than 40 million members of workplace pension schemes. Their pension rights under those schemes are often their most valuable asset, or their second most valuable asset after their house or flat. Those rights are protected by pensions law.’


Philip is listed as a leading individual in the Pensions section of Chambers UK, 2017 and in the Pensions Section Hall of Fame in The Legal 500 United Kingdom, 2017.


Philip’s experience, while a partner at Slaughter and May, included advising on some of the largest pension scheme mergers and restructurings, repayments of pension fund surpluses and management of pension fund deficit issues (including benefit design changes and consultations with employees and their representatives over these changes) and “employer covenant” support measures.


He is a member of the International Pension and Employee Benefits Lawyers Association ("IPEBLA"), and a past chair of IPEBLA. He is a former member of the main Committee of the Association of Pension Lawyers (the “APL”) and a past Chairman of the APL's Legislative and Parliamentary Sub-Committee. He is also a former member of the International Sub-Committee of the Association of Pension Lawyers.


During 2018, Philip provided expert evidence to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee Consultation on CDC Schemes, appeared as an expert witness before that Committee (and his evidence is referred in more than 10% of the footnotes in the Select Committee’s Report published on 16th July, 2018).


Recent published papers include:

  • Apples and Oranges: A comparison of key features of the legislative and regulatory regime for the UK and Dutch defined benefit pension schemes (including Dutch CDC Schemes) (Philip Bennett and Hans van Meerten, Pensions Institute Discussion Paper PI-18-03).
  • Must an occupational pension scheme take into account ESG factors even if there is a risk of financial detriment to the pension fund? Trust Law International 2019, Vol 32 p239.
  • How do CDC Schemes qualify under the IORP II Directive. (Philip Bennett and Hans van Meerten, VZF Review, University of Sophia, 2019, 2).

Recent responses to Government consultations include

  • The Department of Work and Pensions, June 2018 Public Consultation on “Clarifying and Strengthening Trustees’ Investment Duties”.
  • The Department of Work and Pensions, November 2018 Public Consultation on “Delivering Collective Defined Contribution Pension Schemes”.


Philip’s research interests include:


  • legal frameworks for collective defined contribution pension schemes, target benefit schemes and risk sharing schemes in different jurisdictions, and
  • legal risk management for trustees and employers in the use by pension funds of ESG factors.