David Gallagher

Partner and Head of Pensions, Fieldfisher
David Gallagher is head of the pensions practice at Fieldfisher and advises a wide range of clients - employers large and small, trustees, pension product providers and individuals - on day-to-day pensions matters, scheme restructurings, winding up schemes, investment and litigation issues.

Originally qualified as a barrister, David worked in the public sector from 1993 to the end of 1999. He has specialised in pensions law since 1996. David has played a leading role in developing the firm's public sector pensions practice which is now widely recognised as a market leader. He has worked on a number of high profile and sensitive projects for government bodies and he has been at the forefront of developing drafting solutions for the greater protection of public funds on future re-tenders mandated by revised government guidance.

David handles all areas of work, from drafting trust deeds and rules for new occupational pension schemes and consolidating scheme governing documents to member disputes, funding negotiations and advising on the winding-up process. He frequently manages the pensions aspect of corporate transactions from other departments of the firm and has advised on the pensions aspects of a number of major public private partnership transactions and private sector mergers, acquisitions, disposals and insolvency, including the use of regulatory clearance procedures.

David has been involved in a number of pensions disputes in the courts for employers, trustees and representative beneficiaries including the Smithson v Hamilton case which progressed to the Court of Appeal, as well as a number of pre-litigation matters where the disputes have been resolved.
Contributed to


Appeals against determinations of the Pensions Ombudsman
Practice notes

This Practice Note looks at the issues relevant (including procedural and timing issues) when appealing a determination of the Pensions Ombudsman. As appeals can only be made on a point of law, it compares a point of law from a point of fact and also considers the potential for judicial review.

Estoppel—the key cases for pension lawyers
Practice notes

This Practice Note looks at the leading cases on how and when to apply the doctrine of estoppel in occupational pension scheme relationships. The cases include Amalgamated Investment v Texas Bank, Icarus v Driscoll, ITN v Ward, Redrow v Pedley and Steria v Hutchison.

Making a complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman—what is involved?
Practice notes

This Practice Note covers what scope there is for making a complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman (PO), including the persons eligible to apply to the Pensions Ombudsman to make a complaint, the type of matter that can be referred to the Pensions Ombudsman, steps that must be taken before a complainant can apply to the Pensions Ombudsman (ie going through a scheme’s internal dispute resolution procedure), the time limits to complain. It also looks at the steps involved in dealing with the complaint (ie the complainant’s application, the respondent’s response, the investigation and the determination), enforcement issues and appeals.

Rectification—the key cases for pension lawyers
Practice notes

This Practice Note considers the key cases in the rectification of pension scheme documents, including Lansing Linde v Alber, AMP (UK) v Barker, Gallaher v Gallaher, Scania v Wager, Smithson v Hamilton re Siemens and Chartbrook v Persimmon Homes.

The Pensions Ombudsman—key decisions and cases up to 2017 [Archived]
Practice notes

This archived Practice Note looks at some of the key decisions made by the Pensions Ombudsman and courts up to 2017 in relation to the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction, remedial powers and certain procedural matters, as well as the standards required for ill-health retirement decisions. It is not maintained and is for background information only.

The Pensions Ombudsman—when should he be used and what are his powers?
Practice notes

This Practice Note looks at the jurisdiction of the Pensions Ombudsman to deal with occupational and personal pension-related complaints and disputes, including who can make or refer complaints/disputes, the types of complaints/disputes that can and cannot be determined, the powers he may exercise in doing so and applicable time limits.

The role of the Pensions Regulator in respect of public sector schemes
Practice notes

This Practice Note looks at the requirements and recommendations of the Pensions Regulator in relation to public sector pension schemes, which until 2014 had largely been outside the Regulator's scope. It considers the public sector schemes under the Regulator’s remit and the Regulator’s requirements in relation to management structure, knowledge and understanding, conflicts of interest, risk management structure, records and administration, dispute resolution, and reporting.

Unwinding pension trustee decisions due to mistake—Hastings-Bass and Pitt v Holt
Practice notes

This Practice Note looks at the extent to which trustees can set aside documents which they have previously entered into on the grounds of mistake. Among other things, this Practice Note looks at the impact of Hastings-Bass v Inland Revenue Commissioners, Kerr v British Leyland, Sieff v Fox, Stannard v Fisons, Smithson v Hamilton, Gibbon v Mitchell and Pitt v Holt.

Admission Agreement

This is a precedent Admission Agreement for participation in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) and has been drafted on a broadly neutral basis. As the LGPS is a series of separate schemes established under the same legislation, the Agreement needs to relate to the specific local authority pension scheme involved in the particular transaction.

Practice areas


  • Contributing Author

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