Justin McGilloway


Head of Pensions & Employee Benefits

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Justin advises a wide range of clients – employers (UK and international), trustees (including offshore), pension product providers and individuals – on all aspects of pensions law including the intricacies of pension scheme documentation, corporate transactions, Pension Regulator clearance, reorganising schemes and Pension Protection Fund negotiations, funding matters, closing schemes to future accrual and winding-up schemes. He also deals with pension scheme disputes with a particular interest in Pension Ombudsman complaints.

Justin also specialises in employee benefits work and regularly provides advice on the structuring, implementation, maintenance and vesting of management and employee incentive arrangements to both UK and overseas companies. For the last decade or so he has been involved in unwinding historic Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) arrangements and negotiating settlements with HMRC.

Recent Experience

  • Advising a number of distressed employers (including ‘not for profit’ organisations) on their defined benefit pension liabilities and how to manage a pension scheme separation exercise.
  • Acting for a major international online gaming company on the pension aspects of its first UK corporate acquisition including clearance from the Pensions Regulator and Pension Protection Fund negotiation.
  • Advising the trustee boards of several UK occupational pension schemes sponsored by a NYSE listed conglomerate on a major restructuring project.
  • Advising the trustee board of a UK occupational pension scheme sponsored by a major European airline on restructuring needed to achieve Pension Protection Fund coverage.
  • Acting for a private individual in a ground-breaking Pension Ombudsman case regarding significant pension overpayments over a number of years. Successfully arguing the clients right to retain the overpayments and recovering full costs from the respondent insurance company.
  • Advising start-up businesses across a number of sectors (Fintech, restaurants and pharmaceutical) on employee incentive arrangements including growth shares and enterprise management incentive schemes.

Career History

Justin joined Wedlake Bell in 2010 and became a partner in 2012. He trained with KLegal (KPMG’s law firm) and qualified in 2003 with McGrigors (now Pinsent Masons) specialising in all aspects of employee benefits including tax efficient bonus planning structures and share schemes including a secondment with KPMG’s employment tax group. He then spent four years at Hogan Lovells where he specialised in pensions law.

Justin has a degree in Law from The University of Dundee.

He is a member of the Association of Pension Lawyers, The Employee Share Ownership Centre and the QCA’s Share Schemes Expert Group.


Justin is a regular contributor to the Pension and Employee Benefits team’s e-bulletins, speaks at seminars and has also written articles for Pensions World magazine, The Sunday Telegraph magazine, The Guardian and various pension industry journals.

Justin McGilloway is excellent, giving very practical advice

Legal 500, 2022

Justin McGilloway is effective in building the firm’s presence. He has a warm and engaging personality and is very client responsive.

Legal 500, 2021

"He is a very commercial pensions adviser while being technically very strong."

Chambers UK, 2018

The ‘very commercial and approachable’ Justin McGilloway leads the practice, which is ‘more than capable when dealing with highly complex issues’.

Legal 500, 2016

Justin McGilloway heads Wedlake Bell LLP's pensions and employee benefits team and advises on the full spectrum of pensions law issues. Clients say: "He has his finger on the pulse of all issues and explains it in layman's terms."

Chambers UK, 2017

The team is led by the ‘very responsive’ Justin McGilloway.

Legal 500, 2017



The High Court has issued two recent judgments concerning the restructuring of pension schemes utilising the relevant powers of amendment, particularly the effect of restrictions/fetters on those powers.   AVONRead more



Mistakes do happen. Unfortunately in the context of the long-standing and intricate nature of pension scheme documentation, mistakes can be costly. In the case of Viavi Solutions UK Ltd vRead more


Part 2 – Pensions and Climate Change – a fair COP?

Over the last two years we have witnessed significant climate change developments for UK occupational pension schemes. This has been driven by a desire to secure effective governance and reportingRead more



A new regulatory framework…On 8 June 2021, Guy Opperman (Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion) announced the final versions of two sets of regulations 1 (which have now been laidRead more


Dishonest Assistance – QROPs transfer was an improper investment*

BackgroundThe claimant in this case, Mr Ross Burns, applied for summary judgment in his claim of dishonest assistance against certain defendants (summary judgment is usually possible when one party wantsRead more


A Trustee fit for the 21st Century

Background In 2016 the Pensions Regulator (TPR) carried out extensive research which identified that many schemes were not being run to standards expected by TPR. Off the back of theseRead more


Pension Ombudsman lays down the law to, ahem, “The Law”

The Pensions Ombudsman has upheld a complaint against the Police and Crime Commissioner of South Wales, on the basis that it had a duty of care as an employer toRead more


Promises, promises… (of a pensions nature)

The Pensions Ombudsman has held that an employer “unjustifiably” stopped a member’s monthly pension payments which it had funded for some years following the winding-up of its occupational pension scheme.Read more


Q&A with Justin McGilloway, Head of Pensions & Employee Benefits

When did you first become interested in the law? At school. I took part in a mock trial at the local Crown Court when I was 15. I successfully defendedRead more


BHS – the “pensions” tail wagging the dog

Justin McGilloway discusses the extent of the pensions problem in the case of former high street giant BHS. The well-publicised BHS debacle continues to grip the country. The former highRead more


BT set to “hang-up” on its DB pension scheme

Towards the end of last year BT kicked off a statutory 60 consultation period as part of its proposal to manage its staggering £14bn pension deficit. A consultation document wasRead more


Private: Pensions Compass – September 2017

Welcome to the September 2017 edition of the Pensions Compass. Summer has well and truly disappeared and autumn beckons! The world has gone GDPR crazy, and we’ve decided to giveRead more


Ombudsman gets tough on poor administration

The Pension Ombudsman has directed that a professional trustee company pay £2,000 to compensate a member for the significant distress and inconvenience caused by its maladministration in relation to aRead more


Pensions Regulator cleans up Hoover’s pension mess

A restructuring proposal by Hoover Limited in relation to its largest defined benefit pension scheme, The Hoover (1987) Pension Scheme (the 1987 Scheme), was approved by the Pensions Regulator (tPR)Read more


Pension Sharing on Divorce: ex-spouse fails to convince Pensions Ombudsman

Background: Mrs Y separated from her husband, Professor Y, a retired member of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (the “USS”) in 1996. In 2004, at age 52, Mrs Y enquired withRead more


Overseas Pension Transfers: The Pitfalls

It is no secret that Brexit could have an impact on the City. In the coming months banks and other financial institutions will be making tough decisions on whether toRead more


BHS: Where are we now?

In the Summer and Autumn 2016 In Counsel update and the May 2016 Pensions Bulletin we examined the well-publicised BHS pensions debacle. Since then, a considerable amount of time, effortRead more


US Acquisitions in the UK – how to manage UK pension risks

US owners or would be owners of UK companies should take extra care in the case of a UK defined benefit pension scheme (“DB Scheme”), sometimes known as a ‘finalRead more


Death Benefits: No duty on employer to tell member about less generous death benefits

The Pensions Ombudsman (PO) has given a determination in a complaint by a Mr N that the respondents were not under a duty to inform his wife, Mrs N, thatRead more


Pensions and bankruptcy: a difference of opinion

A recent decision of the High Court, that an Income Payments Order could not be made against a bankrupt’s unexercised rights to draw his pension, has contradicted an earlier decisionRead more


Managing Pension Scheme Liabilities – the options

Many Sponsoring Employers and Trustees continue to look at ways of controlling defined benefit pension scheme liabilities to reduce cost, to reduce volatility and to manage risks. For regulatory reasonsRead more


Tax relief for EMI share options put in question

On 4 April 2018 HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) announced that existing EU State Aid approval for the tax-advantaged share option known as Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) would expire onRead more


Auto-enrolment inducements  – the sole or main purpose test

In Kostal UK Ltd v Mr D Dunkley and Others[1] the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld an employment tribunal’s decision that an employer had unlawfully induced workers to varyRead more


Insolvency and Directors Duties: change is coming….

On 26 August 2018 the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (“BEIS“) published the Government’s response to the consultation on measures designed to improve corporate governance within companies whichRead more


Justin McGilloway’s comments have been published in The Times

The article was first published by The Times on December 1, 2018. Women win first battle over pension age discrimination Older women were unfairly discriminated against by a £5 billionRead more