John Hamilton Partner & Head of Pensions & Benefits

Photograph of John Hamilton

Contact Details

“He is thorough, has good response times, and is able to convey a situation in plain English.”

Chambers and Partners 2018

“John Hamilton distils complex technical matters into clear and practical advice.”

Legal 500 2017
John advises corporate and trustee clients on pensions law and is a director of North Harbour Pension Trustees Limited, the firm’s independent trustee company.

Main areas of practice

His main areas of practice include:

  • Pension scheme restructuring
  • Scheme investment
  • Employer debt and insolvency
  • Pension disputes
  • Documentation work
  • Automatic-enrolment
  • Director pension arrangements
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Corporate transactions
  • Buy-outs
  • Wind-ups
  • Trustee training


John advises employers, trustees, schools and other education institutions, as well as local authorities, government departments, teaching establishments, NHS bodies and private sector employers and trustees in relation to pensions issues including the transfer of staff from the public sector.

Significant experience

He has significant experience in relation to buy-out and buy-ins and acted for the trustee of the UK Paper Employee Benefits Scheme in relation to its £180m buy-out of liabilities with Legal & General in 2008.

More recently, John has been working with a number of trustee clients in relation to pension disputes including the rectification of scheme documentation.

Other expertise

Speaker: He speaks regularly on pensions issues at both internal external conferences and workshops.
Author: John is a commentator on pension issues in pension journals and the wider press.
TPAS advisor: He has acted as a TPAS advisor since 2003.

“Is very good in delicate situations and able to find the common ground. He is very flexible, accommodating and approachable.”

Chambers UK A Client's Guide to the Legal Profession 2015


John’s Blog

An insight into the Pension Regulator's views on auto enrolment

The Regulator has given an insight into how it expects auto enrolment will affect employers, but it accepts this is a new area of law and we are yet to see exactly how it will run in practice.

Impact on life assurance following further drop in lifetime allowance

We discuss the impact of further reductions in lifetime allowance.

The view of the Pension Regulator's views on auto enrolment

A look at the Pension Regulator's view on auto enrolment and how it will affect them.

Articles by John

Walker v Innospec Ltd [2017] - Same-sex marriage and inequality in pensions – Schemes must now provide survivor benefits to same-sex spouses and civil partners on the same basis as opposite sex spouses


In the recent case, the Supreme Court ruled that a pension scheme must provide benefits for a surviving spouse in a same-sex marriage on the basis that it provides benefits for the surviving spouse in an opposite sex marriage.

Public sector pension reform


There have been two recent Employment Tribunal cases in which the Tribunal had to decide whether transitional provisions attached to reforms of a judicial pension scheme.

HMRC extends pension scheme VAT arrangements for a further year


HMRC announced that employers and trustees will have 12 months to bring their defined benefit pension scheme VAT recovery arrangements into line with the new policy

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