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Philip Bennett

Professor in Practice

Professor in Practice in the Durham Law School


Philip Bennett joined Durham Law School as Visiting Professor of Pensions Law in September 2019. He was appointed Durham Law School’s first Professor in Practice in September 2022.

Prior to joining the Law School, Philip was a partner, for more than 30 years, in the Pensions, Employment and Employee Benefits Group of Slaughter and May, a leading London headquartered international law firm. He is a graduate of Durham University.

His experience included advising on some of the largest pension scheme mergers and restructurings, repayments of surplus and management of deficit issues (including benefit design changes and consultations with employees and their representatives over those changes). Philip is listed in the Pensions Section Hall of Fame of the Legal 500 United Kingdom, 2017.

He is a past chair of the International Association of Pension & Employee Benefits Lawyers and of the Legislative & Parliamentary Sub-committee of the Association of Pension Lawyers.

Engagement, Publications and Research

Philip’s recent public engagements, publications and research activities and interests include:

  • February 2024: Member of Financial Law Markets Committee working group on ‘Pension Fund Trustees and Fiduciary Duties: Decision making in the context of Sustainability and Climate Change’ here
  • February 2024: ‘Leveraged LDI: Prudent Deficit Risk Management or Ultra Vires Speculation?’ (2024) 37 Trust LI  167. 
  • June 2023: ‘Leveraged LDI: Prudent deficit risk management or ultra vires speculation?’ paper presented to the Association of Pension Lawyers Summer Conference, June 2023 here .
  • April 2023: Co-author of ‘Are leveraged LDI strategies lawful? A rejoinder and a request’ (2023) JIBFL 219 here
  • September 2022: European Review of Private Law article: “Bauer and Beyond: The Changing Interpretation of Article 8 of Directive 2008/94/EC and Its Impact on EU Member State (and UK) Pension Protection Arrangements on Employer Insolvency” (with Hans van Meerten, Utrecht University) here.
  • August 2022: Vice-chair of the International Pension and Employee Benefit Lawyers (“IPEBLA”) Amsterdam conference. Speaker at the Plenary Session on “Climate Change an Urgent Issue for Plan Fiduciaries” (with Randy Baslaugh, McCarthy Tetrault, Canada and Mark Solomon, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, USA. Speaker at workshop on: “Key Characteristics of Conditional Defined Benefit Plans That Work” (with Randy Baslaugh, McCarthy Tetrault, Canada, David Powell, Groom Law Company, USA and Ken Volkenant, Dejager Volkenant, Canada).
  •  March 2022: Response to the Pensions Regulator’s consultation document on “A Code of Practice for authorisation and supervision of collective money purchase schemes”.
  • January 2022: Cambridge Law Journal book review of “Pensions and Legal Policy: Lessons on the Shift from Public to Private” by Amanda Cooke, here.
  • November 2021: Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment: Webinar “Green Bonds and the Greenium: Helping to finance a just transition to net zero or just virtue-signalling, greenwashing and, on the buy side, breach of fiduciary duty?” (with Neil Brown, Chief Risk Officer, Earth Capital Limited).
  • November 2021: Association of Pension Lawyers Annual Conference: “Climate Change: Focus on the New Governance and Reporting Requirements” (Chair: Philip Bennett. Speakers: Tony Raymond and Alison Winstanley, the Pensions Regulator and Thomas Tayler of Aviva).
  • November 2021: EU Lawlive: Op-Ed: (with Hans van Meerten): “EU Pension Taxation: Removing Another Brick in the Wall?”,  here.
  • November 2021: Co-author of ‘Does IAS 19 (Accounting for pension costs) meet the criteria for its adoption and retention including the legal requirement of being conducive to the public good?’
  • October 2021: Trust Law International article “Would it be a Breach of a Pension Fund Trustee’s Investment Duties to invest in ‘Green Gilts’?”,  here
  • July 2021: Response to the Pensions Regulator’s consultation on “Guidance on governance and reporting of climate-related risks and opportunities”.
  • July 2021: “Green Gilts and the Greenium: Value for money, virtue, signalling or breach of trust”: Pensions Institute Commentary, here.
  • June 2021: Talk and paper for the Association of Pensions Lawyers Virtual Summer Conference: “Would it be a breach of a pension fund trustee’s investment duties to invest in “Green Gilts” at a “Greenium”?”.
  • June 2021 IPEBLA comparative law paper and webinar “Overview of the legal issues in the decumulation phase for DC Plan members in Australia, Canada, the UK and the US”. Editor, moderator and organiser: Philip Bennett. Country authors: Ruth Stringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Australia, Michael Wolpert, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Canada, Sandy Maudgil Slaughter and May, UK and Susan Wetzel, Haines and Boone LLP, USA.
  • May 2021: “A Briefing Note on Discount Rates, Defined Benefit Pension Schemes, and their Sponsors”: Co-authors Philip Bennett, Iain Clacher, Alan Duboisée de Ricquebourg, Mark C. Freeman, Con Keating.
  • January 2021: “Bauer and beyond: The changing interpretation of Article 8 of Directive 2008/94/EC (Protection of employees’ pension rights on employer insolvency) and its impact on Member State pension protection and arrangements on employer insolvency” with Hans van Meerten – Utrecht Centre for Regulation and Enforcement in Europe, here.
  • January 2021: IPEBLA comparative law paper and webinar “Overview of the legal rules on the extent to which ESG factors may/must be taken into account by DB and DC pension plan fiduciaries/trustees in Canada, the Netherlands, the UK and the US”. Editor, moderator and organiser: Philip Bennett. Speakers and country authors: Randy Baslaugh, McCarthy Tetrault, Canada, Eva Schram, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, The Netherlands, Stuart O’Brien, Sackers, UK and David Powell, Groom Law Group, USA.
  • September 2020: Response to the Pensions Regulator’s Consultation Document “Defined benefit funding code of practice”, here
  •  February- May 2020: Talks to the pensions practice groups of a number of law firms on the following topics:
    •  “Is it prudent for trustees to invest in long dated bonds in a rigged market?”
    • “Are sex differentiated actuarial factors in UK occupational pension schemes lawful?"
    •  “Some ramifications of the ECJ decision in Bauer (19th December, 2019) on protecting DB benefits of employees of insolvent employers”.
  • January 2019: Provision of a detailed response to the Department for Work and Pensions Public Consultation on “Delivering Collective Defined Contribution Pension Schemes”.
  • January 2019: Trust Law International article “Must an occupational pension scheme take into account ESG factors, even if there is a risk of financial detriment to the pension fund?”.
  • June 2018: response to the Department for Work and Pensions Consultation on Clarifying and Strengthening Trustees’ Investment Duties.
  • March 2018: appearing as an expert witness before the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee Consultation CDC Schemes, here.
  • February 2018: expert evidence to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee Consultation CDC Schemes,  here

Designed and teaches the first undergraduate Pensions Law module in the UK.

Designed and leads the Law School's Employability Course, launched in October 2023, which compliments the employability resources provided by the Careers & Enterprise Service. 

Michaelmas Term Office Hours: Michaelmas Term Office Hours: Mondays, 1pm- 2pm and Tuesdays, 12:15- 1:15pm. 

Epiphany Term Office Hours: By appointment 

Easter Term Office Hours: By appointment