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Keith Rowley QC

| Silk 2001
| Call 1979

Profile: Overview

Keith Rowley QC is described by Chambers UK as one of the best silks at the Bar for complex litigation and is well known as a commercial and Chancery advocate. He deals frequently with international disputes and has a particular specialisation in pensions law.


Experience and Expertise

Keith Rowley QC is instructed by major firms in the City of London, large national firms and smaller provincial practices and his clients range from banks, insolvency practitioners, insurers and multi-national companies to smaller businesses and private individuals.

He is well known as a leading silk for pensions disputes and regularly appears in complex and legally significant cases. He has long held a top tier ranking in the Chambers UK Bar Guide and, in 2017, was named Chancery Silk of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards. He was nominated for Barrister of the Year at The Lawyer Awards 2018. Recent cases of note include Lloyds Banking Group Pensions Trustees Ltd v Lloyds Bank plc & Ors and British Airways Plc v Airways Pension Scheme Trustee Ltd.

Earlier in his career, Keith Rowley was junior counsel for the Takeover Panel on the first challenge in the courts to one of its rulings in R v Takeover Panel ex parte Datafin and subsequently advised the Panel on a number of occasions (including successfully applying to set aside a subpoena issued against it on behalf of Lonhro in the litigation with the Australian entrepreneur, Alan Bond, and also in relation to Alan Sugar's attempt to take his Amstrad company back into the private sector).

He also acted for the trustees of the Champion Pension Scheme (successor to the well known Champion Sparking Plug business), one of the two UK pension schemes involved in the Federal-Mogul UK administration/US Chapter 11 proceedings. He was the only pensions silk to appear on the UK administrators' application for directions before David Richards J (Re T & N Ltd [2005] PLR 1) and the important section of the judgment dealing with English pensions law and explaining how the US group restructuring proposals were inconsistent with it is derived entirely from his submissions.

He led a team from chambers in Weir & Ors v Secretary of State for Transport, representing the Railtrack Private Shareholders' Action Group in the claim which they brought against Stephen Byers, the former Secretary of State for Transport, and the Department of Transport, for misfeasance in public office and breach of the shareholders' rights under Article 1 to the First Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights, arising out of the decision to put Railtrack Plc into administration in October 2001. Although this claim was unsuccessful, in his judgment Lindsay J praised Keith's presentation of the shareholders' claim.

Other cases of note include Jasmine Trustees Ltd v Wells & Hind and Prudential Staff Pensions Ltd v The Prudential Assurance Company Ltd and others, which is now the leading case on the employer’s duty of good faith in relation to the exercise of an employer’s non-fiduciary powers under a pension scheme. He appeared last year in Houldsworth v Bridge Trustees Ltd (the Imperial Home Décor Pension Scheme), acting for the successful Trustee of the Scheme in the Supreme Court, and below.

Further details of reported cases are set out below.



Keith Rowley QC is consistently recommended by the legal directories as a leading silk for commercial chancery; traditional chancery; commercial litigation; pensions; professional negligence; and property law.

The directories have noted that he is “an incisive and brilliant tactician” with an ”ultra-approachable demeanour” who “exudes authority” and “commands enormous respect for his perceptive and lucid advocacy”. Other recent directory comment has included the following:


Cases and Work of Note



Chancery Bar Association; the Association of Pension Lawyers; and the Professional Negligence Bar Association.

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Chambers 2019The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms

Keith Rowley QC
“The fiendishly intelligent Keith Rowley QC is a tenacious barrister with sublime advocacy skills who has an outstanding ability to digest complex documentation and put it into layman's terms.”

Chambers UK