Philip Smith is a partner and specialises in Pensions Law and Charity Law. Philip holds practising certificates in both Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Philip advises on all aspects of pension schemes both in advising trustees and employers on day to day administration, restructuring, funding, investment, governance, regulatory compliance, disputes, merger, amendment and in relation to corporate transactions. He is a former Chair of the Association of Pension Lawyers in Ireland and a Fellow of the Irish Institute of Pensions Management.

As coordinating partner of Arthur Cox’s Charity Law Group, he advises on the issues affecting charitable and not-for-profit organisations and their Directors/Trustees including advice on governance, regulatory compliance investigations, Revenue aspects mergers, restructurings, cy-pres, wind-up, trust law and fundraising. He is co-author, with Professor Oonagh Breen of UCD, of the Law of Charities in Ireland.

Relevant Experience

  • Advising educational and religious organisations in connection with governance structures review
  • Advising charities in relation to the Governance Code and the Fundraising Code of Practice
  • Assisting with responding to investigation by Charities Regulatory Authority
  • Advising on the merger of fundraising foundations and related issues
  • Advising on semi-state organisation on Section 50 reduction of benefits and pension scheme restructuring
  • Advising on reorganisation and merger of legacy DC pension schemes
  • Advising on the negotation of investment mergers and custody agreements
  • Advising corporates and trustees in connection with closure of deferred benefit schemes to future accrual
  • Advising on use and documentation of contingent assets
  • Advising on governance and administrative queries relating to IORPS II, GDPR and related issues


“Philip has so much experience – he’s like the fountain of all knowledge when it comes to pensions in Ireland. He always has a plan, he always has an answer, and he can always relate to the issue that you’re bringing up.”

Chambers Europe: Europe’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2023

“Philip Smith gives sound and practical legal advice in clear and concise language with a measure of good humour thrown in which keeps everyone engaged.”

The Legal 500: Europe, Middle East & Africa, 2022

Philip Smith at Arthur Cox continues to collect endorsements from much impressed market commentators, who highlight his pragmatic approach to complex pension issues.”

Who’s Who Legal, 2022

“Philip Smith is recognised as a leading pensions lawyer in Ireland, with a knowledgeable and pragmatic approach to advice.”

The Legal 500: Europe, Middle East & Africa, 2021

Education & Qualifications

  • BA, 1990, Oxford University
  • Admitted as a solicitor in Northern Ireland, 2006
  • Admitted as a solicitor in Ireland, 1999
  • Admitted as a solicitor in England & Wales (non-practising), 1994
  • Former Chairman of the Association of Pension Lawyers in Ireland (APLI)
  • Member of Association of Pensions Lawyers (the UK organisation)
  • Fellow and former Council member of the Irish Institute of Pensions Management
  • Member of UK Charity Law Association
  • Member of the firm’s CSR Advisory Board