Construction and Rectification
Members of chambers advise on the construction of scheme documentation and the interpretation of pensions legislation and, either in conjunction with construction claims or independently, in cases concerning the possible rectification of mistakes in scheme documents. We have considerable experience in pursuing and resisting estoppel arguments and have dealt with rectification claims both by way of summary judgment and at a full hearing.
Our barristers act for trustees, employers and representative beneficiaries in Part 8 claims, including Beddoe applications and applications for directions from the court, and in fact-sensitive claims requiring the cross-examination of witnesses brought under Part 7. Where construction and rectification cases also raise issues of professional negligence, we act in related negligence proceedings.
Recent work includes acting in a claim concerning the construction of the Occupational Pension Schemes (Winding Up) Regulations 1996; acting for the trustee in a claim concerning the construction of the definition of “money purchase benefit” under section 181(1) of the Pension Schemes Act 1993; and acting for the employer in a claim concerning the construction of scheme deeds and rules relating to pension increases.
- Danks v QinetiQ Holdings Ltd  PLR 131 – Whether the adoption by the claimant trustees of the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rather than the Retail Prices Index (RPI) for increase to pensions in payment and the revaluation of deferred pensions would be potentially voidable under section 67 of the Pensions Act 1995;
- Bridge Trustees Ltd v Yates  1 WLR 1912 – An appeal of the Department of Work and Pensions to the Supreme Court in which it was held that neither a scheme guaranteed rate of return on a member’s DC fund nor the internal annuitisation of that fund when a member retired took the benefit outside the definition of “money purchase benefit” in section 181(1) of the Pension Schemes Act 1993;
- HR Trustees Ltd v German  PLR 23; International Management Group (UK) Ltd v German  PLR 11 – Proceedings relating to the conversion of the IMG Pension Plan from a final salary to a money purchase scheme and the construction of section 91 of the Pensions Act 1995;
- Walker Morris Trustees Ltd v Masterson  PLR 307 – A trustee’s claim for directions arising out of the construction of the power of amendment relating to potentially invalid amendments to two final salary schemes over the course of more than 20 years;
- Alitalia-Linee Aeree Italiane SpA v Rotunno  PLR 175 – whether an employer’s obligation to fund a scheme so as “to secure” benefits under it requires the scheme to be funded on the buy-out basis and whether trustees are entitled to an indemnity from the employer in respect of their costs of the proceedings, before recourse is had to the fund;
- Hearn v Younger  PLR 49 – Members’ claims to enhanced benefits by estoppel as a result of alleged inaccuracies in explanatory literature produced by the trustees and the employer;
- Harwood-Smart v. Caws  PLR 101 – Provision included in a scheme’s 1957 interim deed to comply with the then applicable Inland Revenue regime for approval rendered ultra vires a later amendment permitting the return of surplus to the employer on the winding up of the scheme commencing in 1993.