Airways Pension Scheme Trustee Limited v (1) Mark Owen Fielder (2) British Airways plc  EWHC 29 (Ch)
The Trustee of the Airways Pension Scheme has successfully obtained approval from Mr Justice Arnold to pursue to the Supreme Court its appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal in British Airways plc v Airways Pension Scheme Trustee Ltd  EWCA Civ 1533,  Pens LR 19, and to be indemnified in respect of the costs of doing so from Scheme funds.
The dispute underlying the appeal arose following the Government’s announcement in 2010 that it intended to use CPI instead of RPI for increasing public sector pensions. As a consequence of its public sector origins, this new practice applied to the Scheme.
In 2011 the Scheme’s then Trustees decided to use their unilateral power of amendment to amend the Scheme’s rules by inserting a power to grant discretionary increases. In 2013 the Trustees exercised this power to grant an increase of 0.2%, being half the then gap between RPI and CPI.
BA issued proceedings in December 2013, challenging the Trustees’ decisions on a wide range of grounds. Following a seven-week trial in 2016, those challenges were rejected by Mr Justice Morgan.
BA appealed to the Court of Appeal, which in its judgment of 5 July 2018 held by a majority (Lewison and Peter Jackson LJJ, Patten LJ dissenting) that the 2011 decision was invalid because it was a use of the Scheme’s power of amendment for an improper purpose. The 2013 decision was therefore also held to be invalid.
Very unusually, the Court of Appeal granted the Trustee permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. The Trustee duly filed a Notice of Appeal and then issued a claim for Beddoe relief, seeking court approval to pursue the appeal and an indemnity from Scheme funds in respect of its costs.