High Court upholds appeal from PPF Ombudsman
The appeal concerned a narrow but important point of law regarding the construction of Paragraph 26 of Schedule 7 to the Pensions Act 2004 (“PA04”) and, in particular, “attributable to his pensionable service”.
The appellant, Mr Anthony Beaton, was an employee of CT Bowring & Co in the early 1970s and became a member of the Bowring Pension Scheme. On leaving his employment in 1994, he stopped accruing benefits under the Scheme and joined Fenchurch Group plc, and began pensionable service in the Fenchurch Group Pension Scheme. Four years later, the assets and liabilities of the Fenchurch Scheme were transferred into the Lowndes Lambert Group Staff Pension Scheme (the Lambert Fenchurch Scheme). Mr Beaton remained a member of that Scheme when, in 2005, the Scheme’s sponsoring employer went into administration which led to the Scheme’s transfer into the Pension Protection Fund. Accordingly Mr Beaton became entitled to compensation calculated in accordance with Schedule 7 to the PA04.
The question on which the appeal turned was whether, on a proper construction of Paragraph 26 of Schedule 7, the pension that Mr Beaton accrued in the Bowring Scheme was “attributable” to the Lambert Fenchurch Scheme such that his entire aggregated pension was subject to a single compensation cap.
In allowing Mr Beaton’s appeal, Mr Justice Nugee held in an extempore judgment that the transferred-in pension was not so attributable, rejecting arguments made on behalf of the Respondent based not only on the statutory wording itself but also on extracts from Hansard and the Explanatory Notes to the Act.
The Respondent was granted an extension of time within which to seek permission to appeal from the Court of Appeal.
The full judgment will be provided in due course. Meanwhile, a summary can be read here.
Barristers: Olinga Tahzib | David E Grant