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Appeal successfully defended in Viavi v Shannan & Others


On 28 March 2018, the Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in Viavi v Shannan & Others, Re: the Wandel & Goltermann Retirement Benefits Scheme (“the Scheme”) [2018] EWCA Civ 681.

The case concerned the validity of the substitution of a new principal employer for the Scheme in 1999/2000 and consequent questions as to whether subsequent deeds were validly executed by the correct employer company.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal from the order of Mr Timothy Fancourt QC (as he then was) in [2016] EWHC 1530 (Ch); [2016] Pens. L.R. 193, finding in favour of Mr Froude, the representative beneficiary. Nicolas Stallworthy QC & Simon Oakes of Outer Temple Chambers acted for Mr Froude, successfully defending the appeal.

The Court of Appeal found for Mr Froude on the facts. First, the Court accepted Mr Froude’s argument (which had been rejected by the Judge) that the substitution had actually been agreed between the Trustees and the new principal employer (“Management”), with the consent of the old principal employer (“Viavi”) by July 1999, before Management executed a new definitive deed & rules dated 15 September 1999 (“the 1999 Deed”). Secondly, the Court agreed with the Judge that, even if Management’s substitution as a principal employer had not been effected before the 1999 Deed, it was unquestionably effected by the 1999 Deed itself.

Having found for Mr Froude on the facts, the Court of Appeal did not need to go on to consider the other legal arguments advanced, which are of more interest to practitioners and their clients for other cases. Please read the continuation here.

Barristers: Nicolas Stallworthy QC
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