UK: Human Capial - Pensions - Court Of Appeal Reaches Decision In “Cripps V Trustee Solutions” Case

Last Updated: 4 September 2007

Article by Jay Doraisamy, Andrew Powell, Francois Barker, Terry Saeedi and Steve Southern

The Court of Appeal has decided, in the recent case of Cripps v Trustee Solutions (often referred to as the Dubery case) that any pension rights accrued during a "Barber window" of service (ie a period since the date of the Barber case in 1990 until scheme rules were changed to remove unequal pension ages between men and women) should be honoured by creating a right to a pension, but only on that particular period of service.

The court concluded that members of the scheme (which was winding up) who had the right to retire at age 60 in respect of a part of their service who were aged between 60 and 64 at the date when the scheme commenced winding up, should be classed as pensioners for the purposes of the statutory priority order set out in section 73 of the Pensions Act 1995. However, this did not apply in respect of pension or other benefits accrued during the remainder of their service that was subject to a normal retirement date of age 65.

The implications of this decision for other schemes will depend on the timing of and the manner in which the scheme equalised retirement ages for women and men. We will be issuing an Alert on the issues raised in the Dubery appeal and the implications for other schemes in due course.

Sea Containers To Appeal FSD Determination

Following the issue of a Determination Notice by the Pensions Regulator against Sea Containers Limited in June 2007, Sea Containers has recently announced that it has lodged an appeal against the Regulator’s decision. Any determination made by the Regulator can be appealed within 28 days of the date of the determination. The appeal will be made to the Pensions Regulator Tribunal, a body which was set up to hear appeals on decisions and determinations of the Regulator.

Deregulatory Review Of Pensions Published

On 25 July 2007, an independent deregulatory review of the legislation governing private pensions was published. The review was commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The aim of the review was to make the private pensions’ regulatory framework more straightforward, adopting a more simplified approach, and, in doing so, to try to balance the need to protect members with that of encouraging employers to provide pensions.

The report sets out recommendations for change, and identifies a number of key areas:

  • Legislation should be less detailed, and greater clarity is needed. There should be simple rules governing what members should be told by the schemes of which they are a part;
  • It should be easier for scheme rules to be changed to take advantage of changes to legislation;
  • Changes are needed in relation to when an employer, which leaves a multi-employer scheme, must make a payment to the scheme;
  • It should be easier for employers to recover surplus funds in their own schemes; and
  • Greater focus should be paid to ensuring that trustees at trustee board level develop their expertise, rather than individual trustees.

Government ministers are set to review the report’s findings and publish a response in the autumn.

The report can be viewed at:

Finance Act 2007 And Pensions Act 2007 Receive Royal Assent

Two major Acts have appeared on the statute books since our last Monthly Update. The Finance Act 2007 received Royal Assent on 19 July 2007. The full Act can be viewed at . The Act contains various pensions-related provisions, including the abolition of contributions relief for life assurance premium contributions, amended provisions relating to alternatively secured pensions (ASPs), and it makes various miscellaneous amendments to Finance Act 2004, eg relating to the reduction of ill-health pensions, and the periods for payment of pension commencement lump sums and lump sum death benefits.

The Pensions Act 2007 received Royal Assent on 26 July 2007. The full Act can be viewed at The Act lays the foundations for the new pensions settlement being introduced by the Government. As well as providing a boost for women and carers, the Act re-links the Basic State Pension with earnings from 2012 or by the end of the next Parliament, and provides for a simpler flat rate state second pension. The number of years’ contributions required to achieve a full basic state pension will be reduced to 30 for women and men from April 2010. The Act will also gradually increase state pension age to 68 by 2046 for men and women.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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