UK - The Joseph Singer court battle against the age 75 annuity rule has been dropped, according to a leading pensions lawyer.
Matrix Chambers – the legal practice which had been fighting the case on Singer’s behalf – has previously been keen to publicise the case. But this week it refused to either confirm or deny whether the case had dropped.
The case had been due for a second hearing at the Administrative Court to determine whether a full court case, based on human rights law, was viable.
A partner of a leading pensions law team said: “My understanding is that in the last two weeks the case has been withdrawn.”
But he felt the attempt to fight the annuity law in court had been seriously misguided and argued that it was sound rational advice to keep annuities.
The reported withdrawal of the Singer case is a severe setback for those who were looking for reform of the law on annuities.
Cherie Booth, who had been fighting the case on Singer’s behalf, is one of the UK’s top human rights’ law experts and her involvement was seen as the best hope for the case.
Lawyers, though, believe that a legal battle was flawed from the start.
Lovells partner Jane Samsworth said that as soon as Singer started saving for a pension with the benefit of tax relief, he had entered into a bargain. Singer, she said, could not renegotiate the ground rules.
Hope for annuity reform through conventional routes remains.
Annuity Bureau head of marketing David Marlow said: “With the current consultation ongoing, we are going to see more activity this year in product innovation and from the government itself.”
But he added: “The government says the system is fine, ‘you go off and innovate’ but the providers are saying well we have innovated but we are still getting demand from consumers for the system to change.”
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