UK - Trustees have won the right to stop a pensioner assigning his pension rights to pay a court judgement against him.
The Court of Appeal ruled that the benefits must only be used to pay a pension in retirement.
The ruling stopped Brian Harrison assigning £25,000 of his pension rights after losing a case over the breach of share sale warranties.
Harrison – the defendant in the case – had signed a consent order following a judgement in favour of the plaintiff, Fisher.
But independent trustees refused to make the payment.
The Court of Appeal upheld the independent trustees’ decision not to pay as it breached the conditions of the scheme and had forfeited the benefits as a result, under section 91 of the Pensions Act.
Associate at law firm DLA, Matthew Swynnerton, said: “Pension rights may be the most valuable rights a person has and they have to be protected.
“This is why it is important for the law to make sure no-one else can be assigned funds from the pension. This case has highlighted part of the law that has been overlooked.”
Under the Pensions Act an occupational pension “cannot be assigned, commuted or surrendered” unless it is a payment to a spouse, former spouse, an attachment of earnings order – such as maintenance orders – income payments orders against bankrupts or if the member has caused loss to the trustees due to a criminal act.
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