UK - The Court of Appeal has found the government did mislead at least 125,000 people about the safety of their pensions, in a ruling this morning.
In 2004, the Parliamentary Ombudsman was asked to investigate and, in March 2006, it published a report entitled: 'Trusting in the Pensions Promise' which concluded that the Government was guilty of maladministration, which caused injustice to the victims.
It recommended the government replace lost pensions in full, apologise to the victims and also make some 'consolatory payments' in recognition of the stress and distress they had suffered.
However, the day after the report was published, the government rejected it, resulting in those who lost their pensions mounting a Judicial Review against this decision.
The Parliamentary Public Administration Committee also conducted an investigation and confirmed that the government was wrong to reject the report and that the Ombudsman had been right.
In February 2007, the High Court Judicial Review verdict found against the government, but it immediately lodged an appeal against that ruling. Today's verdict is a result of that appeal.
According to independent pension adviser Ros Altmann, who has lobbied on behalf of the pensioners impacted, the court found the Secretary of State's rejection of the Parliamentary Ombudsman's findings to be irrational and unlawful, and also ruled that he must accept his department caused injustices which went beyond just financial losses.
However, a Department of Work and Pension's spokesman said it has applied to the Court for leave to appeal on a protective basis but was considering the complex and lengthy judgement in more detail before deciding whether to pursue the appeal.
The spokesperson said: "We have already announced a significant settlement which will help some 140,000 people who lost their pensions, bringing the government's total commitment to the Financial Assistance Scheme to £2.9bn in net present value terms."
Altmann said on behalf of the pensioners: "We are vigorously opposing the government's request for leave to appeal to the House of Lords in this case. It is a waste of taxpayers' money and would just further prolong the suffering caused."
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