UK - A complex legal case concerning the funding of the Pilots National Pension Fund has started in the High Court.
The scheme - established in 1971 - currently has a £200m deficit. The trustee is seeking to establish the extent of its powers to levy contributions on the ports that authorise pilots.
Eversheds head of pensions litigation Giles Orton, who is directly involved in the case, explained the unique feature of the scheme is that 75% of the liabilities relate to self-employed service.
Orton said by special HM Revenue & Customs concession pilots, who historically have generally been self-employed, have been allowed to participate in an occupational scheme.
He said: "The court is, accordingly having to grapple with complex questions on the application of the scheme specific funding and employer debt legislation, and the scheme's power of amendment, to the highly unusual circumstances of the scheme.
"For self-employed members, who if anyone was the ‘employer'."
Orton added: "The recent High Court decisions of Hearn v Dobson and Cemex are being revisited, and both the DWP and the regulator are watching carefully for the implications of the decision.
"Most of the great and the good in the field of pensions litigation are involved. As well as the trustees there are eight defendants representing various categories of member and port."
The trial is expected to last at least three weeks before Mr Justice Warren.
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