Negligent pensions advice

30th January 2015 by

Pensions are about ensuring that all your hard work benefits you not just in the present, but in the future too. Having a good pension scheme and sound pension advice can make your sunset years a time of prosperity and security, but where advice is negligent the results can be catastrophic, having a profound impact on both health and finances. As such, if you have suffered from negligent or substandard advice, it may be possible to claim for pensions negligence.

Pensions negligence claims

The law surrounding pensions advice and pensions schemes is both technical and complex. Because of this, it is necessary to seek the opinion of an expert professional negligence lawyer in the event that you believe negligent advice has led to you sustaining financial loss.

The Barber window

One area of pensions drafting which may give grounds for a pensions negligence claim relates to “the barber window”.

The Barber window refers to the 1990 Barber case in which the European Court of Justice ruled that it was discriminatory for pension schemes to prescribe different retirement ages for men and women. Typically, Barber window claims tend to concern instances where pension schemes have failed to properly account for the ending of this legalised discrimination, whether through errors or omissions in the drafting or amendment of documents.

Failures of advice

Sometimes the interpretation of a pension scheme’s rules and terms can give rise to disputes. However, a solicitor’s, or other professional’s, incorrect interpretation does not, alone, connote negligence, providing it can be construed as reasonable and competent.

One important claim for pensions negligence is Pinsent Curtis v Capital Cranfield Trustees [2005] – a case in which legal advisors were held to be negligent for failing to provide adequate advice to a group of trustees. As a result of this negligent advice, the trustees were left without the full pensions buy-out which, under the terms of the scheme, they would otherwise have been entitled to.

Member pension negligence claims

Healys LLP’s professional negligence solicitors always seek to settle claims for pensions negligence as amicably as possible, whether through informed correspondence or mediation and negotiation.

One other way of settling such members’ pensions claims is to refer them to the Pensions Ombudsman in the hope that its disputes process will prove satisfactory.

Another relevant agency is the Pensions Advisory Service, which may be of use in certain individual cases.

However, in cases where it is the appropriate course of action, our partners are prepared to take cases to the courts and fight as robustly as is necessary to secure a just outcome.

For cost effective advice and clear guidance from our Brighton and London team contact us by using our call-back form, email a partner or call directly on 020 7822 4106.