Ill Health Retirement – Further High Court Update March 2021

As members will be aware from a letter sent to them in November 2020, a hearing was due take place in the High Court over two days from (or shortly after) 22 March 2021. This was in relation to the ill-health early retirement (“IHER”) benefits paid by the Fund.

The issues in the case relate to whether IHER benefits paid by the Fund from 1985 onwards were validly introduced and the legal effect of various subsequent changes to those benefits. In particular, from 1991, certain IHER benefits were reduced or suspended, and from 8 October 1993, no further IHER pensions were provided to members leaving service after that date.

Confidential settlement discussions are still ongoing, and it has become apparent that more time will be required to prepare and hopefully agree detailed settlement terms in this complex matter. The Judge has therefore agreed to re-list the hearing, and it will now take place over two days from (or shortly after) 5 July 2021. As before, the intention is that if settlement terms are agreed, they will be considered by the Judge for approval at that hearing. The Judge would only approve the settlement if he considers that it is the interests of both the members and the employers to do so.

Further information about the proposed settlement will be made available to members and employers in due course.

The Trustee strongly recommends that, where possible, members who (a) previously retired on an IHER pension, or (b) who left service on or after 8 October 1993 without taking IHER, retain any medical and employment history and/or knowledge about their past health.

The Trustee also recommends that, where possible, a member’s family/dependants also retain knowledge of, and/or records related to, a member’s employment and medical history in the event of a member’s incapacity or death. This is relevant for all members with service before 8 October 1993 who either (a) have or had IHER benefits or (b) left service through ill-health after that date without taking IHER (at the time of leaving service). This could be relevant whether or not the case settles.

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