The Litigation department's extensive experience of pensions litigation has developed off the back of 10 years of litigation where Travers Smith acted for the Mirror Group Pension Trustees in their litigation campaign to recover assets misappropriated by the late Robert Maxwell.
At that time, pensions litigation was in a relatively early stage of development but the Maxwell affair led to wholesale changes in pensions law and a much more widespread perception of the rights and obligations of trustees and actuaries and banks involved in this field. Since then, the department has gained broad experience in all aspects of pensions-related work, ranging from claims relating to the proper interpretation of pension scheme documentation and the power of trustees to claims for breach of trust, constructive trust, breach of fiduciary duty, insurance coverage and professional negligence.
“Jonathan Leslie brings 'responsiveness' and 'sound business sense' to pensions disputes.”
The Legal 500
Recent matters include:
- acting for Stena Line Limited in a dispute relating to an industry-wide pensions scheme, the Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund, as to whether the trustees can amend the scheme rules so as to permit them to seek contribution from former employers to meet the Fund's deficit
- advising the trustees of a major corporate pension fund in connection with a claim against a fund manager arising from an investment of pension fund assets. The claims are for breach of contract and misrepresentation and involve sums in excess of £200m
- advising the trustee of a pension plan in relation to the merits or otherwise of an application for rectification arising out of an apparent mistake in the Scheme rules relating to early retirement
- acting for the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee in relation to a dispute with United Dairy Farmers, the Department of the Environment of Northern Ireland and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development concerning the Northern Ireland local government pension scheme, which NILGOSC has statutory responsibility to administer
- acting for the trustees of a pension fund in a dispute with the fund's administrators regarding their failure to execute the transfer of a large number of employee AVC benefits held in bulk policies as part of the winding-up of the scheme
- acting for the trustees of the Construction Confederation Staff Pension Scheme in High Court proceedings concerning various matters including the application of the funding regulations under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 and the Occupational Pension Schemes Funding Regulations 2005 (Hearn and others v Dobson and another  EWHC 1620)
- successfully defending a claim brought in the Chancery Division against MGN Pension Trustees Limited, the trustee of the Mirror Group Pension Scheme. The claim related to whether a deferred pensioner was entitled to draw a pension at age 60 from the Scheme without any actuarial reduction being made