‘Technically excellent, he’s very good to deal with and he really does get his hands dirty with the materials’ – Chambers & Partners 2016
Nigel acts in all types of pensions disputes. These range from the misselling of individual personal pensions to large occupational pension schemes. His expertise includes claims arising out of attempts to amend scheme documentation and issues on the winding-up of pension schemes. He also has considerable experience of professional negligence claims against lawyers, actuaries, administrators and financial advisers. These have often involved issues on limitation.
He has been instructed in many estoppel cases including Hearn v Younger and Hodgson v Toray Textiles. He also appeared in the Demaglass case (reported under the name Alexander Forbes v Clarke) which considered priorities on winding up following Cripps v Trustee Solutions.
Recent cases have included:
- Claims against solicitors and pension scheme administrators arising out of the drafting of a consolidated trust deed. There are also Part 20 proceedings between the solicitors and the administrators. One of the principal legal issues is the effect of section 37 of the Pensions Schemes Act 1993 which prevents amendments to a contracted-out scheme unless the actuary certifies that it continues to meet the reference scheme test.
- Acting for a firm of solicitors in relation to a negligence claim arising out of the drafting of a consolidating deed, and the removal of an underpin to pensions increases. One of the live issues is the extent to which the solicitors owed a duty of care to the principal employer which has suffered the loss, or only to the trustees (who seem to have suffered no loss).
- A claim involving a failure by administrators and pensions advisers to inform the principal employer of changes to the basis on which the debt on a solvent employer was calculated. Limitation is a live issue, as is causation and scope of duty.
- Claims against administrators and pensions consultants arising out of changes which were sought to be made to pensions benefits but which were improperly implemented.
- An appeal against the rejection of a proof by a liquidator. The issue was when the scheme commenced winding up which determined whether the debt on the employer should be calculated on the buy out or MFR basis.
- Advising a US company on seeking clearance from the Pensions Regulator on the sale of a UK subsidiary with a substantial pensions deficit.
- Considering the rights and obligations of trustees of a receiving scheme whose benefits were intended to mirror those of the transferring scheme, but which were different. This resulted in a deficit in the receiving scheme in respect of the transferred members.
- Advising the joint administrators of a principal employer which had never employed any members of the scheme as to its obligations to contribute to the deficit. Considering the liability of the professional advisers to the company who had consistently advised the directors that it was under an obligation to contribute to the scheme.