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Michael Furness QC

Call: 1982    QC: 2000

+44 (0)20 7306 0102mfurness@wilberforce.co.uk

Pensions

Much of Michael’s work involves occupational pension schemes.

He advises on all aspects of pensions law, including:

  • Scheme funding
  • PPF issues
  • Investment related issues
  • Equalisation
  • Pension scheme taxation
  • S 75 debts
  • Insurance company products
  • Construction of scheme rules
  • Local Government Pension Scheme issues

His litigation practice includes regulatory litigation (FSDs and CNs), issues of interpretation of statutes and scheme rules, and claims for rectification of scheme rules.

He frequently advises insurance companies and Sipp providers on tax and regulatory issues.

Recent cases include:

  • Representing companies in ITV Group in the ongoing FSD reference to the Upper Tribunal, including appearing in the UT on the hearing of the FSD references in early 2018 –and appearing on the interlocutory appeal to the CA:  ITV v The Pensions Regulator [2015] and
  • Appearing for the representative beneficiary in BT v BT Trustees [2018] – successfully resisting BT’s claim to be able to change the pension increase to an index other than RPI. This case is now going to the Court of Appeal
  • Representing the BBC in the Court of Appeal in Bradbury v BBC [2017] – an ombudsman appeal arising out of a benefit re-structuring which involved SWT-type contracts.
  • Appearing for the claimant in Granada Group Ltd v Law Debenture [2015] – case about the potential application of section 320 CA 1985 to directors’ top-up pension arrangements.
  • Representing the trustees of a group within a utility pension scheme on a claim for a section 75 debt due on an employer cessation event (settled shortly before trial).

Reported cases in earlier years cases also include:

  • Federated Flexiplan Scheme [2012 and 2013]
  • PNPF Trust Co Ltd v Taylor [2010]
  • Eastearly v Headway plc [2009] (CA)
  • South Tyneside MBC v Lord Chancellor [2009] (CA)
  • Walker Morris Trustee Co v Masterson [2009]
  • Allied Domecq Holdings Ltd [2008] (CA)
  • National Bus Pension schemes [2008]
  • St Gobain v Davies [2008] (CA)
  • Sovereign Trustees Ltd v Glover [2008]
  • Scania GB Ltd v Wager [2008]

and also Betafence v Veys ; Pitmans Trustees v The Telecommunications Group; AGCO v Massey Ferguson Pension Trustees (CA); Re John Holt Pension Scheme; Bradstock Pension Trustees v Bradstock and Redrow v Pedley.

Michael has also appeared in many unreported applications for trustee directions or compromises.

He advises The Pensions Regulator, The Pension Protection Fund and the FSA on technical pensions issues.

An important part of his practice involves advising on and conducting professional negligence litigation arising out of erroneous advice and drafting.