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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.

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

Recent cases include:

  • 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 companies in ITV Group in the ongoing FSD reference to the Upper Tribunal, including appearing on the interlocutory appeal to the CA:  ITV v The Pensions Regulator [2015].
  • Representing the BBC in Bradbury v BBC [2015]an ombudsman appeal arising out of a benefit re-structuring which involved SWT-type contracts.
  • 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).
  • Representing the trustee of the Federated Flexiplan Scheme [2012 and 2013] in proceedings concerning the construction of the scheme rules and the basis on which benefits had been computed.

Reported cases in recent years cases also include:

  • 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]

Important cases from earlier years include 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.