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Barnardo’s v Buckinghamshire and others [2018] UKSC 55

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Supreme Court rules on the interpretation of pension scheme definition of the Retail Prices Index

On 7 November 2018, the Supreme Court published its judgment, in which it dismissed the employer’s appeal in the matter of Barnardo’s v Buckinghamshire and others. The case concerned a question of construction of the applicable rules of the Barnardo pension scheme, namely whether the trustees currently have power to substitute CPI for RPI for the purposes of pensions increases and revaluation. The Supreme Court agreed with Warren J and the majority of the Court of Appeal that they did not.

Permission to appeal to the Supreme Court was granted because it was thought that there might be clauses in many pension schemes which contained similar wording. The case is also of interest for its discussion of the principles of construction of pension schemes.

Brian Green QC and Emily Campbell acted for the employer in the application to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal and in the appeal which followed when permission was granted.