Friday 19 January 2018
British Telecommunications Plc V (1) BT Pension Scheme Trustees Limited (2) Linda Bruce-Watt  EWHC 69 (Ch)
Judgment was given today by Zacaroli J in BT plc v BT Pension Scheme Trustees Limited. The case again raised the issue whether it was open to a Scheme’s sponsoring employer to move pension indexation from RPI to CPI. In the case of this scheme, the Trustees of which were represented by Brian Green QC, this was a move which would have reduced value of benefits by around £2 billion. This was the second trial in 2017 on that issue following Thales in March (in which Robert Ham QC, Emily McKechnie, Brian Green QC, and James McCreath acted for the parties).
The wording of the rule in the present case meant it was of potentially particular interest to other schemes. The test required that RPI had “become inappropriate” for the purposes of increasing pensions. BT argued that it had. The representative beneficiary, represented by Michael Furness QC and James McCreath, argued that that was not the case, and that BT remained liable to fund RPI benefits. The Judge accepted those submissions, holding that the conditions for a move from RPI had not been satisfied.