Gleave and others v The Board of the Pension Protection Fund [2008] EWHC 1099 (Ch)

The High Court ruled that calculations of employer debt by scheme actuaries cannot be challenged by insolvency practitioners unless there is evidence of fraud or error.

The insolvency practitioners for the asbestos producer, Turner & Newall, had claimed that the scheme actuary certificate, which stated that the debt (under the Turner & Newall Retirement Benefits Scheme) was approximately £94 million, was wrong because members had been exposed to asbestos during their working lives. As a result, it was argued, their life expectancy had been reduced, thereby reducing the required level of scheme funding. The judge did not agree and ruled that the actuary’s calculations could be relied upon.

This case will be welcomed by the Pension Protection Fund, which will gain a large degree of comfort from the fact that employer debt in insolvency cases is based on the scheme actuary’s valuation and is not open to dispute from insolvency practitioners.

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