JW and EW v United Kingdom: ECHR 1982

The Commission considered a complaint that the UK government’s failure to pay an uprated pension infringed the pensioner’s Convention rights. The applicants were emigrating to Australia. The Commission rejected the complaint as inadmissible, saying ‘The Commission has considered the applicants’ complaint under Article 1 of the Protocol. It first recalls that it has previously held that although this provision does not as such guarantee a right to a pension, the right to benefit from a social security system to which a person has contributed may in some circumstances be a property right protected by it. However the Commission also held that Article 1 does not guarantee a right to a pension of any particular amount, but that the right safeguarded by Article 1 consists, at most, ‘in being entitled as a beneficiary of the social insurance scheme to any payments made by the fund’ (App. No. 5849/72, Muller v. Austria, D.R 3, p.25 at p. 31). It has further held that before the right to benefit protected by Article 1 can be established, it is necessary that the interested party should have satisfied domestic legal requirements governing the right (App. No. 7459/76, X. v. Italy, D.R. 11, p. 114). In the present case when the applicants emigrate to Australia their entitlement to benefit from the United Kingdom pension scheme will come to be regulated by different rules of domestic law, under which they will cease to qualify for payment of future pension increases contemplated by the relevant legislation. To that extent they will not satisfy domestic legal requirements to benefit from the United Kingdom pension scheme. Even if the right to benefit from a scheme will normally also apply to the regular increases this is not necessarily the case where a person leaves the country where the specific scheme operates. The Commission notes that in many countries specific restrictions as to the payment of social security benefits to foreign countries exist or have existed . . In the Commission’s view such operation of domestic law does not amount to a deprivation of possessions infringing Article 1 of the Protocol and there is thus no appearance of any breach of this provision.’




Human Rights

Cited by:

CitedRegina (Annette Carson) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Admn 22-May-2002
The claimant received a UK state pension. She lived in South Africa, and challenged the exclusion of foreign resident pensioners from the annual uprating of pension benefits. She asserted that the state pension, or its uprating, were pecuniary . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Benefits

Updated: 05 May 2022; Ref: scu.180999