Lansing Linder Ltd v Alber: ChD 2000

Pension scheme rules were amended varying the ages etc for retirement. The rules gave the company power to amend the rules with the consent of the Trustees. The original rules permitted early retirement on an immediate, but actuarially reduced, pension. Under the original rules, members of the scheme in service (actives) required the consent of the trustees and the company to take early retirement; those who had left service (deferreds) required the trustees’ consent. The company claimed that the omission of the requirement for consent in the new rules was in error and that it was always intended that the right should be subject to consent of the company and trustees. The cost to the company of there being no requirement of consent was considerable, particularly with regard to the valuation of the benefits of deferreds. The memoranda and minutes of the trustees’ meetings made no reference to consent being required for early retirement.
Held: In relation to the actives, there was insufficient evidence that the absence in the new rules of the need for consent for early retirement between 60 and 65 on an unreduced pension failed to give effect to the intentions of the company and the trustees. But with regard to the deferreds, there was no positive intention to change their position. Rectification was refused, even as regards the deferreds, because ‘The evidence shows that, when they executed the deed, they had no clear common understanding of what it provided, and no clear common intention as to what it should provide. The only common thread of intention which appears to link the signatories was an intention to sign, wholly blindly, the document which was put before them on the basis that, as it was prepared by [the scheme administrators and scheme solicitors], it must be one they could safely sign. In short, their intention was no more complicated than to sign a deed in the form produced to them, whatever it in fact provided, and knowing that in material respects it had gone beyond the limits of what had been resolved …’ In any event there was no outward expression of accord. Responding to the argument that, since this was not a contract case, the applicable principles were those in Re Butlin’s Settlement, and there was no need for outward expression of accord, ‘I agree… that the present claim is not one to rectify a contract, since no authority has been cited to me which expressly identifies the rectification requirements in a claim such as the present. I agree also that it may be said that to apply the Rose v Pim requirement of an outward expression of accord to the present case does involve a development of the principles. If so, however, I take the view that such a development requires only the smallest of steps.’

Rimer J
[2000] Pensions LR 15
England and Wales
CitedRe Butlin’s Settlement Trusts 1976
Sir Billy Butlin had executed a voluntary settlement to allow a majority of trustees to exercise a power under the settlement. By a drafting error the settlement did not give effect to this intention.
Held: The court could rectify the . .
CitedFrederick E Rose (London) Limited v William H Pim Junior and Co Limited 1953
The plaintiffs, who were London merchants, had been asked by Egyptian buyers to supply ‘feveroles’. Not knowing what this term meant, they asked the defendants’ representative, who responded that ‘feveroles’ meant horsebeans. Relying on this . .

Cited by:
CitedAMP (UK) Plc and Another v Barker and Others ChD 8-Dec-2000
The claimants were interested under a pension scheme. Alterations had been made, which the said had been in error, and they sought rectification to remove a link between early leaver benefits and incapacity benefits. The defendant trustees agreed . .
CitedTrustee Solutions Ltd and others v Dubery and Another ChD 21-Jun-2006
The rules of a pensions scheme were altered. It was required that any such alteration be in writing, but the trustees had not signed the document creating the amendment.
Held: The words ‘writing under hand’ clearly required a signature, and . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Equity, Financial Services

Updated: 20 January 2022; Ref: scu.184574