Estoppel and pensions
Produced in partnership with Wyn Derbyshire of gunnercooke LLP
Estoppel and pensions

The following Pensions practice note Produced in partnership with Wyn Derbyshire of gunnercooke LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Estoppel and pensions
  • Development of the doctrine of estoppel
  • Main characteristics of estoppel
  • Estoppel by representation
  • Similarity to equitable doctrine
  • Differences to equitable doctrine
  • Estoppel pensions cases
  • Difficulty in relying on explanatory literature
  • Estoppel arguments advanced in respect of groups of members
  • Estoppel based on reliance on scheme administrator’s representations
  • More...

Development of the doctrine of estoppel

Estoppel is the general term frequently given to the equitable doctrine which (broadly speaking) provides that if a person (person A) causes another person (person B) (whether by word or action, and whether expressly or impliedly) to believe that a particular set of facts or circumstances are true, then A should not later be permitted to draw back from the statements and/or actions they made or carried out which led B to such a conclusion, if it would be unjust or unconscionable for A to do so.

Over the years the doctrine has grown and developed beyond its original boundaries, and today there are various different categories of estoppel that the courts (both in England and Wales and elsewhere) have recognised and adopted to address particular cases.

Main characteristics of estoppel

Today, in most forms of the doctrine, it is insufficient for A simply to have made representations (by word or action) which are later found to be wrong and misleading; B must have relied on the representations in some way (eg by incurring expenses or embarking on a particular course of action in the belief that A's representations were accurate), and in such a way that B would not have acted but for the representation(s).

A's actions or statements need not be express as regards the specific representations upon which B subsequently

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