How to challenge a Pensions Regulator's determination—the Upper Tribunal
How to challenge a Pensions Regulator's determination—the Upper Tribunal

The following Pensions practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How to challenge a Pensions Regulator's determination—the Upper Tribunal
  • Jurisdiction of the Upper Tribunal
  • Role of the Upper Tribunal in relation to the Determinations Panel
  • Who can refer a determination to the Upper Tribunal?
  • Directly affected persons
  • The Lehman Brothers case
  • What are the decision-making powers of the Upper Tribunal?
  • Reference process
  • Timing
  • How to make a reference
  • More...

Where the Pensions Regulator or the Pensions Regulator's Determinations Panel (the Panel) makes or issues:

  1. a determination under the Pensions Regulator's Standard Procedure, or

  2. a final notice under the Pensions Regulator's Special Procedure,

that determination or final notice (jointly referred to in this Practice Note as a determination) may be referred to the Upper Tribunal for a reconsideration of the matter.

For more information on the Determinations Panel and the Standard and Special Procedures, see Practice Note: The Pensions Regulator’s Determinations Panel.

This referral power is particularly useful to a person who is detrimentally affected by a determination (eg a determination imposing a contribution notice or financial support direction on that person), as it effectively gives that person a forum to appeal that determination.

While references to the Upper Tribunal are free of charge, each party will usually bear their own costs and the Upper Tribunal may impose an adverse cost order in certain circumstances. For more information, see Cost awards, below.

Upper Tribunal referrals have given rise to prominent cases like:

  1. the Lehman Brothers Scheme (Lehman Brothers) case

  2. the Desmond & Sons 1975 Pensions and Life Assurance Scheme (Desmond) case

  3. the Bonas Group Pension Scheme (Bonas) case

For more information on contribution notices and financial support directions, see Practice Notes: Contribution notices and Financial support directions.

Jurisdiction of the Upper Tribunal

The Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) is an independent

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