Pensions law in Scotland and the rest of the UK—key differences
Produced in partnership with Frances Ennis and Paul Masterton of Pinsent Masons
Pensions law in Scotland and the rest of the UK—key differences

The following Pensions guidance note Produced in partnership with Frances Ennis and Paul Masterton of Pinsent Masons provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Pensions law in Scotland and the rest of the UK—key differences
  • The statutory framework
  • Application of legislation, guidance and other policy in Scotland
  • Public sector pensions and outsourcing
  • Pensions on divorce—the Scottish position
  • The Pension Protection Fund and section 75 debts—meaning of insolvency event
  • Other practical differences between the jurisdictions
  • The structure of documentation governed by Scots law
  • Deeds of appointment and removal of trustees—the Scottish law of trusts
  • Interpretation and construction of pension scheme documentation—the Scottish approach

The statutory framework

Generally, the legislative framework which applies to private sector occupational pension schemes governed by Scots law is the same as that which applies to the rest of the UK. In particular, the following legislation apply north as well as south of the border:

  1. the Pension Schemes Act 1993 (PSA 1993)

  2. the Pensions Act 1995 (PA 1995)

  3. the Pensions Act 2004 (PeA 2004)

The core trust law on which most private sector schemes are based is different, with Scotland having its own separate trust legislation and case law.

The Scottish judicial system is, however, completely separate so that English decisions on pensions cases are not binding in Scotland, but may provide assistance.

Differences in a number of other areas of law can impact on pensions law and practice.

Application of legislation, guidance and other policy in Scotland

When giving advice in respect of Scottish pension schemes, care must be taken to check that any legislation or other documentation referred to is actually applicable. There will be times where it is unclear, or questionable, whether certain pieces of guidance, policy or even legislation apply in Scotland.

Public sector pensions and outsourcing

In respect of work involving the public sector and outsourcing, while the broad principles are the same, there are a number of differences which need to be considered.

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