Representation of beneficiaries in pensions litigation
Produced in partnership with Oliver Hilton of Radcliffe Chambers

The following Pensions practice note produced in partnership with Oliver Hilton of Radcliffe Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Representation of beneficiaries in pensions litigation
  • What is a representative party?
  • When and why are representation orders made in pensions litigation?
  • Rectification claims
  • Pensions disputes involving the Pensions Ombudsman or the Pensions Regulator
  • Jurisdiction to appoint a representative party and the approach of the court
  • What about a member of a class who does not wish to be represented and/or wishes to represent themselves?
  • Types of representation orders
  • Who may be appointed a representative party
  • At what point in the litigation can representative parties be appointed?
  • More...

Representation of beneficiaries in pensions litigation

Pensions litigation is often complex and costly, involving numerous parties, raising many and varied issues and ultimately concerning substantial sums of money. The outcome of such litigation has the potential to affect the rights and interests of the members of the scheme involved.

However, given that many pension schemes have a sizable membership and the potential for conflict as regards the outcome of litigation between different parts of the membership, it is usually undesirable that all members are made parties. Instead, the use of representative beneficiaries (often shortened to ‘rep bens’) as a procedural and practical tool to streamline pensions litigation is a standard feature of most such claims, although, as we shall see, the term ‘representative beneficiaries’ can be a misnomer, as members can be represented by persons who are not members of the class represented or even beneficiaries.

This Practice Note deals with the making of representation orders in pensions litigation.

What is a representative party?

Representative parties are creatures of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR), specifically CPR 19.6 and CPR 19.7. Those provisions are dealt with further below, but broadly speaking they provide for a legal person to be represented in civil proceedings by another legal person or other persons.

Accordingly, a representative person is ‘representative’ not in the sense that they have consulted with other class members and ‘represents’ their

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