Belfast Telegraph

Supreme Court pension ruling will have widespread impact

By Rosemary Lundy

This case raises a number of important issues, with the Supreme Court's judgment removing bureaucratic barriers to pension rights for cohabiting couples.

Previously, cohabiting couples who wanted their partner to receive their public sector pension after their death had to complete a nomination form. Married couples and those in civil partnerships did not have to jump over this extra hurdle.

Northern Ireland had lagged behind England, Wales and Scotland, where the need for cohabiting couples to complete nomination forms for public sector pensions was removed a number of years ago.

The Supreme Court found no justification for discriminating against cohabitees in this way. The judgment brings Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK.

This has implications for many public sector pension schemes in Northern Ireland and may impact across a wide range of areas. This case also highlights the increasing use of crowdfunding as a means of financing legal action.

It is a concept that is growing in popularity and spreads the financial risk across a range of donors.

Rosemary Lundy is head of employment law at Arthur Cox's Belfast office

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