Press Release announcing date for Judicial Review hearing on 7th Feb 2007
by Dr. Ros Altmann
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Members of the Pensions Action Group have won the right to a Judicial Review of the Government’s unprecedented rejection of the Parliamentary Ombudsman and Public Administration Select Committee verdicts of maladministration against the tens of thousands of people whose pensions were taken away from them by rules originally designed to protect them after the Maxwell scandal. The case will be heard in the High Court of Justice on 7th February.
The judge has recognised the urgency of this case, but the Government has continually delayed and failed to meet the required legal timetable for this case. It has still not filed a defence, but it will now be forced to do so within 35 days.
Peter Humphrey of the Pensions Action Group comments:
‘This Government has created a scandal far worse than Maxwell itself. Maxwell pensioners were rescued within weeks, but here are tens of thousands of us left without our pensions for years, despite two independent verdicts in our favour.’
John Halford, of Bindman and Partners, the Pensions Action Group solicitor said:
“That this case has to be brought at all is an absolute scandal”
There are already 10,000 people past pension age, struggling to survive without the pensions they saved for all their working lives and Ministers have expressed sympathy, but refuse to pay compensation.
The Government has not provided any new evidence to suggest that the Ombudsman’s verdict was flawed and the Parliamentary Public Administration Select Committee has confirmed her judgment. Solicitors and barristers are working on a ‘no win no fee’ basis and have submitted the claim on behalf of Pensions Action Group members, that the Government’s reaction to the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s report is unlawful, irrational and unreasonable.
Ros Altmann, advocate for the Pensions Action Group said:
‘It is the Ombudsman’s role to decide whether there was maladministration and we believe the Government is not entitled to reject her findings in this cavalier fashion and without any coherent justification.’