The High Court has ruled that retrospective changes to the LGPS exit credits regime were lawful – and gave some helpful guidance around the new discretion to pay an exit credit.
The reasons given included that:
- Provision of care by the charity over time involves “multi-dimensional decisions involving a range of agencies and authorities”. The court should be alert to the fact there is a great deal to grapple with.
- It is “obvious now it's unrealistic to examine the shared living issue in isolation” from the other issues.
- The Article 8 right to private and home life is not achievable in one way alone. How flexible the coworkers are is not in the control of the charity. If they are not flexible, “that does not mean the charity must then reduce their options only to what the co-workers would agree to”.
- There was “ample correspondence and evidence of dialogue to show a process of continual evaluation and transparency about the options” by the charity. “The court cannot sit in judgment over each stage of the journey [of change] as manager or micromanager”.
Anthony Collins Solicitors and counsel Christopher Baker of Arden Chambers represented the charity.
Helen Tucker, Partner of Anthony Collins Solicitors, stated “The Charity are relieved that the court has recognised the long, careful process they have worked through to present various options to co-workers before seeking to introduce the current changes. The Judge emphasised his hope that previous tensions will not stop the practical progression of the matter going forward. The Charity shares that hope”.
The Botton village co-workers had already agreed, in related charity proceedings on 31 March 15, to taking on employed status and gave undertakings not to block access to homes etc until the conclusion of those court proceedings. That court case is presently stayed, pending full permission from the Charity Commission to proceed, which has not yet been granted. (Click here for details)
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