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Supreme Court rules nominations are unnecessary for co-habitees

08 February 2017

supreme court

The Supreme Court published its judgment today in the matter of a Judicial Review brought by Denise Brewster of a decision made by the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee and the Department of the Environment (now the Department for Communities).

The Local Government Pension Scheme pays survivors pensions to co-habitees if certain criteria are met. The Judicial Review centred on the requirement in the Local Government Pension Scheme regulations for co-habiting members to nominate the recipient of their survivor's pension.  The Court determined that a nomination is unnecessary.

The Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC) is the public body which is the administrator of the Local Government Pension Scheme. It is required to follow the Scheme regulations. The Department for Communities is the Government department which makes the Scheme regulations.

NILGOSC is grateful to the Supreme Court for its decision in this case and the clarity it has provided on the important issues raised. NILGOSC will take all necessary steps to comply with the Court's direction regarding the payment of a pension to Ms Brewster as quickly as possible. In addition we await the decision of the Department for Communities on how it intends to proceed as regard the scheme regulations. In the meantime we would encourage any surviving partner of a deceased co-habiting scheme member who did not receive their full suite of pension benefits because a nomination was not made to make contact with us.

The Supreme Court Judgement and press summary can be found here.