Addleshaw Goddard

UK 200 2013 position: 23

Nomination form not required for unmarried partner's pension

The High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland has held that a requirement under the Local Government Pension Scheme in Northern Ireland requiring the deceased member to have completed a nomination form in order for a survivor’s pension to be paid to his unmarried partner was a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of marital status. In the case of married couples (or civil partners) the scheme had no requirement for a nomination form in order for a survivor’s pension to be payable. The scheme rules set out a test to be satisfied independently of the nomination form (and which avoided competing claims for the survivor’s pension) in order for a survivor’s pension to be payable to an unmarried partner. Therefore the requirement for a nomination form to have been completed before any survivor’s pension could be paid in respect of an unmarried partner acted as an additional hurdle to receiving a survivor’s pension — a hurdle which only applied to unmarried couples…

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