High speed to the Supreme Court

It’s been a big day in the courts.

First up, the Supreme Court handed down its long-awaited ruling in the pension scheme deficit case brought by the administrators of Lehman Brothers and Nortel. The case has finally clarified the pecking order of pensions deficit payments in the case of an insolvency.

Unlike the High Court and Court of Appeal before them, a five-strong panel of Supreme Court Justices rejected the argument that pension scheme deficits claimed under the powers of the Pensions Regulator qualify as an administration expense. Instead, they ruled that these payments fall alongside other creditor claims and should be treated equally.

Perhaps of more interest to Joe Public is the news that the Court of Appeal came out on the side of the Government in its ruling over the future of the High Speed 2 railway. But the judges were not unanimous – while the Master of the Rolls and Lord Justice Richards rejected all the appeals brought by the campaign groups lobbying against the proposals, Lord Justice Sullivan said there should have been an environmental assessment.

Like Nortel and Lehman before it, HS2 is now set to go to the Supreme Court on environmental impact grounds. The litigation train never really stops.

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