By Ian J Gordon, Simon Davies, Chris Edwards-Earl

The Barnardo’s scheme’s rules stated that uprating of benefits must be based on the “general index of retail prices or any replacement adopted by the trustees without prejudicing approval”. While the retail price index (RPI) continues to be published (i.e. not “replaced”), the Supreme Court found it is not open to the trustees to adopt a new index.

Barnardo’s submissions were unanimously refused by the Supreme Court, endorsing the judgments of the lower courts. In so doing the Supreme Court adopted a textual rather than purposive approach to its construction of pension scheme rules. Our experts examine this case and what it means for schemes generally.