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Pensions: what’s new this week - 9 January 2023

Welcome to your weekly update from the Allen & Overy Pensions team, covering all the latest legal and regulatory developments in the world of workplace pensions. This week we cover topics including:  ICO guidance on using children’s data; Court of Appeal: stopping survivors’ pensions on marriage/civil partnership/cohabitation compatible with ECHR; Overseas entities register: pensions amendments.

ICO guidance on using children’s data

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published guidance setting out additional, practical considerations when processing children’s personal data under the UK GDPR. This may be relevant to schemes when processing data in relation to, for example, children’s pensions and death benefits (though in the majority of cases it is likely that schemes would not be dealing directly with children, so parts of the guidance are likely to be of limited application). The guidance sets out considerations such as ensuring a lawful basis for processing a child’s data, and ensuring privacy notices are clear and accessible.

Read the guidance.

Court of Appeal: stopping survivors’ pensions on marriage/civil partnership/cohabitation compatible with ECHR

The Court of Appeal has confirmed a High Court decision that police pension scheme rules providing that surviving partners’ pensions stopped if the surviving partner married, entered into a civil partnership or cohabited with a new partner were not contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR): Green v The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.

The High Court held that the rules were objectively justified and proportionate, and therefore not contrary to human rights law, despite the fact that the rationale for such rules is now socially outdated. The Court of Appeal upheld that judgment, dismissing arguments that the judge had misapplied the relevant legal tests. The judgment noted that the purpose of the rules in question was not to discourage people from marrying, and must be seen in context, including that: the dependants’ benefits are part of a bundle of rights referable to the member’s pensionable service and contributions; the integrity of the scheme was designed, costed and contributed to on that basis; there was an opportunity to transfer to another scheme, which provided spouses’ benefits for life and the outdated social rationale was addressed in that way; and the rules were consistent with the policy of ‘prospectivity’ (broadly, that changes to benefits are forward-looking).

Read the case.

Overseas entities register: pensions amendments

Regulations will come into force on 12 January 2022 amending the requirements for overseas entities to provide information to Companies House when dealing in UK property, including some changes in relation to pension schemes. Overseas entities owning or buying property in the UK are required to provide information to the Registrar of Companies, including about their ‘beneficial owners’. The new regulations, amongst other things, exclude information in relation to beneficiaries of pension scheme trusts from needing to be verified.

Read the regulations.

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