Jason Beer QC successful in police pensions case with national implications

Today the High Court handed down judgment in an important case with significant implications for a large number of retired police officers who receive policy injury pensions pursuant to either the Police Pensions Regulations 1987 or the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006: Ashcroft & Evans v Chief Constable of South Wales Police [2017] EWHC 2835 (Admin) .

Those regulations permit the deduction from the pension payments made to injured police pensioners such sums as they are entitled to be paid by way of certain State welfare benefits.  The practice of the police service had been to deduct the sums in fact paid or due to such pensioners by way of the relevant welfare benefits in each year after their retirement.  Two former South Wales Police (“SWP”) officers challenged that approach, contending that the deductions should be limited to the sums to which they were entitled in the year of their retirement – and that, accordingly, any increases in welfare benefits should not be taken into account in calculating the deductions.

Haddon Cave J rejected this claim, agreeing with SWP that (i) it was inconsistent with a plain and ordinary reading of the regulations, (ii) the officers’ approach would lead to over or double recovery by them when this would “make no sense”, and (iii)  its construction was consistent with the purpose of the regulations.  The retired officers were given permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Jason acted for South Wales Police.  He specialises in public law.