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A Defendant's Assets - What About Their Pension Fund?

23 May 2012

In the recent case of Blight and others v Brewster1, the High Court allowed a judgment debt to be enforced against part of a defendant's pension fund.

The claimants in this case had obtained judgment in 2008 and had taken steps to enforce it as a third party debt order.  Among the defendant's assets was his pension fund, the terms of which provided that he could elect to draw down 25% of the fund as a tax-free lump sum. 

In upholding the third party debt order over the 25% of the pension fund, the judge stated that "debtors should not be allowed to hide their assets in pension funds when they had a right to withdraw monies needed to pay their creditors".

This decision suggests that successful claimants should now consider the terms of any pensions when determining the defendant's assets against which a judgment may be enforced, particularly where those pensions allow the debtor to withdraw a lump sum from the fund.

(1) [2012] EWHC 165 (Ch)

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