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3rd October 2012: Pensions Ombudsman secures Circuit Court order directing the Respondent to a Final Determination to comply with the terms of that Determination

 

 

Press Release

 

Pensions Ombudsman secures Circuit Court order directing the Respondent to a Final Determination to comply with the terms of that Determination.

 

The role of the Pensions Ombudsman is to investigate and decide on complaints and disputes from individuals about their Occupational Pension Schemes, Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs) and certain Trust Retirement Annuity Contracts.

The Pensions Ombudsman is an independent, impartial statutory officer who aims to settle complaints and disputes as quickly as possible.

On the 2nd October 2012, in Clonmel Circuit Court, Mr. Vincent Woodlock, a former director of South East Scaffolding and Associated Services Limited, in liquidation, has been ordered to comply with the terms of the Final Determination that was issued on the 2nd February 2012.

Following on from an investigation by the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman into the alleged maladministration of the Construction Workers Pension Scheme, it was determined that South East Scaffolding and Associated Services Limited and in turn its director, Mr. Vincent Woodlock, was guilty of maladministration in that the company and its director failed to provide adequate cover as envisaged by the Registered Employment Agreement covering construction workers for pension, sick pay and life assurance.

By the actions of the company and its director, the relatives of an employee of South East Scaffolding and Associated Services Limited, Mr. Anthony Cahill deceased, were denied the death benefit of €66,675 that would have been due.  The Final Determination found that both the company and its director were guilty of maladministration.

Mr. Vincent Woodlock was yesterday directed by the Judge at Clonmel Circuit Court to comply fully with the orders of the Final Determination with immediate effect.  The Pensions Ombudsman in response to the Court decision stated that he was extremely happy with the outcome and wanted this to send a signal that individuals or companies that fail to comply with his Final Determinations will be subject to the full rigours of the law.  

Notes for Editors:

  1. Under the Pensions Act 1990, as amended, the Pensions Ombudsman investigates and decides on complaints and disputes that an individual has suffered a financial loss because of some failure in the administration of an occupational pension scheme, Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA), or Trust RAC.  He is completely independent and impartial and has a small staff of thirteen people.
  2. Section 21 of the Social Welfare and Pensions (No.  2) Act 2009 amended section 141 (1) (inserted by section 5 of the Pensions (Amendment) Act 2002) of the Pensions Act 1990 by substituting "the Pensions Ombudsman" for "the Minister".  Section 141 (1) (a) now reads as follows:

If a party fails or refuses to comply with a determination of the Pensions Ombudsman under this Part ("a determination"), the Circuit Court shall, on application to it in that behalf by –

  1. the other party concerned, or
    1. the Pensions Ombudsman, if he is of opinion that it is appropriate to do so having regard to all the circumstances,

make an order directing that party to carry out the determination in accordance with its terms

  1. Circuit Court Rules set out how the Circuit Court will conduct its business in relation to particular kinds of actions.  In the case of Pensions Ombudsman legislation, these rules provided that the application to the Court shall be made by way of originating Motion on Notice grounded upon affidavit and save by special leave of the Court, applications shall be heard only upon affidavit evidence.

For further information contact Mr. Paul Kenny, Pensions Ombudsman at (01) 647 1650, or see www.pensionsombudsman.ie.

3rd October, 2012

Ends.