Defectively executed deeds of amendment – Briggs (and Others) v Gleeds (and Others) (High Court)

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The High Court held that deeds of amendment going back more than 30 years had been incorrectly executed. The deeds failed to meet the execution requirements of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989. In particular, partners’ signatures were not attested by a witness.

The consequences for the pension scheme, as well as the sponsoring employer, are significant. As a result of the defective deeds certain employees who thought they had joined the scheme never in fact became members, whilst other members who thought their benefits had been reduced are now entitled to enhanced benefits.

This case illustrates the importance of ensuring that deeds are correctly executed, taking into account any statutory requirements as well as any requirements under the scheme rules. If trustees or employers are in any doubt about what is required they should seek legal advice, or run the risk of deeds being held to be invalid.