Enforcement against bankrupt’s pension

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2 min read

The claimants were victims of fraud perpetrated by the defendant against a peer-to-peer lender. The defendant was subject to a worldwide freezing order, and the lender obtained summary judgment for sums exceeding £3m, plus costs. The claimants (who were some of the individual investors) took assignment of the judgment debt when the lender went into administration.

Upon his subsequent bankruptcy, most of the defendant’s assets fell into the bankruptcy estate. However, his rights under the pension scheme did not. The bankrupt’s pension fund was worth around £8.5m, although around half belonged to his estranged wife.

The claimants sought directions that the defendant delegate to the claimants, various rights under the pensions scheme, which would allow them to obtain release of the pension funds into the defendant’s bank account. They could then seek recovery of the judgment debt from those funds by way of a third party debt order.

The bankrupt argued that the court had no jurisdiction to make such an order, but even if it did, the court should not exercise its discretion to do so.

The court held that it did have jurisdiction to make the order sought, and the relevant overriding public policy consideration was that fraudsters should not prosper.

There were compelling reasons for the claimants, who were amongst those who had been defrauded by the defendant, to be able to have access to his money to satisfy the judgment debt. The court made the orders sought.

Bacci v Green [2022] EWHC 486 (Ch)

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