• In the case of R. (on the application of Bradley) v Secretary of Work and Pensions concerning administrative law, B had lost a large portion of their final salary due to administration.
  • The Financial Ombudsman found that S had made errors in relation to the Pensions Act 1955.S rejected these claims.

Main Takeaway:

  • In the circumstances of the case, it was irrational for the secretary of state to reject the ombudsman’s findings that official information relating to final salary pensions was incomplete and misleading as to the amount of maladministration. Although there is nothing in the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 to suggest the Secretary of State had to accept the findings of another body.

Facts of the Case

  • A, secretary of state appealed against a decision quashing his rejection of a finding of maladministration.
  • Respondent’s workers cross appealed against the rejection of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s finding that maladministration had been the cause of injustice.
  • The respondent’s workers lost all or part of their final pension salary when their occupational pension scheme wound up.
  • The Ombudsman made various discoveries of maladministration by Secretary of State in relation to the Pensions Act 1955.
  • Secretary of State rejected all bar one of the Ombudsman’s findings.
  • R’S workers applied for a judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to reject the first and third findings of maladministration.
  • First findings of the Ombudsman findings related to if official information concerning the security of members final salary schemes could expect, was inaccurate and misleading.
  • The third finding was in relation to the decision to approve a change of the minimum funding requirement to be introduced under Part 1 of the 1995 Act.
  • The judge found that unless the findings were irrational, they were binding on the Secretary of State and rejected the challenge to the secretary of state’s decision in relation to the third finding of maladministration.
  • Secretary of State appealed.

Issues in R.(on the application of Bradley) v Secretary of Work and Pensions [2008] EWCA Civ 36:

  • Could the Secretary of State for Work and pensions be bound by the Parliamentary ombudsman’s findings.
  • Whether the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s findings were misleading irrational or peripheral.

Held by Court of Appeal (Civil division)

  • Appeal dismissed; cross appeal allowed in part.

Wall LJ, Blackburne J, Sir John Chadwick

  • It was held that it was impossible to accept that there was anything in the 1967 Act which required the body whose conduct was the subject of investigation under that Act to accept the findings of maladministration.
  • Parliament did not enact such a provision, although they could have.
  • Secretary of State was entitled to reject findings by the Ombudsman.
  • The question before the court was whether the Secretary of State had acted rationally in rejecting the Ombudsman’s findings and it was found he had in relation to the third finding of the Ombudsman.