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Pension fund ordered to pay court costs

Pension fund ordered to pay court costs

Tuesday 10 September 2019

Pension fund ordered to pay court costs

£250,000 could be finding its way back into the public purse after Guernsey's Bailiff made an order for those behind a collapsed pension scheme to pay back the costs of its court proceedings so far.

Seven respondents, most associated to a man named Roger Mewis, have been on the receiving end of a number of court actions over the last few years.

This was after the island's Public Trustee took control of the IXG Pension Scheme, which collapsed some years ago leaving its members severely out of pocket. As the scheme was initially based in Guernsey, it fell to the island's Royal Court to try and reclaim all of the missing assets. It appointed the Public Trustee to do so.

Since then, the PT has been moving to reclaim as much as possible, and also resolve all of the loose ends associated with the scheme. 

During the most recent hearing, the Bailiff, presiding over the Court, verified three applications made by the Public Trustee to have Mr Mewis and the other respondents payback costs that have been incurred over the course of the different court appearances. Those amounted to a sum of £248,858.21. 

That money is all from the public purse, as the Public Trustee comes under the remit of the States Committee for Economic Development. 

Sir Charles Frossard House

The PT is employed by Economic Development, so any money he spends on employing lawyers comes out of the States' bank account. 

The three applications were originally made over the last 12 months, but were all verified yesterday, as Mr Mewis's time period in which he is allowed to challenge the figures elapsed. He did not choose to challenge any of the costings, however, he also did not appear in court nor send a representative, something he has not done since proceedings kicked off. 

In making his decision to approve the costings, the Bailiff said it was not for him to decide whether or not they were correct, but to hear any challenges that were made from the respondents, and as there had been no challenges even though they had had a month to do so, he was clear to grant all of them. 

The first order was made in August 2018, the second in January of this year to pay for expert witnesses and a disclosure application, and the third for a claim to seize a UK property from the fund. The Public Trustee has been systematically taking control of assets remaining attached to the scheme to help recover costs. 

A fourth application was also made yesterday for a further £27,000 - that was for the cost of the time it took to work out the costs of everything. The Bailiff agreed to that application, but did not make the order as the month Mr Mewis is entitled to has not yet passed. 

Finally, the Public Trustee applied to have interest added to all of the payments at a rate of 8% per annum, increasing until the money is received. The Bailiff reserved judgement on this part of the application until later in the week. 

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