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Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 2008

Section 14: Dispute resolution arrangements

Section 14 amends Article 250 of the 2005 Order which substitutes Articles 50 to 50B of the 1995 Order for Article 50 of that Order. Article 250 has not yet been brought into operation.

Subsection (4) inserts paragraph (4A) into the new Article 50 to provide trustees or managers of an occupational pension scheme with the option of adopting two-stage dispute resolution arrangements. Schemes must provide for disputes to be considered by the trustees or managers, but the trustees or managers can choose for disputes to be considered by another person first. Any decision by the trustees or managers will confirm or replace any first-stage decision.

Subsection (5) inserts paragraph (5A) into the new Article 50 to ensure that the requirements of new Article 50(5) apply equally to any first-stage arrangements. This means any decision on an application made under a discretionary first stage must be made and notified to the applicant within a reasonable period.

Subsections (6) and (7) make minor amendments to make clear that the requirements of Article 50B relating to the dispute resolution procedure apply only to applications to the trustees or managers, and not any discretionary first-stage process.

Subsection (8) substitutes a new version of Article 50B(3) which replaces references to a fixed six-month time limit for applications to the trustees or managers for certain applicants with reference to a reasonable period. This will give the trustees or managers the flexibility to adopt time limits to suit either one or two-stage arrangements.

Subsection (10) inserts a new paragraph (4A) into Article 50B to make clear that a decision by the trustees or managers can be made by one or more of the trustees on behalf of the whole board.

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