High Court rules on Merchant Navy Pension Fund deficit regime

Employers Stena Line, P&O Ferries and Sealion Shipping will see a reduced burden on plugging the Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund’s (MNRPF) £300 million deficit following a High Court ruling.


The organisations, along with 40 others, have contributed towards the deficit since 2001 under its old funding regime.

The decision, handed down by Mrs Justice Asplin, means deficit contributions will be due from all employers that have, and still do, participate in the scheme. More than 250 employers have participated in the MNRPF.

The High Court has ruled that a proposed new deficit regime would be a proper exercise of the trustee’s powers.

The new deficit regime is designed to collect contributions from employers for the payment of members’ benefits now and into the future, while taking into account the relative burden on the employers.

Justice Asplin said: “It seems to me that the trustee dealt with this matter in a meticulous manner and sought all relevant and proper advice upon which it quite properly relied.”

Edmund Brookes, chairman of the MNRPF trustee board, added: “The trustee is very pleased that the court has approved the important decisions it has taken regarding the future funding of the MNRPF. 

Members and sponsoring employers alike can take assurance from those decisions having been subject to scrutiny by the court, with the benefit of detailed submissions on behalf of both the members and sponsoring employers. 

“All involved in the MNRPF can take comfort from the judge’s comments which were very supportive of the process we went through in making our decisions.

“The trustee anticipates shortly starting the process of formally introducing the new deficit contribution regime.”