Swallow v HM Revenue and Customs and the Cabinet Office

16 Apr 2010

Elisa Holmes has successfully defended an appeal from a decision of the Pensions Ombudsman in relation to the Public Service Pension Scheme.  The case concerned a wide-reaching point of principle in relation to early retirement sickness benefits.

Mrs Swallow after suffering with ‘Anxiety Neurosis’ (panic attacks) was dismissed from her position as an Executive Officer at Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs on 30 April 1993, on grounds of gross misconduct arising from her continued failure to act on instructions to attend a number of psychiatrist’s appointments.

Mrs Swallow, when applying to release deferred pension benefits, failed due to her lack of disclosure when completing the necessary medical consent forms.  When the benefits were finally granted in 2002, payments were not back dated to the time of her dismissal.

In the judgment, Morgan J commented that Elisa “provided considerable assistance to the court. In the best traditions of the Bar, in view of the fact that Mrs Swallow did not have legal assistance, Ms Holmes dealt fairly with all the matters arising. I am grateful to the Defendants’ solicitors and to counsel for all of the assistance they gave me”.

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