Calum Mulderrig succeeds in obtaining a third-party debt order and indemnity costs

Calum Mulderrig, instructed by Ian Gatt QC, Harry Spendlove, Beata Moskova and Ollie Ingham of Stewarts, has succeeded in obtaining a third-party debt order over pension assets held on trust, together with an indemnity costs order against the pension trustee. Calum acted for the Applicant.

On 11 July 2022, the High Court (HHJ Paul Matthews (sitting as High Court Judge)) handed down a judgment which considered the rights of creditors to obtain third-party debt orders over pension assets held on trust for debtors.

The High Court accepted the Applicant’s submissions, and followed the jurisdiction created in Blight v Brewster [2012] 1 WLR 2841, and the more recent decision in Bacci v Green [2022] EWHC 486 (Ch), by granting an injunction requiring the Respondent (a pension beneficiary) to draw down his pension so that a third-party debt order could bite on those assets and satisfy an underlying judgment debt owed by the Respondent to the Applicant. The judgment sheds further light on a relatively novel area of the law on debt recovery.

A further unusual feature of the case was the High Court’s separate judgment on 20 July 2022 awarding indemnity costs against the third-party trustee of the pension assets. HHJ Paul Matthews accepted the Applicant’s submissions that this was an appropriate case for indemnity costs and concluded that he was “entirely satisfied that the conduct of the third party in these applications has been “out of the norm”…”, including because of the third party’s coordination with the Respondent to oppose the application.

The injunction and third-party debt order judgment can be found here.

The consequentials judgment addressing indemnity costs can be found here.

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