Ready to go: Former property developer Michael McNamara has been allowed to protect his savings in an Irish pension scheme from creditors after the High Court upheld its own 2020 ruling.

In 2009, McNamara started a company called Simcoe Industries with his wife.

McNamara and his wife moved to London in July 2011 to live and work, and received payments from Simcoe Scheme trustees the following month.

He went bankrupt in 2012 while living in the UK, where pension scheme funds are not available to creditors in the event of bankruptcy.

McNamara’s bankruptcy co-administrators had attempted to reclaim his retirement investments for use in the bankruptcy proceedings, arguing that these were part of his estate.

In 2020, the High Court ruled that the contractor, who had made a significant contribution to the Simcoe scheme before coming to the UK, was entitled to keep his Simcoe benefits on the same law that protected UK pension assets from creditors.

This verdict was later upheld by the European Court of Justice the same year. The ECJ retained its authority over the case during Britain’s Brexit transition period in 2020.

The CJEU said in its ruling that the outcome hinged on whether there was no public interest in having McNamara’s pension funds returned to creditors.

“It’s pretty hard to see why it would succeed,” said Sackers partner James Bingham.

On February 15, 2022, the High Court upheld its judgment.

“Once the CJEU upheld the original decision, it seemed unlikely that the High Court would need to change the original decision,” noted an LCP response to the decision.

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