by Daniel Brooksbank | June 23rd, 2017
A UK court has found that government guidance to Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) funds about boycotts, sanctions and divestments relating to foreign and defence policy was unlawful.
The case had been brought by campaign group the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and LGPS member Jacqueline Lewis.
While the government guidance acknowledged that LGPS authorities were entitled to base decisions upon non-financial factors, it barred divestment policies directed “against foreign nations and UK defence industries”, other than where formal legal sanctions had been put in place by the government.
This has now been overturned by Judge Sir Ross Cranston at the Administrative Court at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Cranston, professor of law at the London School of Economics and a former Labour MP, was ruling on guidance from the Department for Communities and Local Government (Guidance on Preparing and Maintaining an Investment Strategy Statement), which came into effect in November 2016. He decided the government unlawfully used powers that are designed for pensions regulation to achieve purposes completely unrelated to pensions.