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The Administrative Court (Whipple J) has refused permission to seek judicial review of a second warning notice issued by the Pensions Regulator, leaving the claimants to their alternative remedy within the regulator’s statutory process.

This judicial review challenge was brought by the targets of proposed regulatory action. They argued that (1) the Pensions Regulator had no power to maintain parallel warning notices proposing the same regulatory action against the same people on the same facts; and (2) if there was the power, it was not lawfully exercised on the facts.

The Court held that the claimants could pursue these points within the Pensions Regulator’s own process and so they should not be dealt with by judicial review. On the basis of this ‘alternative remedy’ available to the claimants, permission to seek judicial review was refused. In reaching this conclusion, the Court summarised and applied the ‘exceptional circumstances’ approach to alternative remedy as previously set out in the financial services authorities (see Whipple J’s summary of the case law and principles at [59]).

Michael Fordham QC, Iain Steele and Ajay Ratan acted for the Claimants.

Monica Carss-Frisk QC and Fraser Campbell acted for the third to seventh Interested Parties.

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