A few days ago, I thought I had written my last piece in relation to the Saga concerning Sir Fred Goodwin’s pension. However, MPs from the Labour Party are so consumed with indignation and resentment that they are still looking for ways to stop him getting it.
The latest idea is that his assets should be frozen using counter-terrorist legislation, namely the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 allows the government to seize assets from individuals or organisations it believes have acted in a way that is detrimental to the UK economy.
I wonder how many of those MPs are lawyers. If they are, I have no doubt that they will have thought of ways that Sir Fred can fight the case. In my opinion, the case would be thrown out as an abuse of process and an infringement on Human rights. Do Labour MPs want to risk making their party look even more stupid?
Article 1 of the first Protocol of the convention on Human Rights says:
“Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law
The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of the State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.”
Note the exception to Article 1, which is the Public Interest. Public Interest has to be balanced and the most powerful point in that balance is the integrity of contract law. Sir Fred’s pension was negotiated as a binding contract under the law of contract. To ignore Article 1 on public interest grounds would create a legal “earthquake”.
The only way that Sir Fred’s pension can be taken from him is through retro-active leglislation. That would also create a dangerous precedent. From my knowledge of constitutional law, that has not happened for more than 40 years when the Labour Government under Harold Wilson used retro-active legislation to overturn a court ruling that went against the Government [Burmagh Oil v Lord Advocate (1965)]
It is time for MPs to apply their energy to tasks which are more effective. At the same time, we cant ignore the fact that the Labour Government generated this mess.
Filed under: Economy, Labour Party, Lord Myners, Property, Sir Fred Goodwin | Tagged: Business and Enterprise, Conservative Party, Economy, Financial Services, Labour Party, Lord Myners, Property, Sir Fred Goodwin | 2 Comments »