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Supreme Court rules on landmark legal battle over same-sex pension rights

Last week, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favour of a gay man who had been fighting to ensure that his husband receives the same pension rights as a wife would normally receive.

Former Calvary Officer John Walker successfully argued that his husband should be allowed to get payments from his pension in the event of his death.  Some pension schemes do not allow a husband to inherit from a wife’s pension yet a wife can inherit from her deceased husband’s pension. In light of the landmark decision in the case of ex-cavalry officer John Walker it is now expected that the floodgates for millions of pounds worth of claims will now have been opened.

The decision made in this case will not only open the doors of the courts for financial claims by gay couples but also the widowers of wives who have accumulated a pension pot.

This is a pivotal change in the way gay couples rights to their deceased other half’s pensions has been viewed upon to date.  Previously gay couples were only entitled to such share of their deceased partner’s pension savings that had been paid in after the civil unions were introduced in 2005.

For the spouse of Mr Walker - provided the parties are still married when Mr Walker passes away - he will now receive the right to the full pension making a huge difference to the income that it will generate for him compared to what he would have received prior to this ruling.  

We at Davisons can advise and assist on all queries surrounding civil unions and divorce and financial settlements arising from the same. Whilst we recognise that civil unions have been around for a number of years now, there are still many questions and concerns that the parties considering entering onto these or those who have entered into the same have.  

Financial implications of entering into a civil union/marriage and the same coming to an end are real concerns which we can assist with.

For more information please contact Nesheela Nazir, Head of Matrimonial, on 0121 685 1234 or email

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