UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

East Sussex Pensions Fund intends no action in response to letter from UN Special Rapporteur

The Chair of the East Sussex Pension Fund Committee has confirmed that the Fund has not taken any action in response to a letter sent by a UN Special Rapporteur, and does not intend to do so.

Michael Lynk, the UNHRC’s Special Rapporteur “on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967” wrote in November 2021 to Local Government Pension Scheme Funds in England, urging them to divest from all companies on the UNHRC’s “database” of companies allegedly carrying out certain activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem “if the company cannot give a clear assurance that it has removed itself entirely from the settlement economy”.

UKLFI has challenged the legality of Mr Lynk’s interventions.

The East Sussex Pensions Fund provides retirement benefits for employees of Brighton & Hove City Council as well as employees of East Sussex County Council.

Mrs Susan Conway, a UKLFI member and solicitor in Hove, submitted a question to the Chair of the East Sussex Pension Fund Committee, which included the following:

“Can the Chair of the Pension Committee confirm that this Committee is focused on securing the best financial return for the East Sussex pension fund, that it does not take into account non-financial factors unless they satisfy the Law Commission’s test, and that it will disregard the claims in the Special Rapporteur’s letter?”

The response by the Chair of the Pension Committee confirmed that

“the fund only takes into account financial risk factors, and not non-financial factors motivated by other concerns … unless the Fund can prove that the legal test is satisfied – in that there is no risk of significant financial detriment to the Fund and that the Committee have good reason to think that the scheme members share the concern. The Pension Committee and Fund have not taken any action in response to the letter sent by a Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council on this matter and at this time does not intend to do so.”

The full question and answer are available HERE

UKLFI Chief Executive, Jonathan Turner, said: “We are glad to see that Mr Lynk’s illegitimate interference in the management of English pension funds does not appear to have gained any traction.”