Protection of Accrued Pension Rights - An Inquiry into Reforms of Statutory and Occupational Pension Schemes in a German, Norwegian and Swedish Context

University dissertation from Juristförlaget i Lund , Box 207, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: How is the conflict between a protection of accrued pension rights and economic, political and social interests in reforming the pension scheme resolved in different countries and regarding different kinds of pension schemes? What legal or political mechanisms exist to protect accrued pension rights and to resolve this conflict? This thesis takes a comprehensive view on the pension situation of the individual, thus dealing both with statutory and occupational pension schemes from a protection of accrued rights-perspective. The research provides an extensive survey of legal as well as political solutions to the protection of accrued rights and its conflict with different interests to reform the pension schemes in the respective countries under investigation as well as under the European Convention of Human Rights. The thesis has two main parts. The first part deals with statutory pensions and the focus in this part is on constitutional law and the legal institutions of property and legitimate expectations. The second part dealing with occupational and company pension schemes concentrates on contractual protection but the concept of legitimate expectations is of great importance also in this part. The in depth survey and analysis of the protection of accrued pension rights carried out in the two first parts of the thesis form an important and substantial part of the purpose with this research. In the third part of the thesis however the results of the first two parts are levitated to a more abstract level. The different solutions to the conflict between the interests to protect and the interests to reform are analysed in their societal and normative contexts. The public and constitutional law protections are compared with the private law protections in order to illustrate the difficulty in upholding the strict division between private law and public law in present society. By dissolving this division, solutions to the conflict between a protection of accrued pension rights and different interests to reform the pension schemes can be resolved on the basis of the actual content of these schemes instead of according to the legal dogmatic sys- tematisation of law.

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