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The Centre for Pension Law was established for a five-year period as of 1 January 2008. The objective of the Centre is during that time period to develop legal studies research within key areas of pension law.
The pension system comprises several different pension sources:
- Public minimum security (state retirement benefits, social security)
- Supplementary occupational pension schemes (labour market pensions)
- Individual pension schemes, including capital and premium capital pensions
These three elements make up the three pillars of pension law. Despite their fundamental societal significance, the legal regulation of these schemes has not produced very much independent legal research, not in Denmark and not in the other Nordic countries with which it is most natural to compare Denmark.
The topics which the Centre for Pension Law is considering or planning to examine include:
- In terms of contract law, the legal basis of individual schemes can be called into question (in particular the collective and company-based schemes). This also gives rise to questions on how to bring about changes to the schemes on the basis of contract law as well as questions on the legal position of people placed at the wrong organisational level.
- In terms of constitutional law, there are questions regarding the frameworks that govern legislative powers if legislation is to apply retrospectively to payments into individual and occupational pension schemes. The question regarding the limits of the legislators' ability to implement changes in the public pension schemes for current as well as future pensioners is a crucial theme in the limitation of the state's ability to implement welfare norms.
- In terms of labour law, security for old age and disability is a classic element of employment contracts and collective agreements. This brings up, among other things, questions about what mandates the parties behind the collective agreements that have established pensions schemes have to implement changes that impact the individual insured person.
- In terms of social law, basic social security is what is offered via state retirement benefits, ATP and early retirement benefits - in general and tax-financed. This subsequently produces fundamental questions regarding the limits of these pensions and how they are related to the contract-based pension systems, including occupational pensions.
- In terms of personal data law, a variety of issues can be highlighted regarding the utilisation of personal data that forms the basis for the administration of these schemes. The problem arises chiefly for schemes administered by pension institutions that are part of a group comprising other financial enterprises.
- In terms of supervision law, there are problems with the supervision by public authorities to which the pension schemes are subject. This problem touches upon administrative law as well as EU law.
- In terms of tax law, problems of a national and international nature arise regarding the taxation of payments that take place according to the pension schemes as well as regarding the tax deductions that form the basis for the payments into the schemes. In this context, the interaction between national taxation regulations and EU regulations on free movement poses a special problem.
- In terms of family property law, there are questions as to whether the assets contained in the pension schemes should be treated in connection with inheritance and division of matrimonial property.