Pensioner has aid for test case

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IVY NEEDHAM, the partially sighted Maxwell pensioner, has won legal aid to pursue her case against the Government, in which she is alleging that it did not do enough to protect the interests of pensioners defrauded by the late Robert Maxwell.

She is to bring the action in the High Court on the basis that the Government has not complied with a European Commission directive, which calls on domestic governments to protect the interests of employees of companies that have become insolvent.

The action is intended to be a test case for all 17,000 Maxwell pensioners - a number that is falling, as nearly 1,000 pensioners have died since the Maxwell empire collapsed at the end of 1991.