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Judicial pensions

Leigh Day is instructed by about 230 younger judges in relation to claims for, amongst other things, direct age discrimination, as a result of changes made to judicial pensions that came into effect in April 2015. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) introduced changes in April 2015 to judges’ pensions such that younger judges born after 1 April 1957 were required to leave the Judicial Pension Scheme (JPS) and instead were offered membership of a less beneficial pension scheme, the New Judicial Pension Scheme (NJPS). 

There were also some tapering provisions to allow judges born after 1 April 1957 but before 1 September 1960 additional time after 1 April 2015 to accrue benefits in the JPS prior to being moved to the NJPS.  We are bringing age discrimination claims on behalf of those younger judges as they have been treated less favourably in respect of their pension entitlements, which are simply deferred pay, purely because of their age. 

The MoJ accepts that the group has been treated less favourably, but it considers that its actions can be objectively justified.  We pursued claims in the Employment Tribunal which were successful and the MoJ appealed the Employment Tribunal decision. 

The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the Employment Tribunal’s decision , but the MoJ has appealed again, and an appeal hearing is listed to be heard in the Court of Appeal in November 2018. 
 
We are acting in this litigation for:
  1.  younger salaried judges who were unable to continue to accrue benefits in the JPS from 1 April 2015;
  2. younger salaried judges who had some tapering protection but were unable to continue to accrue benefits in the JPS  from a date after 1 April 2015;
  3. younger fee-paid judges, who were not permitted to continue to accrue benefits in the Fee Paid Judicial Pension Scheme for any years of service after 1 April 2015, again, purely because they were younger;
  4. a number of younger judges who were fee-paid before 1 April 2012 and became salaried before 1 April 2015, who accrued some pensionable service in respect of their salaried appointment in the JPS before 1 April 2015 but were unable to continue to accrue benefits in the JPS from 1 April 2015 because they were younger;
  5. a number of younger judges who were fee-paid before 1 April 2012 and became salaried on or after 1 April 2015, who would have accrued pensionable service in respect of their salaried appointment in the JPS had they been older, but instead are accruing pensionable service in respect of their salaried appointment in the NJPS, again, purely because they were younger. 
 
We are still taking on new claimants in this litigation.  If you are a salaried or a fee-paid judge and would like to discuss whether you might have a potential discrimination claim, please contact Shubha Banerjee in the first instance – sbanerjee@leighday.co.uk
 
Leigh Day is also acting for about 140 fee-paid or former fee-paid judges in their claims for part-time worker discrimination contrary to the Part Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 (PTWR), also known as ‘O’Brien claims’.  Historically, full-time salaried judges were entitled to a judicial pension upon retirement, but fee-paid part time judges were not.  Claims were pursued for a breach of the PTWR, and it was ultimately held by the Supreme Court in February 2013 that the failure to offer fee-paid part-time judges an entitlement to a pension did constitute a breach of the PTWR.   

 In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, the MoJ set up the Fee Paid Judicial Pension Scheme, in which many existing and former fee-paid judges are now accruing pensionable service.  Claims for a breach of the PTWR were also pursued in respect of a number of pay elements that salaried full-time judges received (such as London Weighting, a full day’s pay for each day of training, and, in some jurisdictions, paid time for judgment writing) which fee-paid judges did not receive.  Many of these were successful and a number of fee-paid/former fee-paid judges have received compensation for the failure to make these payments as well as the failure to pay a pension. 

The litigation is still ongoing for some judge claimants whose claims were lodged more than three months after the end of the fee-paid service about which they are complaining, as well as in respect of those judge claimants who have years of fee-paid service pre April 2000. 

This was when the Part Time Workers Directive was due to be transposed into UK law, and the MoJ is arguing that years of service pre April 2000 should not count towards the calculation of individuals’ pension entitlements because those pre-dated the introduction of the PTWR. 
 
If you would like to discuss whether you might have a potential claim, please contact Sam Velody in the first instance – svelody@leighday.co.uk

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