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Judges sue over alleged discriminatory pension changes

BY Margaret Anne Soderqvist-Clark
Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

The question of who polices the police has been asked since Roman times. But who judges the judges? Another judge, that’s who! 

Over 200 judges have brought employment tribunal claims against the Lord Chancellor, Liz Truss, in an extraordinary dispute over judicial pensions. The claimants, who count employment judges, sheriffs, immigration judges, district judges and even six English High Court judges amongst their number, allege that Government changes made to judicial pensions in April 2015 are discriminatory.

While pensions for older judges were protected in the change, younger judges have lost out. In recent years the Judicial Appointments Commission has sought to increase the number of female and BME appointments in an effort to increase diversity. However, this strategy means that those who have been disadvantaged include high numbers of young, female and / or BME judges, making the changes potentially discriminatory. The claims are for direct age discrimination, and indirect race and sex discrimination and are being heard over a two week period by an employment judge who is not affected by the issues in dispute.  

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