Permission for Judicial Review on equalisation of women’s pensions granted by the High Court

The High Court has granted the claimants permission for judicial review in the case of Robinson & Others v Secretary of State for Work & Pensions CO/3174/2018. The review is of matters arising from the government policy of equalisation of women and women’s pension ages, and the impact of those changes on women born in the 1950s.

The application for review has been granted following a two hour permission hearing in which arguments were advanced that the taper mechanism used to raise the date on which women receive state pension, in combination with a failure to properly inform women of the changes was unlawful because it discriminates on grounds of sex, age and sex combined and age. The Court agreed to grant leave despite arguments by the government that the challenge is many years out of date, because it is a challenge to legislation passed in 1995. The Court accepted that the acts complained of were in the nature of continuing acts so that a claim could be brought within time even in 2018.

The granting of permission means that there will now be a full hearing. The hearing will allow a detailed examination of complaints made by made by women born in the 1950s, and championed and supported by campaign group #backto60.

The case raises legal questions about sex and age discrimination in the mechanisms chosen by the Government to implement a policy; the responsibility of the Government to inform people of significant changes to State Pension entitlement and of the applicability of the EU directive on Equal Treatment in Social Security provision. A full hearing is expected in early 2019.

Catherine Rayner was instructed for the claimants by Marcia Willis Stewart of Birnberg Peirce and was led by Michael Mansfield QC.

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