Blackstone seals Government victory in age discrimination case

Blackstone seals Government victory in age discrimination caseBlackstone Chambers has won a key age discrimination ruling for the Government in the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The ECJ has ruled that employees aged 65 or over can legally be forced into retirement. The dispute between Heyday, a part of charity Age Concern, and the Government will affect more than a million people already past retirement age.

Andrew Lockley (pictured), a partner at Irwin Mitchell acting for Heyday, said: “This is a very important decision for anyone who is approaching the current retirement age, many of whom still feel they have a lot to offer and want to continue working. The law needed clarification, as neither employers nor older employees knew where they stood.”

He added: “The decision of the ECJ will guide the High Court when it comes to consider whether the UK Government can justify the default retirement age of 65.”

In July 2006, Heyday applied for a judicial review into 2006 age discrimination regulations on the grounds that they breach the UK’s obligations under the 2000 Framework Directive.

The challenge focused on the provision that employees aged 65 or over who are forcibly retired cannot claim that their dismissal is unlawful age discrimination. The High Court referred the case to the ECJ.

Cloisters head of chambers Robin Allen QC led Declan O’Dempsey, also of Cloisters, for Heyday. The pair were instructed by Irwin Mitchell on behalf of Heyday.

Blackstone silk Dinah Rose QC acted for the UK Government, instructed by the Treasury solicitors.

For more on Heyday, see our special report, or read our age discrimination special report.