Age should be no barrier

Regarding the front page headline about judges being forced to retire at 70 (The Lawyer April 4). Nowadays a lawyer seeking alternative employment over 35 (if male) or 30 (if female) is considered too expensive and/or brain dead.

A friend told me of her interview experience with a large City solicitors firm. She carefully omitted to make any mention of age, only too well aware of age discrimination which is a bar to otherwise suitable candidates. When the conversation turned to her age, the interviewing partner’s expression changed from genuine interest to shocked horror and the interview came to an abrupt end. I am sure this is not unique.

US legislation protects a prospective employee from discrimination on grounds of age.

In the UK, the Institute of Personnel and Development has published a statement which urges employers to develop recruitment and career policies which do not discriminate on such grounds. It says: “Employment decisions based on age are never justifiable, are based on fallible suppositions and lead to the ineffective use of human resources.”

The Department of Employment has also issued advice to those seen as too old for the job.

My heart bleeds for the judges. It bleeds more for those who are denied the opportunity of putting their skills and experience to good use from the age of thirty-something.

Hannah Charitonski

Totteridge N20 8HD.