Bloxham decision puts paid to Freshfields claim

The last age discrimination claim against Freshfields has been withdrawn after the firm’s victory against former partner Peter Bloxham.

The last age discrimination claim that Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was due to face this year has been withdrawn after the firm’s victory against former insolvency partner Peter Bloxham.

Former Freshfields corporate partner Lois Moore, now at Shearman & Sterling, withdrew her claim on 5 November.

Moore said: “I made the claim in order to protect my position and in the belief that, as subsequently vindicated by the Bloxham decision, the significant reduction in my pension when I left the firm aged 54 was discriminatory on the grounds of age.”

Moore’s decision comes three weeks after a judgment on Bloxham’s £4.5m age discrimination claim found unanimously for Freshfields.

Moore continued: “The Bloxham decision has provided helpful guidance in this new and untested area of law and, in light of the tribunal’s finding that, although discriminatory, Freshfields’ approach was in the end justified for the purposes of the age discrimination legislation, the appropriate course is, I believe, to withdraw my application.”

Freshfields confirmed it would pursue costs against Bloxham of at least £100,000. However, insiders said costs could be as high as £1m.

A Freshfields source told The Lawyer that if Moore had decided to press her case Freshfields would have also pursued costs against her.

Both Moore and Bloxham retired from Freshfields’ equity last year after controversial reforms scrapped the firm’s unfunded pension scheme.

Bloxham has until 20 November to appeal. His lawyers, Dawsons Solicitors, said Freshfields’ costs application is “wholly misconceived” and is an attempt to pressure its client not to appeal.

Fellow retiree and banking star David Ereira also withdrew his claim earlier this year. Meanwhile, former disputes head Jo Rickard, also now at Shearman, is still in arbitration with Freshfields over her pension’s restrictive covenant.