End of the road: final outcome of Seldon compulsory retirement litigation

The dispute between Mr Seldon and law firm Clarkson Wright & Jakes, goes back to May 2006. At that point, his fellow partners rejected a proposal that would have allowed him to continue working as a consultant or salaried partner for three years beyond the partnership retirement age of 65. On 1 October the same year, the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/1031) came into effect. Seldon automatically ceased to be a partner at the end of 2006 in accordance with the partnership deed.

He began proceedings in the employment tribunal in March 2007. The scheme of the regulations, now substantially re-enacted in the Equality Act 2010, outlawed all forms of age discrimination against individuals in a work context, subject to a justification defence and a number of specific exceptions. The most significant of these was the default retirement age. Until its abolition in April 2011, it allowed employers to retire workers compulsorily at the age of 65 without facing claims for age discrimination. There was, however, no analogous exemption for partners…

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