26 April 2015

Local Government Pension Scheme: 85-Year Rule is Age Discrimination

October 11, 2006

The Local Government Pension Scheme contained an 85-year rule. This allowed members to draw an unreduced pension at retirement if the combined total of their age and their years of pensionable service exceeded 85 years.

The government decided to remove this rule with effect from 1 October 2006, first because the rule offended age discrimination legislation, and second because the continued cost of providing this benefit was no longer viable. The Government included transitional provisions to give current members protection of rights accrued to April 2008 and taper relief for those who turn 60 before April 2020.

UNISON applied to have the decision judicially reviewed on the basis that the 85-year rule was not discriminatory or that alternatively it could be objectively justified.

In rejecting the application the High Court found that the 85-year rule was discriminatory on the grounds of age. The government had acted reasonably in concluding that the rule could not be justified, and in adopting transitional provisions.

The decision is an important first decision on the new age discrimination regime.

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