The Lord Chancellor took the fight over judges’ pension reforms to the Court of Appeal, days after announcing a 2% pay rise for judges.
Two years ago 226 judges, including six High Court judges who now sit on the Court of Appeal, brought claims for age discrimination, race discrimination and equal pay at an employment tribunal over changes to their pension entitlement.
The tribunal found in favour of the judges, ruling in January 2017 that the Ministry of Justice and the Lord Chancellor had discriminated against younger judges by requiring them to leave the judicial pension scheme in April 2015 while allowing older judges to remain in the scheme.
The government appealed against the ruling but the Employment Appeals Tribunal dismissed the case in January 2018.
The case was heard by Lord Justice Longmore, Sir Colin Rimer and Sir Patrick Elias, who have no vested interest in the outcome. The judgment is expected next year, and if the Court of Appeal upholds the previous decision it could land the Ministry of Justice with a bill of £70m to £100m.
The week before the case, the Lord Chancellor, David Gauke announced that judges would receive a 2% pay rise – well below the 32% recommended by the Senior Salaries Review Body for High Court judges, 22% for circuit judges and 8% for district judges.
Gauke said: ‘Our independent judiciary is the cornerstone of the rule of law, and effective remuneration is critical to the continued attraction and retention of high calibre judges.’