Victory for part-time judges seeking pensions

07 Feb 2013

O’Brien v Ministry of Justice (Council of Immigration Judges intervening)

6 February 2013

[2013] UKSC 6 (SC No 2)

[2010] UKSC 34; [2010] 4 All E.R. 62 (SC No 1)

[2012] 2 C.M.L.R. 25 (CJEU)

The Supreme Court has delivered judgment in the long-running case about a fee-paid part-time judge seeking a pension in respect of his part-time service.

Following three hearings in the Supreme Court and a hearing in the Court of Justice, the Supreme Court has concluded that the Appellant, a recorder, is entitled to a pension on terms equivalent to those applicable to a circuit judge.

At the third hearing in the Supreme Court, the Government argued that the exclusion from pensions was objectively justified. The Supreme Court held that it was not justified.

The Council of Immigration Judges instructed Ian Rogers to intervene in all three hearings in the Supreme Court and in the Court of Justice. The facts of the case concerned a recorder, but there are over 40 different types of fee-paid part-time judge working in the courts and tribunals and 8,000 are estimated to be affected by the judgment. The intervention by the Council of Immigration Judges ensured that the Court was aware of the broader picture and particularly the position of immigration judges. Approximately 72% of Tribunal work is performed by the fee-paid part-time judiciary.

The Court concluded:-

“Although this case is concerned only with the case of a recorder, it seems unlikely that the Ministry’s argument could be put any higher than it has been.”

Ian Rogers appeared for the Council of Immigration Judges in the Supreme Court and in the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Ian has also drafted claims for a large number of fee paid part-time judges in the Employment Tribunal under the Public Access Scheme. Short time limits apply to such claims.

For the judgment, please click here.