17 September 2020 #Employment
The Court of Appeal (“CoA”) has confirmed that the decision to raise the state pension age for women, to match that of men, does not amount to unlawful discrimination, under either EU law or the Human Rights Convention.
Two members of the campaign group BackTo60 lost their claim against the Department for Work and Pensions last year. Under Pension legislation the two claimants have had their state pension age increased to 66. They appealed the decision and this week all three appeal Justices unanimously dismissing the appeal.
Key to the women’s argument was their suggestion they were being indirectly discriminated against compared with men of a similar age as a higher proportion of women at the age of 60 need the state pension to pay for basic living costs. This argument was dismissed as the Justices could not find a causal link between the alleged disadvantage suffered by the women and the characteristics of age and gender.
The CoA also agreed with the High Court that, in any event, the increase was objectively justified: in order to reflect changing demographics, life expectancy and social conditions. Finally, the CoA rejected the argument that the Department for Work and Pensions was under a legal obligation to sufficiently notify individuals to the change to their pension age. Acknowledging that some women did not realise that the changes to legislation affected them, the notification was not inadequate or unreasonable. The women have said they will fight on.