Two claimants, Julie Delve and Karen Glynn, sued the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) arguing that raising the pension age “unlawfully discriminated against them on the grounds of age, sex, and age and sex combined.”
The claimants are women born in the 1950s who are affected by legislation implemented between 1995 and 2014, which raised the pension age and made it the same for men and women.
The women argue that although the legislation was intended to equalize pensions for both men and women, it exacerbated women’s inequality. They also argue that women were given inadequate notice of the changes which was procedurally unfair.
However, the claim has been dismissed on all grounds. Lord Justice Irwin and Mrs. Justice Whipple, the presiding judges on the case said that the court’s hands were tied from a legal perspective and the issue had to be resolved through legislation. “We are saddened by the stories we read in the evidence lodged by the claimants,” said the justices in their ruling. “But our role as judges in this case is limited. The wider issues raised by the claimants, about whether these choices were right or wrong or good or bad, are not for us; they are for members of the public and their elected representatives.” Campaign group BackTo60, which was created by the women said they would appeal the decision.
“We are deeply disappointed by this decision,” said Marcia Willis Stewart of Birnberg Peirce, which represented the claimants. Stewart told The Guardian that the purpose of the “arduous legal process” was “to rectify a substantial and far-reaching injustice.”The ruling was also criticized by UNISON, the UK’s largest trade union.
“This is a terrible blow for the millions of women who will have been hoping for a very different outcome,” UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said in a statement. “It seems perverse that the Department for Work and Pensions had no obligation to inform these women of this significant change. But despite today’s decision women born in the 1950s will not give up their campaign to get back what they are rightly owed.”
High Court Rules Guaranteed Minimum Pensions Gender Biased
UK Issues Guaranteed Minimum Pensions Conversion Guidance