No comfort for law firms in age verdict

By Shannon Sweeney

04 July 2014 at 10:45 BST

A managing partner at a law firm has lost his case claiming the fixed age to retire at 65 is discriminatory but law firms cannot take comfort from the ruling.

The EAT ruled that a firm's required retirement age of 65 is sensible and proportionate. emilie zhang

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found that a firm's choice of retirement age to be 65 is sensible and proportionate after Leslie Seldon of Clarkson Wright & Jakes brought a case saying his forced retirement was an act of direct discrimination. The case had reached the Supreme Court, which ruled in favour of the firm's practice. The question asked in the case was whether or not the retirement age could be risen from 65 to something higher, like 68 or 70, which would be less discriminatory. The EAT did not agree with this claim, and said the firm was pursuing legitimate aims when requiring the man to retire at 65.

Difficult to translate

However, Christopher Mordue of Pinsents Masons said on that the employment tribunal's finding would be 'difficult to directly translate' into an ordinary employment relationship, due to the nature of the partnership structure. He said that one of the key factors was that the retirement age had been agreed by all of the partners in their partnership deed, with the partners being in an equal bargaining position with each other. He added that although it would not be impossible for an employer to justify a mandatory retirement age following the decision and that of the Supreme Court, doing so would be 'an onerous task'. The process of justification would have to be evidence led, he said and 'the employer would need to demonstrate very clearly, and in a concrete age is proportionare to achieving that objective...'  Source:; Josiah Hincks Solicitors


Also read...

MoFo trio head to Latham in Tokyo switch

Japan M&A growth spurs trio to move firms as Latham grabs MoFo team.