State Pension  

Government faces judicial review over state pension age

Government faces judicial review over state pension age

Backto60, a group supporting women affected by an increase in the state pension age, has been granted permission to file a judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Marcia Wills-Stewart, senior partner at law firm Birnberg Peirce, told FTAdviser that a judge granted this permission at an oral hearing today, after the court had previously refused this request in writing.

"This is a big step in our journey," she said.

A judicial review is a court proceeding in which a judge considers the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body. It can't be filed directly; the court needs to be asked for permission first.

Backto60, which claims to have 738,000 supporters, is being supported by a legal team led by renowned civil rights barrister Michael Mansfield.

The group is requesting the state pension age should be returned to 60 for women born in the 1950s, but such a decision would cost £77bn and has previously been dismissed by the government.

FTAdviser reported in September that an academic is claiming the government's chosen mechanism to increase the state pension age for women could have breached the UK's international legal obligations under the United Nations women equalities treaty.

Jackie Jones, law professor at the University of the West England, said there could be legal grounds for the state pension age hike for women to be removed and for full restitution.

Backto60, along with other campaign groups like Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi), are arguing against the perceived inequality and unfair treatment of women born in the 1950s who have experienced changes to their state pension age.

The groups claim that when the 1995 Conservative government's Pension Act included plans to increase the women's state pension age to 65 – the same as men's – the changes were implemented unfairly, with little or no personal notice.

The movements also claimed the changes were implemented faster than promised with the 2011 Pension Act, and had left women with no time to make alternative plans, leading to devastating consequences.