The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is closing complaints regarding the changes in women's state pension age, due to a judicial review being granted in this matter.
In a letter to one of the complainants, seen by FTAdviser, the DWP's Independent Case Examiner’s (ICE) Office stated: "Since it is not within the ICE remit to consider issues which are, or have been, subject to legal proceedings we are no longer in a position to proceed with the investigation of your complaint.
"As a result, I’m writing to inform you that your complaint with this office has been closed."
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has a two-tier process for formal complaints, which means once a complainant has exhausted the DWP process they are signposted to the ICE.
The ICE has been handling complaints about the increase of the women's state pension age to 65, which had led to the creation of the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) and Backto60 campaigns.
As FTAdviser reported in November, only a dozen of these cases had been accepted by the ICE in the last seven months, due to a backlog in the system, as they received thousands of grievances made by these women.
Last Friday (November 30), it was revealed that Backto60 has been granted permission to file a judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice.
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.
Both Backto60 and Waspi claim 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 claim 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.
This article has been amended to reflect that the file closures relate to complaints handled by ICE.