The court held that the obligation in the rule to establish that the surviving cohabitant had been in a long-term relationship with the deceased was independent of the nomination procedure, ultimately finding that there was no rational connection between the objective and the imposition of the nomination requirement and declaring that the requirement should be disapplied.
The judge in Langford v Secretary of State for Defence pointed out that he had been dealing with a single case which was decided on its own particular facts.
He said that he would not exclude the possibility that, in other cases including other public service schemes, it might be possible, on the evidence, for a similar scheme rule to be found to be justified and proportionate.
While the cases illustrate a growing trend by claimants to test discriminatory rules, each case turns on its own facts.
It would be for members of other public service schemes to bring claims if they wanted to test whether similar discriminatory rules in their respective schemes could be objectively justified.
Christopher Nuttall is head of pensions at Hewitsons