Waspi campaign prepares for legal challenge

Waspi campaign prepares for legal challenge

The Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign has hired a lawyer in preparation to launch a legal challenge to the government's changes to women's state pension age.

The "Official Waspi campaign" - the more hardline of the two Waspi factions - announced its appointment of law firm Bindman's via Twitter yesterday (13 October).

"Bindmans is a leading London law firm, which has achieved success in many equality and discrimination cases and also in representing the Equitable Life pensioners," the Waspi team said in a statement.

The statement went on to say that Bindmans had told the campaign there were two possible legal routes it could take.

The first was a judicial review of the legality of the changes made to the state pension age; the second was "maladministration complaints" against the "wholly inadequate information given by the Department for Work & Pensions regarding these changes".

The campaign team said it would open a page with Crowdjustice - a crowdfunding website specifically for fundraising for legal cases - in a week's time, and urged supporters "to spread the word as far and as wide as you can between now and then ready to get everyone donating".

"The best legal advice is not cheap and a large amount of money needs to be raised. The initial fundraising will allow us to take the best legal advice on a judicial review challenge at the same time as preparing materials to assist with maladministration complaints," the campaign team stated.

The announcement came on the same day that John Cridland released his state pension age review interim report.

The report listed adequate communication of any changes to state pension age as a priority, in an apparent recognition of inadequate communication of past changes - which has been one the Waspi campaign's chief complaints.

Many women affected by the increase in the state pension age for women assumed they would receive a state pension aged 60 and planned accordingly - only to discover when they reached that age they were not eligible.

In her response to Cridland's interim report, former pensions minister Baroness Ros Altmann said the issues facing women showed simply raising the state pension age was "not the best way to control state pension costs." 

In August the Waspi campaign split into two factions, with the more hardline faction taking control of the official campaign in what the other faction described as a "military-style coup"

The members of the less hardline faction launched their own Facebook page, entitle "Waspi Voice", at the end of August.

Apart from an amendment to 2011 legislation that reduced the extension of the pension age for some women from two years to 18 months, the government has consistently refused to meet the Waspi campaign's demands.

Incoming pensions minister Richard Harrington reaffirmed this stance on 19 September, saying: “I’d like to make it very clear that the government will be making no further changes in this field."