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Justice for judges

28 July 2010

The Supreme Court has today referred a case against the Ministry of Justice concerning its refusal to grant pensions to thousands of part-time judges to the European Court of Justice.

Employment barristers at Cloisters, instructed by Browne Jacobson, are arguing that retired Recorder (part-time judge) Dermod O’Brien QC should be entitled to a judicial pension on retirement pro rata to the pension of full-time circuit judges. It is alleged that he has been discriminated against and that this is unlawful under European law as set out in the Part-time Workers Directive.

The Ministry of Justice has argued that this discrimination against part-time workers is not prohibited by European law, asserting that neither Mr O’Brien nor any judge “works” for, or is in an employment relationship with, anyone.

Part-time judges are paid pro rata to full time judges and are entitled to all the same benefits such as maternity and sick pay so should they not also receive the same pension’s rights as their full-time colleagues?

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