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O'Brien v MOJ - Part-Time Judges

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 Thanks to Sheryn Omeri of Cloisters for preparing this case summary

How should the pension of fee paid (ie part-time) judicial officers be calculated?

According to a number of straightforward principles, holds the employment tribunal in the important case of O'Brien v MOJ.

The Supreme Court had previously held that Mr O'Brien, a retired Recorder, was entitled to a pension on terms equivalent to those applicable to a circuit judge, pursuant to the Part Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000. It remitted the case to the employment tribunal to determine the principles upon which the quantum of that pension entitlement must be calculated to ensure equivalence.

The tribunal held that Mr O'Brien was entitled to a pension calculated from the start of his service in 1978 even though this pre-dated the commencement of the Regulations, and to an award of compensation that included an 'interest-like sum' in addition to the payment of arrears of pension and lump sum. The multiplicand for the purposes of computing Mr O'Brien's pension entitlement was to be determined by multiplying the salary of a full-time circuit judge as at the date of Mr O'Brien's retirement by a factor which equalled the total number of days on which he sat throughout his career divided by 210, and dividing the result by the length of his service.

This decision will, subject to any appeal, bind the Ministry of Justice with respect to all part-time judges - including fee-paid employment tribunal judges, recorders, deputy district judges and deputy High Court judges.