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Part-time workers

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Summary: No discrimination where circuit judges denied access to more favourable pension scheme.

In Clayson and others v Ministry of Justice, the Claimants were circuit judges appointed after 31 March 1995. They were former part-time fee-paid recorders. In this role, they had been granted a pension on Judicial Pensions Act 1981 (JPA) terms following O’Brien v Ministry of Justice. This held that part-time recorders were comparable with circuit judges and that, whilst sitting as part-time recorders, they had been treated less favourably than circuit judges by not receiving a pension.
When they were appointed as circuit judges, they were offered a pension in this role on less favourable terms. They claimed part-time workers discrimination, comparing themselves with circuit judges appointed before 31 March 1995, who were allowed to remain on more favourable JPA scheme terms after that date.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal, agreeing with the employment tribunal, dismissed the Claimants’ claim. The EAT held that the tribunal had been entitled to decide that the cause of the Claimants being denied access to JPA scheme terms after being appointed as circuit judges, while their comparators (appointed as salaried circuit judges before 31 March 1995) were allowed to remain on JPA scheme terms, was not that the Claimants had served part-time as recorders, both before and after 31 March 1995; but rather, that the Claimants were part of a group of judges appointed after 31 March 1995 to a different qualifying judicial office for pension purposes.