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Teachers follow judges in pensions dispute challenge

Publish date: 23 January 2020
Issue Number: 693
Diary: Legalbrief Forensic
Category: Employment

A human rights firm that successfully defeated the government in a pensions dispute involving more than 200 judges is now advising hundreds of teachers in a similar challenge. According to a Law Gazette report, Leigh Day is representing 300 teachers who allege that discriminatory changes were made to their pensions and have begun issuing proceedings in the employment tribunal. The firm said last week that the claim related to government changes to teachers' pensions in 2015, when most teachers were moved from final salary to career average schemes. Older teachers within 10 years of retirement were protected from the changes, but younger teachers were not offered the same protection. Leigh Day said the courts have already found that making the changes in this way constituted unlawful age discrimination in relation to similar changes made to judges' and police pensions. Nigel Mackay, a partner at the firm, said: 'Despite eventually accepting defeat in relation to our clients who are judges and police officers, the government has made no promise to remedy the discriminatory changes it made to other public sector pensions schemes, which have had a substantial financial impact on hard working people, including teachers and doctors. We have started issuing claims on behalf of the growing group of teachers that we represent and we believe thousands more could bring a legal claim.’ The first hearing is likely to be held this spring, the report notes.

Full Law Gazette report