Pensions and discrimination—beginners’ guide
Produced in partnership with Wyn Derbyshire of gunnercooke LLP
Pensions and discrimination—beginners’ guide

The following Pensions practice note produced in partnership with Wyn Derbyshire of gunnercooke LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Pensions and discrimination—beginners’ guide
  • Development of anti-discrimination law in the pensions arena
  • The Barber and Coloroll cases
  • Equalisation
  • The issue of bridging pensions
  • The issue of offsets
  • Equal access and discrimination
  • Equal Treatment Directive and the Equality Act 2010

This guide is primarily aimed at trainees, newly qualified lawyers and other persons who are new to or unfamiliar with pensions law.

This guide discusses discrimination primarily in the context of occupational pension schemes.

This guide contains references to case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Broadly, EU judgments handed down on or before 31 December 2020 continue to be binding on UK courts and tribunals (even if the EU courts later depart from them) until the UK courts exercise their powers to diverge. For the most part, EU case law made after that date is not binding on the UK, although the UK courts and tribunals may continue to ‘have regard to’ EU judgments if relevant. For more detailed information on the treatment of EU case law, see Practice Note: Introduction to retained EU law.

Development of anti-discrimination law in the pensions arena

Illegal discrimination of various types has posed major legal and administrative issues within the arena of occupational pension schemes for decades.

Perhaps the most famous development was the landmark ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Barber case made on 17 May 1990 (one of the most famous dates in UK pensions law history), in which the ECJ declared that pensions constitute a form of deferred pay, and that consequently the operation of schemes on the basis of

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