Law firm to challenge ‘less favourable’ pensions for doctors and teachers

27 Aug 19

Doctors and teachers will launch a legal challenge against the government following a landmark public sector pensions ruling, a law firm has said.

More public sector workers are entitled to take legal action after a successful challenge by judges and firefighters saw the government forced to concede that 2015 pension reforms were unlawful.

Law firm Leigh Day said that the landmark McCloud judgment, which found the pension reforms to be discriminatory based on age, “persist across the public sector” and explained it is preparing a claim on behalf of teachers and doctors. 

Judges and firefighters who were more than 10 years away from retirement were moved to a less favourable scheme in 2015 – a move that was later deemed unlawful. But Leigh Day said the same has happened for teachers and doctors.

Nigel Mackay, partner at Leigh Day, said: “We believe the government is short-changing hundreds of thousands of hard-working doctors and teachers.

“As a result of the Supreme Court ruling in June the government has ran out of options in relation to those judges and firefighters who have brought claims.

“However, it has not made any commitments to remedy the issue for any judges or firefighters who have not brought claims, or any other public sector workers, including doctors or teachers, that have been affected by the same changes to their pension policy.”

The firm said that without a legal challenge there is “no guarantee” that the government will compensate public sector workers for past discrimination.

Chaand Nagpaul, council chair of the British Medical Association, said earlier this month that although doctors’ pension schemes were different “the underlying principles are essentially the same”.

“We want to bring a challenge on behalf of the UK’s younger doctors regarding the legality of the 2015 NHS pension scheme,” he added.

The Treasury has been approached for a response.

Former chief secretary to the Treasury estimated earlier in the year that an adverse ruling in the legal battle would cost the Treasury £4bn.

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