Update Regarding DPF Pension Legal Challenges

By DPF Admin7th August 2017August 6th, 2019Area Updates, Circulars, Latest News, Northern Updates, Southern Updates

To All Members

7th August 2017

Circular 31/17

Update Regarding DPF Pension Legal Challenges

This circular is intended to provide an update regarding the current position of both the Judicial Review and Employment Tribunal claims following the pension reforms and introduction of the “alpha” pension scheme.

Judicial Review

As previously outlined, the DPF intended to challenge the Government decision not to include the MDP in the list of eligible employment groups for the Enhanced Effective Pension Age (EEPA) option within the “alpha” pension scheme. Inclusion in the EEPA would allow members to make additional contributions in order to receive an unreduced “alpha” pension at the age of 60.

Following service of the initial Judicial Review (JR) pre-action protocol letter in 2016 the government agreed to review its decision not to make an EEPA available to MDP officers. This review took several months and resulted in the same outcome, the government again refused to allow members of the MDP access to an EEPA within the alpha scheme.

The DPF then commenced JR proceedings again and served the necessary pre-action protocol letters on the government and requested additional information around the review they carried out.

In late June 2017 our legal team received a response from the Government Legal Department which has been considered in great detail by our solicitors and counsel. It is their opinion that the chances of winning the Judicial Review are very slim and recommended that the proceedings should be discontinued.

In line with their recommendations the Judicial Review process will now not be taken forward.

In light of this, as things stand it is very unlikely that MDP officers will have the opportunity to take advantage of the EEPA within the “alpha” pension scheme.

This is disappointing but in no way impacts the Discrimination Employment Tribunal claims which are separate. 

It also does not impact the employer funded Effective Pension Age (EPA) option of an unreduced alpha pension at 65 or 3 years below state pension age whichever is higher which was agreed as part of TACoS and is currently in the process of being implemented.

Discrimination Employment Tribunal Claims

As outlined in earlier circulars, the DPF lodged 5 age, race and sex discrimination claims on behalf of over 1000 DPF members and they are currently working their way through the Employment Tribunal system.

The Judges and Fire Service have already had similar cases heard with the Judges winning and the Fire service losing their claims. Both are now subject of appeals.

The DPF solicitors have now received notification from the Employment Tribunal that our claims have been “stayed” or put on hold pending the outcome of the Fire Service and Judges appeals. These appeals are expected to be heard in December, it is therefore unlikely that there will be any more progress made with our claims until after that date.

Our legal team did resist this move however the Employment Tribunal can impose a “stay” against our wishes which is what has occurred in this case.

While this delay is not ideal, if we win our case the end result will still be the same and all members will be moved back onto the old schemes back dated to April 15.

Further updates and circulars will be provided as further information becomes available.

Paul Hunter

DPF Pension Sub-committee Chairman

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