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Judicial Pensions

Volume 689: debated on Thursday 25 February 2021

I am today publishing the Government response to two consultation documents on judicial pensions which my Department launched, and which I presented to this House, on 16 July 2020:

(i) in “Judicial pensions: proposed response to McCloud” we outlined our proposals for addressing the unlawful age discrimination identified in the McCloud litigation in respect of the 2015 reforms of the judicial pension scheme; and

(ii) in “Proposals for a reformed judicial pension scheme” we set out our plans for reforming the judicial pension scheme with the aim of addressing the serious problems of judicial recruitment and retention that had been identified by the Senior Salaries Review Body.

Both consultations closed to responses on 16 October 2020, and we have taken the time to give very careful thought to the responses we received. We are currently finalising our response to a further consultation on the judicial mandatory retirement age, which we will be publishing in due course.

Addressing the discrimination identified in the McCloud litigation

In our consultation on the McCloud litigation, we sought views on both the scope and shape of our proposals for addressing the discrimination identified in the case, in which it was held that the 2015 judicial pension reforms unlawfully discriminated against younger judges.

In the light of the responses we received, the Government response to the consultation confirms that, subject to parliamentary time and approval of the necessary legislation, the Ministry of Justice will run an options exercise in 2022 for non-claimant judges in scope of McCloud. This will enable eligible judges to choose, retrospectively, whether to have accrued benefits in the 2015 pension scheme or the legacy scheme from 1 April 2015. Membership of the chosen scheme will end when the reformed judicial pension scheme comes into effect, following which all judges will join the new pension scheme.

The response document is available online at:

Reforming the judicial pension scheme

The majority of responses we received to “Proposals for a reformed judicial pension scheme” were positive and acknowledged that our proposed reforms would make a significant contribution to resolving recruitment and retention issues.

In response to some concerns that were raised about our proposal to introduce a uniform member contribution rate, we have decided to give judges the temporary option of reducing their contributions to the scheme in return for a commensurate reduction in the accrual rate.

Save for the addition of this new feature, we will implement the reformed scheme in line with the proposals set out in the consultation document we published last July, subject to the necessary parliamentary approval.

The response document is available online at:

Reform of the judicial pension scheme has been a personal priority of mine as Lord Chancellor, and I am pleased that we are in a position to progress a reform package that will resolve the serious recruitment and retention problems facing the judiciary. It is vital that we continue to attract and retain high-calibre judges, thereby securing the proper functioning of our justice system and supporting the UK’s wider prosperity.

The aim, subject to parliamentary time allowing the necessary legislation to be passed, is to implement the reformed scheme in April 2022.

The two consultation response documents have been placed in the Library of the House.