DWP lawyers lose legal bid to declare #Backto60 pensions case unlawful

Lawyers representing the Department for Work and Pensions have made an unsuccessful attempt to have the judicial review affecting 3.8 million 1950s born women seeking full restitution of their pensions declared unlawful.

The extraordinary move by Sir James Eadie, the Treasury counsel, representing the DWP, was thrown out by the Master of the Rolls, Sir Terence Etherton, at a Court of Appeal hearing last week. He was one of three judges hearing the appeal.

The case involves the plight of the women who saw their pension age rise from 60 to 66 and have suffered hardship as many were not informed of the change. The first judicial review was rejected but BackTo60, which campaigned for the women, won the right to appeal the decision on all grounds.

The women have received backing from UNISON, Unite and warm words from the GMB’s pension officials for their plight.

Gloria Mills, national secretary equalities at UNISON sent a tweet to Joanne Welch, organiser of the BackTo60 campaign on the eve of the hearing saying: “Thank you for the excellent work you and your team are doing. #50sWomen deserve Full Restitution.”

Sir James argued that the first judge, Ms Justice Dame Beverley Lang, should not have granted the judicial review in the first place.

But the Master of the Rolls pointed out that the DWP had already had two opportunities to try and get the review stopped but had failed to apply to do so. Sir James then argued that the case should have been bought in 1995 when the Pension Act raising the age was passed. His case was challenged by Michael Mansfield QC who represents the women.

The clash between Sir James Eadie and Michael Mansfield came over various case law but their difference in approach was stark.

Sir James suggested that the aim was to put back all women’s pensions to 60 but the country could not afford it economically because people were living longer. He conceded that some 50s women were disadvantaged but said it had nothing to do with the rising pension age.

Michael Mansfield told the judges: “We have a group of essentially, economically and emotionally, disenfranchised women. So it is against that background that we do submit that there are grounds for discrimination.”

Mr Mansfield said people were living an “economic, almost poverty line existence” and facing “psychological mental stress placed upon them”. He cited one case where the woman had contemplated suicide. He said their situation was “catastrophic”.

He argued that the women had a case under Common Law to be properly notified and also pointed out that over 4 million men over 60 had their national insurance contributions paid by the state if they decided not to register as unemployed.

Women were not allowed to receive this after their pension age began to rise in 2010 until the scheme was dropped in 2018.
The judges reserved a decision on the case. It is not expected to be announced until the autumn.

  • Like this story? Please support our work here.

9 thoughts on “DWP lawyers lose legal bid to declare #Backto60 pensions case unlawful

    1. Our national insurance isn’t saved for us. When workers & employers pay NI money in, it goes straight out to pay state pension, and other contribution based benefits. It has been like that from the very beginning. SP relies on a percentage of people never reaching state pension age, as it is their NI that pays the difference when a low paid worker pays in £50k, over their working life, (enough for about 5 years SP) but then draws SP for 15/20 or more years. It used to work, but now, thanks to NHS, better housing, food, etc, many live much longer than they did when SP was first introduced. Also the contraceptive pill, and legal abortions, giving women a choice as to how many children to have, have drastically reduced the birthrate. This means that we have far more old people drawing state pension now, but, at the same time, fewer working age people to pay for it! Hence the need for state pension age rise!

  1. If we do not win this case. We have a right as a nation to have this government audit, to show where the money has gone.

  2. The two cases referred to byMichael Mansell , pointing out the hardship , psychological and emotional as well as the physical hardships have removed any quality of living from 60 to 66 as they and the other millions of women in the same position and many are dying before reaching the new pension age, and had no private pension as they have always been paid lower than men and as a work force have never been able to afford a private pension. It’s interesting to note that the majority of these women not only worked full time to prop up their husbands low earning incomes but also had children to bare and bring up and some had elderly relatives they took care of too!!! Now the government’s are ringing them out to dry , after all they have done and suffered….. They are the backbone of this country and they are being penalised for holding their families together. This is a travesty.

    1. Absolutely agree and if I had been born 8 months later, I would have fitted all these scenarios and been in the position of many of my friends. So unfair for all of them affected by these ill thought of actions and it’s time they were listened to and action taken.

  3. Put it back to 60 and give the young onese a job also before ths conservatives and company? and the greed and lies of the dwp who are working agaist the people for the greed for the muppets in power and who have also give the citizens advice 50 million to turn away people on universal credit when that first started

  4. The fact remains that men had their NIC paid for by the government to ensure their pension was maintained. If they don’t win this case can they raise another one for NIC from 60 to 66 so that their pensions will be increased.

  5. Many women working less than 16. Hours a week we’re unable to join company schemes. This included county council employees.

Leave a Reply to Norma Roberts Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.