Back
We continue to provide our legal services through the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit our COVID-19 Hub for legal insights, or contact us directly.
Get in Touch Menu

Retirement and the DRA

09 November 2010

Few will have been able to avoid the news that the default retirement age (DRA) is to be scrapped. Currently the plans are only proposals and subject to consultation but the courts in the Heyday case (see Law News Winter 2008) made it clear that the current regime cannot remain.

Under the proposals the DRA will be removed on 1 October 2011. As employers must give at least six months’ notice of retirement, it would seem that the last date a retirement notice can be given is 31 March 2011. After 1 October 2011 retirement will be allowed only if it is objectively justified. The recent Court of Appeal case of Seldon v Clarkson Wright and Jakes is helpful. The DRA applies to employees, not partners in a business. Mr Seldon, a partner in Clarkson Wright and Jakes solicitors, was compulsorily retired when he reached the age of 65. He brought a claim of age discrimination.

Clarkson Wright and Jakes argued that the use of a retirement age of 65 was aimed at giving senior solicitors the opportunity of partnership and to help with partnership and workforce planning. The Court of Appeal held that a retirement age of 65 was a proportionate means of achieving this aim. However, as with many things in law, it was not quite so straightforward. The court took into consideration the fact that the law currently allows employers to retire employees at 65 and decided that this supported 65 “as a fair and proportionate cut-off point”. The abolition of the DRA would remove this cut-off point.

Until the outcome of the consultation is published it is not known what, if anything, will replace the current regime. If nothing is put in its place, employers will need to rely on one of the reasons in the Employment Rights Act, for example capability or conduct, when looking to dismiss an older employee.

If you need clear and pragmatic legal advice, we’re here to help so please get in touch.

Contact us

Contact
Nick Cox LLB (Hons)
Partner
View profile
Nick Cox
Related services
Share this article
Resources to help

Related articles

Catch up on our free legal webinars

Commercial

Our legal experts have been busy sharing valuable expertise in their first series of free webinars for employers, and businesses across the county who missed the live events can now…

Willans
Solicitors

Your business post-Brexit: What has changed & what should you do now?

Corporate

On Christmas Eve, the nation was informed that the UK and EU had struck a Brexit deal. The transition period is now over, and a clearer picture of the future…

Helen Howes LLM
Solicitor

Equality Act: gender fluid & non-binary individuals protected

Employment & business immigration

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against individuals because of their ‘protected characteristics’. There are nine protected characteristics in total, namely: age, race, sex, sexual orientation, disability,…

Jenny Hawrot LLB (Hons)
Senior associate, solicitor
Contact us