JudgesIn O’Brien v The Ministry of Justice [2013] UKSC 6 the Supreme Court held that a retired recorder’s lack of entitlement to a judicial pension amounted to nothing more than blanket discrimination by the Ministry of Justice. This matter had been initially heard by the Supreme Court in 2010, where it was then referred to the CJEU to clarify whether or not judges as a whole are ‘workers who have an employment contract or employment relationship’ within the meaning of the pan-European Framework Agreement on part-time work. After the CJEU determined it was ultimately for the Supreme Court to decide on the worker issue, it was held in [2013] UKSC 6 that the work a recorder undertakes is of a different character to that of a self-employed person, and that no self-employed person would subject themselves to the rules for appointment and removal of recorders. The Supreme Court then remitted the matter back to the Employment Tribunal to determine the amount of pension the claimant was entitled to.

Today the Employment Tribunal handed down judgment, which assessed the difficult situation of quantifying the unusual working patterns of judges in the absence of an employment contract. The pensionable pay for the purposes of computing pension entitlement for a recorder is now determined by multiplying the salary of a full-time circuit judge as at the date of the recorder’s retirement by a factor equalling the total number of days on which the recorder has sat throughout their career, divided by 210. The result is then divided by the recorder’s length of service.