High Court rejects McCloud judicial review of police officers – DB & Derisking

The PSA had argued that the government had failed to legally consult on changes to police pensions due to come into force later this year, which will see legacy public sector schemes closed and members moving to plans reformed in April, as part of the McCloud appeal.

This is separate from the application for judicial review filed by various unions late last year.

Pensions Expert has previously raised concerns from the administration team of the Pension Challenge – a campaign group made up of officers of all federated ranks in the UK – about the reforms.

McCloud is getting more complicated by the day, but with pension plans, employers and individual members all needing help, the practical question is whether or not the right resources will be made available.

Steve SimkinsIsio

The PCAT has repeatedly argued that the 2015 amendments introduce discrimination on the basis of age and gender, as well as the removal of protections currently in place for accrued pension rights, points reiterated by the PSA in its application for review. judicial.

The PSA argued that the government’s consultation on the McCloud remedy was unlawful, that it failed to meet public sector equality obligations, that the representations made to the police created a legitimate expectation that the government had subsequently (and unlawfully) breached, and that the decision to close the inheritance plan was made on a “material error of fact”, according to the High Court’s summary of its judgment, delivered on December 15.

The ultimate objective of the review was to have the consultation declared illegal and to revoke the decision to close the succession regime.

The government’s response was that such a verdict would breach parliamentary privilege, as the McCloud claim is currently the subject of a bill pending in Parliament.

The High Court found that there had indeed been errors and shortcomings, particularly in relation to the government’s compliance with equality obligations.

“Furthermore, there have been no reasonable investigations into the number of officers who would be affected by the closure of legacy policing programs and therefore the equality implications have not been properly reviewed,” the summary notes.

There were also legal errors made by the government in the decision-making process behind the consultation, including the fact that a decision was made on the policy before the consultation responses had been seen, which led breach of the public sector’s equality duty.

The court, however, dismissed claims that there had been a material breach of expectations and that the decision to shut down the legacy plans was based on factual error.

She also concluded that canceling the consultation or declaring it void “would amount to an impermissible interference in the work of parliament. Therefore, granting the requested rescission order would breach parliamentary privilege”.

The police association is appealing

The PSA will appeal the High Court’s decision, according to a statement posted on its website on December 24.

Its national secretary, Dan Murphy, said: “The PSA took the government to judicial review because it was the only option to be heard and get procedural justice. The court found that on the one occasion to give our opinion on the government’s planned changes to our pensions, we were ignored and that the government also ignored the equality issues raised by the more than 3,000 respondents.

“The PSA has had no government contact in response to the findings, although we share the serious impact this situation is having on our members and the wider workforce. We would have expected an honorable government to get in touch and try to remedy the situation.

“As the government has clearly chosen to ignore the court’s findings, we have shared our concerns with the other UK staff associations, who have agreed to support the PSA to take our case to the Court of Appeal to seek redress and force government to remedy the situation.

Irwin Mitchell’s partner Penny Cogher told Pensions Expert that ‘calls can be fickle and politically charged cases like this can produce shocking results’.

“Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the next judge, or even a judge in the union case, would agree with the findings of the High Court in this case and a different emphasis may be placed on the different reasons,” she explained.

“However, it seems to me that third-party institutions associated with the public sector can whip the proverbial dead horse with this kind of challenge. The bar is very high for challenging pieces of subordinate legislation such as the relevant Pensions Directives, and so far no third-party institution associated with the public sector has succeeded in asserting that the government has acted materially illegally. Nor has anyone proven that there was enough wrongdoing to warrant any form of redress.

“The appeal should be followed with interest. However, the court of public opinion notwithstanding, the government probably feels more secure in its position overall.

Steve Simkins, Head of Utilities at Isio, said: “On the one hand this is a race against time, with the Treasury wanting to get to the finish line (the Bill’s enactment) first and foremost. successful call from PSA.

“On the other hand, it’s a never-ending marathon, with obstacles galore and many hidden holes in the road as new issues arise. Any redress around discrimination is itself open to harm. other discrimination claims, so even if the bill is passed quickly, there are likely to be further challenges from labor courts and other court cases, which could take years to resolve.

More McCloud drama to come

As Pensions Expert has previously reported, a number of unions – including the Fire Brigades Union, the British Medical Association and GMB – have filed for separate judicial review over the government’s plans to impose the costs of the McCloud remedy on plan members.

The BMA, in particular, was furious that the decision to transfer the costs to the 2016 assessment meant that previously agreed benefit increases would be reversed.

Daragh McGinty, legal director and specialist in civil service pensions at Osborne Clarke, told Pensions Expert that the PSA claim “is the latest in a long line of examples showing that the government’s feet are firmly on the ground. held in flames over changes to the civil service pension plan in 2015.”

Although the court was reluctant in this case to interfere with laws passed by Parliament, it noted that the unions’ request challenged Treasury directives, “which have already come into force”.

Police officers reiterate McCloud criticism in response to consultation

A campaign group representing police officers unhappy with the government’s handling of the 2015 public sector pension reforms reiterated their complaints in response to the McCloud consultation, calling for the changes to be reversed.

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Simkins added that beyond the PSA’s judicial review, “there are already two other potential legal stumbling blocks. One is members wanting to get their hands on compensation right away, and the other is judicial review of fees.”

“And who pays for McCloud? Are they members of the public service pension plan or taxpayers? Although taxpayers will not want to pay the bill, the question is which MPs should pay. If the cost is reversed, there is a future generation of utilities that may have to argue for unfair treatment,” he said.

“McCloud is getting more complicated by the day, but with pension plans, employers and individual members all needing support, the practical question is whether or not the right resources will be made available.”