In Seldon v Clarkson, Wright and Jakes and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills  IRLR 865 CA, the Court of Appeal held that the employment tribunal did not err in finding the claimant's compulsory retirement at age 65 objectively justified. The policy was a proportionate means of achieving the legitimate aims of encouraging young people to seek employment, through the ability to offer good promotion prospects, and of promoting collegiality in the firm.
The European Court of Justice has held that a German law allowing employers to agree with employees under a collective agreement that they must retire when they become entitled to a pension could be justified.
The Court of Appeal has held that it could be legitimate for a law firm to have a cut-off age after which partners are required to retire to avoid forcing an assessment of their drop in performance, thus maintaining a confrontation-free workplace.
In R (on the application of Age UK) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills  EWHC 2336 HC, the High Court confirmed that the compulsory retirement of employees at or above the age of 65 by reference to the prescribed procedure in the age discrimination Regulations is lawful. However, the Court could not "see how 65 could remain" as the default retirement age, following the Government's review in 2010.
The High Court has held that the default retirement age of 65 is lawful, but said that it could not see how it could continue after the Government's review in 2010.
In Seldon v Clarkson Wright & Jakes EAT/0063/08, the EAT ruled that the standard of justification in cases of direct age discrimination is, in principle, the same as that in cases of indirect age discrimination. However, it concluded that, although a firm of solicitors was entitled to adopt a compulsory retirement age for its partners, fixing this at 65 on the basis that performance would tend to tail off after this age relied on a stereotypical assumption not supported by any evidence.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that maintaining the friendly culture of a law firm by avoiding confrontation with underperforming partners close to retirement was not a legitimate aim that could justify the compulsory retirement of partners at 65.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to compulsory retirement.