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.
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