In these straitened times the Government is cutting off legal avenues to almost everyone, hence denying the crumbs and scrapings of bread and butter this meant to all but those starry City law firms. Now the Ministry of Justice has moved swiftly to block another handy source of minor revenues to lawyers – and to avoid a costly bust-up with members of its own judiciary.
The litigants in this case would have been that oppressed and misunderstood minority, not quite in the newly defined precariat class, but certainly living on the margins of society and needing someone to stand up for them.
They are the little army of part-time fee-paid judges, recorders, tribunal chairs, adjudicators and assessors who keep the wheels of grassroots British justice running smoothly.
What was in prospect was that hundreds of well-shod, sensibly suited, grey-headed or blue-rinsed judges, recorders, tribunal chairs etc would have marched on some of those very same tribunals wildly waving their writs containing their revolutionary demands.
What do they want? Pensions. When do they want them? Now would be nice, backdated if possible, please.
Their case is pretty unimpeachable. The UK Supreme Court has ruled in O’Brien v MoJ that the exclusion of fee-paid Recorders from the judicial pensions scheme was discriminatory against part-time workers under EU equal treatment regulations. It follows that all other judicial fee-paid part-timers have (prima facie) similarly been discriminated against.
The only issue was whether the part-time judges, tribunal chairs, adjudicators etc would have to divert themselves from their important labours to bang in their claim forms before they were time-barred – thus clogging up the Employment Tribunal system and requiring the payment of more judges, tribunal chairs, etc to clear the backlog. Vicious circle, you see. Read the rest of this entry