Court of Appeal hearing to take place over legal challenge to women’s pension age changes

Penny Ann Wells Photo Timandra French

Women fighting for equality in pensions will have their case heard at the Court of Appeal this month.

A legal challenge to the way the Government changed the pension age for women was dismissed by the High Court last year with a finding in favour of the government.

In June 2019 the Backto60 campaign group brought the judicial review case to the Divisional Court, which examined whether 3.9 million women born in the 1950s were appropriately communicated with regarding changes to the state pension age that result in a later retirement.

They were calling for this cohort of women to receive their state pension from the age of 60. There action was supported by other women’s pension rights groups including Waspi (Women against state pension injustice).

Up until 2010 women were eligible for their state pension when they reached the age of 60 but changes have seen this rise with the age at which women qualify for the state pension moving up to 65 and then 67.

Backto60 and Waspi campaigners say women born in the 1950s have been unfairly hit, did not receive proper notice and many have been left in poverty.

But a summary of the judgement by Lord Justice Irwin and Mrs Justice Whipple said: “There was no direct discrimination on grounds of sex, because this legislation does not treat women less favourably than men in law.”

The government says the aim is to bring the retirement age for men and women in line. Increasing life expectancy means the government needs to make pension payments later in a person’s life.

However, Backto60 launched a campaign to raise £72,000 to be able to bring an appeal.

This case will be heard on July 21-22 and will be livestreamed via Zoom.

Penny-Anne Wells, of the East Kent branch of the Waspi campaign, says the appeal hearing means there is still hope of “justice.”

She said: “We have been campaigning for more than four years and have had our hopes dashed many times. We still dare to hope that this appeal will deliver justice.

“Many women continue to face very difficult situations due to the lack of notice of the rise in their pension age, now made even worse by the pandemic.

“If women could retire it would free up jobs for younger people . Due to the pandemic we will not hold a rally or travel to the Courts. We will be joining to watch the Live Stream via Zoom.We will also become keyboard warriors raising awareness by social media.”

Click here for the Court of Appeal hearing link