Richard O’Brien KC acts for HM Treasury in successfully resisting appeal in £17 billion public sector pensions case: R (British Medical Association) v HM Treasury

News & Judgments
7 May 2024

On 17 April 2024 the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in R (British Medical Association) v HM Treasury [2024] EWCA Civ 355, an important public sector pensions case. 4 New Square Chambers’ Richard O’Brien KC acted for HM Treasury in successfully resisting the appeal.

The background to the case was the McCloud litigation, a successful age discrimination claim against the Government arising from changes to public sector pensions in 2015. The cost of remedying the discrimination has been valued at approximately £17 billion over a 4-year period.

The present litigation challenged the decision that those costs be met by public sector pension scheme members, rather than by the Government and therefore the taxpayer. The applicants were two public sector unions, the British Medical Association and the Fire Brigades Union. A variety of grounds including lack of consultation, discrimination, breach of the public sector equality duty and irrationality were advanced.

The underlying claim was dismissed by Choudhury J in March 2023 following a 4-day judicial review in the High Court: [2023] EWHC 527 (Admin). The appeal was heard by the Court of Appeal (Laing, Nugee and Asplin LJJ) over 3 days in February 2024.  A decision on permission to appeal to the Supreme Court is pending.

Richard acted for HM Treasury resisting the appeal, led by Nigel Giffin KC.

Read the full judgment here: R (British Medical Association) v HM Treasury [2024] EWCA Civ 355

Related People

Richard O’Brien KC

Call: 2005 Silk: 2024



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