18 October 2010
No victory this time
R (British Gurkha Welfare Society and ors) v Ministry of Defence  EWCA Civ 1098 – read judgment
The Court of Appeal has rejected a fresh attempt, based on Article 14 of the European Convention on Human rights (anti-discrimination), to obtain equal pension rights for Gurkhas who served in the British Army before 1997.
The long-running campaign for Gurkha rights has been highly publicised and successful, but it has not ensured equality of treatment in respect of pensions. The MoD continues to calculate accrued pension rights at a lower rates for Gurkhas than for other soldiers in respect of service performed before 1997, the date on which the majority of Gurkhas ceased to be based in Hong Kong and were instead moved to the UK.
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28 June 2010
Christine Timbrell v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  EWCA Civ 701 22 June 2010
A person who had acquired a different gender was entitled under European law to obtain the legal rights, such as an earlier pension, associated with the acquired gender – read judgment
The appellant had undergone male to female reassignment surgery. In 2002 she applied for a state pension, to be backdated to her sixtieth birthday. The Secretary of State decided that she was only entitled to a state pension from her 65th birthday. On appeal to the tribunal it was found that she had not obtained a full gender recognition certificate under the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (“the GRA”) and therefore she was not entitled to legal recognition of her new gender. As a consequence she could not qualify for a state pension from the age of 60. Prior to the Act, the United Kingdom had failed to implement Equal Treatment Directive 79/7/EEC to ensure that any national laws, contrary to the principle of equal treatment, were abolished. The Upper Tribunal rejected her appeal finding that she did not satisfy the criteria to be treated as a woman which could entitle her to receive a pension at the age of 60 under Council Directive 79/7.
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