The Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Act 2022
The Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Act 2022 (PSPJOA 2022) legislates for how public service pension schemes, including the devolved pension schemes in Northern Ireland, will remove the discrimination identified by the courts in the way that the 2015 reforms were introduced for some members.
In addition, the Act reforms the pension arrangements and increases the mandatory retirement age for the judiciary and puts judicial pay and allowances on a firmer legal footing.
The main elements of the Act are:
- Changes implemented across all the main public service pension schemes in response to the Court of Appeal judgment in the McCloud and Sargeant cases:
- Eligible members of the main unfunded pension schemes have a choice of the benefits they wish to take for the “remedy period” of April 2015 to 31 March 2022.
- From 1 April 2022, when the remedy period ends, all those in service in main unfunded schemes are members of the reformed pension schemes, ensuring equal treatment from that point on.
- Bespoke measures implement corresponding changes in the Judicial Pension Schemes and Local Government Pension Schemes to reflect their different arrangements.
- Members of the judiciary are transferred into a further reformed pension scheme owing to the judges’ unique circumstances of appointment.
- Ensures there are no reductions to member benefits as a result of the 2016 cost control valuations.
- Raises the mandatory retirement age of judicial office holders from 70 to 75.
- Places judicial pay protection and the power to set allowances on firmer legal footing thereby protecting judicial independence.
- Establishes a new UK Asset Resolution (UKAR) Limited pension scheme.
These changes are intended to provide public service workers with greater certainty of their benefit entitlements. Going forwards, public servants will continue to receive guaranteed pension benefits.
The NI Assembly agreed legislative consent motions so that the provisions of the PSPJOA 2022 which deal with the remedy on age discrimination should have effect here. The devolved public service schemes here contain comparable provisions to those in Britain and the legislation ensures all schemes similarly affected by the McCloud ruling are remedied consistently, and to similar timescales.