It was stated that, in this case, "there were specific factors which applied to this small law firm in Kent, which will not be relevant to every organisation". Forced retirement cannot be justified on the grounds of age alone. Other contributory factors must also be proven.
The Supreme Court judges also gave a ruling in another age discrimination case, which involved a claim by Terence Homer, who joined the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) as a legal adviser in 1995 at the age of 51. In 2005 a new career structure was introduced, meaning that, in order to be eligible for the highest pay grade, legal advisers were required to hold a law degree. Mr Homer was refused entry into the highest pay grade on the basis he did not hold a law degree and that, being 61, he would not be able to obtain one before he was likely to retire, unlike younger employees.
However, in this case, the Supreme Court justices unanimously allowed Mr Homer's appeal, finding that he was "indirectly discriminated against" by West Yorkshire Police.
It will be interesting to see if there will be a large increase in age discrimination cases, at least for two or three years, until employers can show, if they can, that performance management processes are applied evenly across the whole workforce, without discrimination on the grounds of age.
There is also the issue of the state pension not becoming payable until well after a person reaches 65 (currently 67 for those reaching 65 this year).