The Advocate General has finally delivered his Opinion in the case brought by the trustees of the National Council for Ageing (otherwise known as Heyday) which sought to establish that Regulation 30 of the Age Regulations (which provides that employees over the age of 65 who are compulsorily retired cannot claim age discrimination) was counter to the intention of the Equal Treatment Framework Directive.

The Advocate General ruled that member states can determine their own retirement age and further, did not consider there to be any significant distinction between the justification test for direct and indirect justification. A rule which allows employers to dismiss employees aged 65 or over can potentially be justified under the Directive if that rule is objectively and reasonably justified in national law by a legitimate aim relating to the employment policy and labour market.

The ECJ will hear the case in early 2009 and it remains to be seen if it will follow the Advocate General’s Opinion; although it is likely it will do so.