The Advocate-General has issued his opinion in the Heyday case which challenges the "default" retirement age in the Age Discrimination Regulations allowing employers to retire employees from age 65 subject to certain procedural safeguards.

The findings of the Advocate-General are very broad (as were the questions asked). His view is that the UK is entitled to introduce legislation permitting a difference in treatment of employees of different ages (i.e., permitting employers to dismiss employees aged 65+ if the reason for dismissal is retirement) if it has determined that this is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

If the European Court of Justice follows the Advocate-General's opinion then the matter will be remitted to the High Court which will have to determine whether the default retirement age provision is objectively justified by a legitimate aim relating to employment policy and that the details of the provision are appropriate and necessary for the purpose.

We understand that the final judgment of the ECJ is expected later this year.