In Heyday, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) concluded that the UK default retirement age (of age 65), whilst caught by the provisions of EU law which outlaw age discrimination, is also capable of being justified by legitimate social policy objectives, such as those related to employment policy, the labour market or vocational training.

The ECJ noted that member states have the burden of establishing "to a high standard of proof" the legitimacy of the aim relied on as a justification.

In reaching these conclusions, the ECJ followed, broadly, the Advocate-General's opinion and its decision in Palacios v Cortefiel .However, the case has now been referred back to the UK courts, who will apply the ECJ decision in the context of UK law