The Court of Appeal has decided, in the recent case of Cripps v Trustee Solutions (often referred to as the Dubery case) that any pension rights accrued during a “Barber window” of service (ie, a period since the date of the Barber case in 1990 until scheme rules were changed to remove unequal pension ages between men and women) should be honoured by creating a right to a pension, but only on that particular period of service.

The court concluded that members of the scheme (which was winding up) who had the right to retire at age 60 in respect of a part of their service who were aged between 60 and 64 at the date when the scheme commenced winding up, should be classed as pensioners for the purposes of the statutory priority order set out in section 73 of the Pensions Act 1995. However, this did not apply in respect of pension or other benefits accrued during the remainder of their service that was subject to a normal retirement date of age 65.

The implications of this decision for other schemes will depend on the timing of and the manner in which the scheme equalised retirement ages for women and men. We will be issuing an Alert on the issues raised in the Dubery appeal and the implications for other schemes in due course