We are still waiting for the High Court's ruling on the legality of the default retirement age, which gives employers a defence to age discrimination claims where staff are compulsorily retired at the age of 65 or over. The hearing took place in July and the Court is expected to publish its judgment this autumn. In the meantime the Government has announced that it will bring forward its planned review of the retirement exemption to 2010. Assuming the decision is not taken out of its hands by the High Court's decision, it has promised that any changes will not be implemented until 2011.

Whatever the High Court decides, it seems likely that economic and demographic factors will put increasing pressure on the Government to abolish the exemption, or at least to increase the age at which it applies. Although most employers will be content to wait until the law is clarified, some may see an advantage in planning now for the end of the default retirement regime.