Edward Benson won pension case for part-time judge
Who? Edward Benson, 56, employment law partner at national firm Browne Jacobson.
Why is he in the news? He took the case of part-time judge Dermod O’Brien to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Luxembourg, which on 1 March found that O’Brien - and 8,000 other part-time judges - were entitled to a UK government pension under EU rules.
The UK government had argued that as ‘office holders’ rather than ‘workers’, part-time judges were not entitled to a pension under the European part-time workers directive.
The CJEU said that the UK government could exclude a category of worker only if there was an ‘objective justification’ for doing so, in this case a clear distinction between part-time and full-time judges. No such distinction exists; their work is identical and carried out in the same courts. The CJEU has now returned the case to the UK Supreme Court.
Thoughts on the case: ‘The government has imposed the cost of paying pensions for part-time workers on employers and cannot now simply duck its own obligations because it’s expensive. If it’s the right way for employers to behave, then it’s the right way for government, too.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘Industrial relations were in a dire state in the mid-1970s and employment law was one way to help.’
Career high: ‘When Roy Jenkins argued strongly in the House of Lords in favour of an amended clause that I had drafted and which became part of [the 1988 Employment Act].’