A new pension scheme for fee-paid judges is set to be delayed again because drafting the regulations is proving ‘more complex’ than expected.

In an update today the Ministry of Justice gives notice that the implementation date of December this year may slip by up to four months to 1 April 2017 – a full year later than originally planned.

The scheme is being established after the Supreme Court backed a former part-time recorder’s claim to a full pension. 

In 2013, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled former part-time recorder Dermod O’Brien was entitled to a full pension. It followed a Supreme Court judgment earlier that year that part-time judges are ‘workers’ for the purpose of the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000.

The ministry said today that the delayed start date of 1 December flagged in its last update on the scheme in January is now ‘unlikely’, while the ministry has concluded that implementing the scheme in stages is not feasible.

Subject to consultation and parliamentary approval, it added, the scheme will now be implemented on or before 1 April 2017. The scheme was originally planned to commence on 31 March this year. 

The update says: ‘It has become clear that drafting the regulations is proving more complex than was originally anticipated. The main reason for the delay is due to the complexity of drafting the parts of the regulations which will deal with AVCs, added years and added spousal and civil partner benefits.

‘These parts of the regulations are also required to address both retrospective and future added benefits.’

Until the scheme is introduced, the ministry will continue to offer interim payments to eligible fee-paid judicial office-holders.