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Principale » Gay couple win equal pension rights in landmark case

Gay couple win equal pension rights in landmark case

12 Juillet 2017

John Walker has been in a long running legal battle to let his husband inherit the same percentage of his defined benefit (DB) pension that a female partner would be entitled to. This means that companies do not have to pay out the full pension benefits to a civil partner in a same sex marriage on pensions accrued before 2005. This equates to around £45,000 a year - a significant increase on the £1,000 he would otherwise have been given. He now appeals to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that if John Walker, 66, dies, his husband is entitled to a spouse's pension, provided they remain married.

Steve Wardlaw, Chairman of Emerald Life the inclusive insurance provider said 'No-one expected John to lose the case because it's a clear breach of European law, [the loophole] was an attempt to use United Kingdom equality law to lower economic liability and that isn't allowed'.

The EAT agreed, and the Government then carried out a review of same-sex survivor benefits.

Under existing rules, occupational pension schemes pay out 50% of the value of a pension to a spouse for the rest of their lives after their husband or wife dies - without taking the marriage date into account.

Walker's claim for discrimination was upheld by the Employment Tribunal but was dismissed on but dismissed on Innospec's appeal to the Court of Appeal in 2015, when judges ruled his claim failed because it applied to a period before gay civil partnerships were recognised by the law.

Walker, 65, has been with his husband, a former computer executive who is 52, since 1993.

The general rule under European Union law, as in most modern legal systems, is that legislative changes apply prospectively.

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Pour le courtier, " un problème majeur disparaît, mais une épée de Damoclès significative demeure ". Pour l'établissement, l'accord conclu avec la FHFA aura un impact net de 4,75 milliards de dollars.

"But it is to our Government's great shame that it has taken so many years, huge amounts of taxpayers' money and the UK's highest court to drag them into the 21st century".

In a statement Mr Walker said: "Finally this absurd injustice has been consigned to the history books - and my husband and I can now get on with enjoying the rest of our lives together".

'In the years since we started this legal challenge, how many people have spent their final days uncertain about whether their loved one would be looked after?'

"What I would like from Theresa May and her ministers today is a formal commitment that this change will stay on the statute books after Brexit".

Emma Norton, a lawyer from Liberty, which represented Mr Walker, called on the government to promise Brexit would not threaten the ruling. We now risk losing that protection.

He argued the stance was discrimination based on his sexual orientation, meaning gay couples had less rights that heterosexual couples despite the 2005 Equalities Act.

During that time, he made the same contributions to the pension scheme as heterosexual colleagues.

Gay couple win equal pension rights in landmark case