Earlier this week the Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the long-running and high profile case of Seldon v Clarkson Wright & Jakes. The Court dismissed Mr Seldon’s appeal which had challenged the right of his former firm to enforce a compulsory retirement age of 65 in the partnership deed. Following the abolition of a default retirement age for employees, this is clearly an important ruling in an employment context and predictably most of the coverage and comment is being made from this perspective. Nevertheless, this remains an important decision for partnerships and LLPs and their members.
The Court supported previous findings that some of the business aims put forward by Clarkson Wright & Jakes were justification for the retirement age in its partnership deed. These aims must be legitimate in the specific circumstances and the means of achieving the aims need to be proportionate. However, the Supreme Court has referred the matter back to the Employment Tribunal to decide whether the retirement age of 65 was in fact proportionate. Clearly we have not heard the last of this case and its implications for firms who wish to retain a default retirement age for their partners.
We plan to prepare a more detailed note on the implications on this case for circulation shortly.
You can read more information about this case from an employment perspective here.