An opinion by an advocate general from European Court of Justice (ECJ) in a Spanish case could be bad news for the legal action being taken against the UK government by campaigning group Heyday.
Advocate general Jan Mazak’s opinion in the case of Félix Palacios de la Villa v Cortefiel Servicios SA is that age discrimination legislation does not apply to state retirement ages. This is bad news for Heyday whose case against mandatory retirement ages was referred to the ECJ last December.
The ECJ is not bound to follow the advocate general’s opinion but it’s rare for it not to do so.
In his opinion, advocate general Mazak said: “A national provision providing for the setting of a compulsory retirement age does not relate to ‘employment and working conditions, including dismissals and pay’.”
He also added that, in his opinion, a state retirement age could be justified because it provided for an inter-generational employment market – so is in the public interest.
However, even if the ECJ does follow advocate general Mazak’s opinion, it is not bound by its own rulings – so could treat the UK case differently.