Duke v GEC Reliance Systems Limited: HL 2 Jan 1988

The court was asked about the differential in retirement ages between men and women in private sector employment, and whether it constituted sex discrimination.
Held: Section 2(4) of the 1972 Act did not allow a British Court to distort the meaning of a British Statute in order to enforce a Community Directive which does not have direct effect. Schemes which concerned differential retirement ages for men and women were covered by the exemption.
Lord Templeman was content to rely on pre-enacting documents as a guide to Parliament’s intention.


Lord Templeman


[1988] ICR 447, [1988] AC 618, [1988] 2 WLR 359, [1988] 1 All ER 626, [1987] UKHL 10, [1988] IRLR 118




European Communities Act 1972 2(4), Sex Discrimination Act 1975 6(4)


England and Wales


Appeal fromDuke v GEC Reliance Systems Limited CA 16-Feb-1987
The court was said to have failed to have proper regard to a European Directive.
The court discussed the meaning of the phrase ‘per incuriam’: ‘I have always understood that the doctrine of per incuriam only applies where another division of . .
At EATDuke v Reliance Systems Limited EAT 1982
The EAT was asked whether a policy in regard to a retiring age had been communicated to employees or whether there was evidence of any universal practice to that effect. Browne-Wilkinson J said: ‘[T]here was no evidence that the employers’ policy of . .

Cited by:

CitedAlbion Automotive Ltd v Walker and 21 others EAT 12-Oct-2001
The employees claimed enhanced redundancy payments. The employers said no contractual obligation existed to make any such payments. The employees said that all previous redundancies had been under such terms, and that it had become a term of their . .
CitedPickstone v Freemans Plc HL 30-Jun-1988
The claimant sought equal pay with other, male, warehouse operatives who were doing work of equal value but for more money. The Court of Appeal had held that since other men were also employed on the same terms both as to pay and work, her claim . .
CitedAttridge Law (A Firm of Solicitors) v Coleman and Law EAT 20-Dec-2006
The claimant asserted associative disability discrimination. She was the carer for her disabled son.
Held: To succeed the claimant would have to show that associative discrimination was prohibited by the directive and that the 1995 Act could . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Employment, Discrimination, European

Updated: 19 July 2022; Ref: scu.181217