O’Brien v Ministry of Justice: ECJ 1 Mar 2012

1) European Union law must be interpreted as meaning that it is for the member states to define the concept of ‘workers who have an employment contract or an employment relationship’ in clause 2.1 of the Framework Agreement . . and in particular, to determine whether judges fall within that concept, subject to the condition that that does not lead to the arbitrary exclusion of that category of persons from the protection offered by Directive 97/81, as amended by Directive 98/23, and that agreement. An exclusion from that protection may be allowed only if the relationship between judges and the Ministry of Justice is, by its nature, substantially different from that between employers and their employees falling, according to national law, under the category of workers.
2) The Framework Agreement . . must be interpreted as meaning that it precludes, for the purpose of access to the retirement pension scheme, national law from establishing a distinction between full-time judges and part-time judges remunerated on a daily fee-paid basis, unless such a difference in treatment is justified by objective reasons, which is a matter for the referring court to determine.’
‘budgetary considerations cannot justify discrimination’
The Court stated: ‘The Latvian Government doubts whether the reference for a preliminary ruling is admissible. It is contrary to the principle of the protection of legitimate expectations and the principle of legal certainty to hold that Directive 97/81 may apply to facts which took place before the entry into force of that directive in the United Kingdom and which continued for a short time after its entry into force, even if the right to a retirement pension claimed by Mr O’Brien arose after the expiry of the time-limit for transposing Directive 97/81.
The Court has already declared, as regards the applicability ratione temporis of that directive that new rules apply, unless otherwise specifically provided, immediately to the future effects of a situation which arose under the old rule. Thus the Court concluded that the calculation of the period of service required to qualify for a retirement pension is governed by Directive 97/81, including periods of employment before the directive entered into force (Joined Cases C-395/08 and C-396/08 Bruno [2010] ECR I-5119, paras 53 to 55).
Consequently, the reference for a preliminary ruling must be declared admissible.’
J.N. Cunha Rodrigues, P
[2012] EUECJ C-393/10, C-393/10, [2012] ICR 955, [2012] 2 CMLR 25, [2012] All ER (EC) 757, [2012] WLR(D) 58, [2012] IRLR 421
Bailii, WLRD
At EATDepartment of Constitutional Affairs v O’Brien EAT 22-Apr-2008
Claim in time and effective date of termination
Extension of time: just and equitable
Appeal against Chair’s exercise of discretion to extend time for a PTWR claim . .
At CAO’Brien v Department for Constitutional Affairs CA 19-Dec-2008
The claimant was a part time recorder. He claimed to be entitled to a judicial pension.
Held: The Employment Appeal Tribunal was wrong to find an error of law in the decision of the Employment Tribunal to extend time; but the court declined to . .
At SCO’Brien v Ministry of Justice SC 28-Jul-2010
The appellant had worked as a part time judge. He now said that he should be entitled to a judicial pension on retirement by means of the Framework Directive. The Regulations disapplied the provisions protecting part time workers for judicial office . .
OpinionO’Brien v Ministry of Justice ECJ 17-Nov-2011
ECJ (Opnion) Directive 97/81/EC – Framework Agreement on part-time work – Notion of part-time workers who have an employment contract or employment relationship – Part-time judges
Kokott AG said: ‘In this . .

Cited by:
At ECJO’Brien v Ministry of Justice SC 6-Feb-2013
The appellant, a part time recorder challenged his exclusion from pension arrangements.
Held: The appeal was allowed. No objective justification has been shown for departing from the basic principle of remunerating part-timers pro rata . .
CitedColl, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice SC 24-May-2017
The appellant female prisoner asserted that the much smaller number of probation and bail hostels provided for women prisoners when released on licence was discriminatory in leaving greater numbers of women far removed from their families.
At ECJO’Brien v Ministry of Justice and Others CA 6-Oct-2015
The claimants each sought additional pensions, saying that discrimination laws which had come into effect (for part time workers and for sexual orientation) should be applied retrospectively.
Held: The decision was upheld. The ‘no . .
At ECJO’Brien v Ministry of Justice SC 12-Jul-2017
The claimant challenged e pension arrangements made for part time judges.
Held: ‘The majority of the court are inclined to think that the effect of Directive 97/81 is that it is unlawful to discriminate against part-time workers when a . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 24 February 2021; Ref: scu.471979