Judicial Mandatory Retirement Age

Closed 14 Dec 2020

Opened 2 Nov 2020

Feedback updated 24 Mar 2021

We asked

The Judicial Mandatory Retirement Age consultation invited views on the mandatory retirement age (MRA) for devolved judicial office holders (JOHs) in Scotland whose MRA falls within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.

You said

There was strong support for the proposal to raise the MRA, with the majority of respondents (73.2%) in favour of raising. Of those who were in favour of raising, the majority (75%) were in favour of 75 instead of 72. The most common reason given for supporting a raise in MRA was that it would help to retain skills and experience within the judiciary.

The majority of respondents (59.4%) were in favour of maintaining parity with the UK, should the MRA be raised for reserved judicial offices. The most common reason for preferring to maintain parity was to ensure equity for JOHs in Scotland with those in the rest of the UK.

The consultation analysis paper can be found here

We did

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice has decided that the MRA for devolved judicial office holders in Scotland should be raised to 75, as it will be for the judiciary in other parts of the UK and the reserved judiciary.

In making this decision, the Cabinet Secretary took into consideration the responses to the consultation, the possible impacts of any change on the diversity of the judiciary in Scotland, and the principle of parity between Scottish judicial office holders and those in the rest of the UK, which is an issue of great importance to the Scottish judiciary. This decision, in particular, ensures that the principle of parity continues and that Scottish judicial office holders are treated comparably to other judicial office holders in the rest of the UK as regards MRA.

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.

Overview

This consultation welcomes views on the mandatory retirement age (MRA) for devolved judicial office holders in Scotland whose MRA falls within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.

The consultation asks if the MRA for Scottish judicial offices should be raised, and if so, whether this should be to 72 or 75, and whether the MRA for Scottish judicial offices should maintain parity with the MRA for judicial office holders in the rest of the UK. The consultation also invites views on a proposal that would allow judicial appointments to be extended beyond the MRA, as is currently possible for some offices when it is in the public interest.

Why we are consulting

Read the consultation paper. 

The Ministry of Justice has issued a consultation, which closed on 16 October, inviting views on proposals to raise the mandatory retirement age (MRA) for judicial office holders to either 72 or 75 years of age. The Ministry of Justice consultation document can be found here.  

The retirement age for most judicial office holders is 70 and derives from primary legislation enacted 27 years ago. The purpose of the Ministry of Justice’s consultation is to consider if an MRA of 70 continues to achieve the objective of balancing the requirement for sufficient judicial expertise to meet the demands on courts and tribunals whilst safeguarding improvement in judicial diversity and protecting the independence of and confidence in our judiciary.

The Ministry of Justice’s consultation covers those judicial offices whose MRA falls within the sole legislative competence of the UK Parliament. It does not include devolved judicial offices and it is for the governments in each of the devolved administrations to consider whether to raise the MRA for their respective devolved judicial office holders.

In Scotland, these offices are:

  • Lord President of the Court of Session
  • Lord Justice Clerk 
  • Judge of the Court of Session
  • Temporary Judge of the Court of Session
  • Sheriff Principal, Sheriff or Summary Sheriff
  • Temporary Sheriff Principal
  • Part-time Sheriff
  • Part-time Summary Sheriff
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Chairman or other member of the Scottish Land Court
  • Ordinary or legal member of the Scottish Tribunals
  • Members of the Lands Tribunal for Scotland
  • President and Members of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal

The Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive have each issued consultations on raising the MRA for the judicial offices within their devolved competence.

What happens next

The consultation has now closed. Thank you for your input. 

Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us. Responses will be published where we have been given permission to do so. An analysis report will also be made available.

Interests

  • Law and Order