The High Court has quashed guidance issued by the Home Office which has been used to reduce the injury pensions of thousands of injured former police officers. All of these cuts to the pensions of former injured officers will now have to be further reviewed. The court ordered the Home Office to publicise the withdrawal of the unlawful guidance on its website. Use this link to view the notice:
The Home Office Guidance, published in 2004, recommended that police injury pensions should be reviewed when injured former police officers reached their Compulsory Retirement Age (“CRA”) at which they would have retired from the force (if not injured) and recommended using the lower “National Average Earnings” as a guide for loss of salary at that point. This resulted in drastic cuts to the pensions paid to former officers. Injured officers who could not work found their incomes slashed at either age 55 or 60, depending on when the officer joined the Force.
That method was challenged in a High Court case brought by lawyers at Cartwright King on behalf of former officer, John Slater. The government has now conceded that the guidance is unlawful and that reviews at a CRA must relate to the individual circumstances of the officer. This means the blanket National Average Earnings figures cannot be used to cut pensions. The Court ordered the Home Office to write to all police forces withdrawing the Guidance within 14 days and to publicise the withdrawal on the Home Office Website. Mark Lake, the specialist solicitor who took the case for Mr Slater with funding from the Police Federation said:
“This is a significant victory for injured former police officers. A very large number of former officers are entitled to have reductions in their pensions at their CRA set aside as a result of this case. We warned the Home Office several years ago that this part of the Guidance was unlawful but it took yet another Judicial Review challenge in the High Court before the government were prepared to accept they had issued unlawful guidance”.
Mark Lake instructed David Lock QC of Landmark Chambers who has appeared successfully for former officers in many cases concerning police pensions.
If you believe you have had your injury award reduced as a consequence of you reaching Compulsory Retirement Age and the use of the National Average Earnings [ASHE], you should write to your Force requesting that your Injury Award be re-instated to its former band.
Use this link for our template request letter: