1. The current mandatory retirement age for most JOHs is 70, and derives from UK primary legislation enacted 27 years ago; the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993. This introduced the MRA of 70 for most JOHs and non-legal members throughout the UK
2. The Ministry of Justice issued a consultation, which closed on 16 October 2020, inviting views on proposals to raise the mandatory retirement age (MRA) for JOHs in England and Wales and reserved judicial offices. The consultation document can be found at https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/judicial-mandatory-retirement-age/ .
3. The purpose of the Ministry of Justice's consultation was 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 consultation was part of the UK Government's response to improving judicial recruitment and retention, and sought views on raising the MRA to 72 or to 75 for judicial offices that fall within the competence of the UK Parliament.
4. As the Ministry of Justice's consultation covered only those judicial offices whose MRA falls within the competence of the UK Parliament, the Scottish Government decided to issue a separate consultation to collect views, and additional evidence, on the MRA for devolved judicial offices in Scotland.
5. The Northern Ireland Executive and Welsh Government have also consulted on proposals to increase the MRA to 72 or 75 for JOHs for whom the MRA is devolved within their jurisdictions.
6. The Scottish Government consultation covered only devolved judicial offices whose MRA falls within the competence of the Scottish Parliament. These offices are:
- Lord President of the Court of Session
- Lord Justice Clerk
- Judge of the Court of Session (Senators)
- 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
7. An overview of the MRA for devolved judicial offices in Scotland can be found in the Scottish Government consultation paper.