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Document 62007CA0388

Case C-388/07: Judgment of the Court (Third Chamber) of 5 March 2009 (reference for a preliminary ruling from the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, Queen’s Bench Division (Administrative Court) (United Kingdom)) — The Queen, The Incorporated Trustees of the National Council on Ageing (Age Concern England) v Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Directive 2000/78 — Equal treatment in employment and occupation — Age discrimination — Dismissal by reason of retirement — Justification)

OJ C 102, 1.5.2009, p. 6–7 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

1.5.2009   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 102/6


Judgment of the Court (Third Chamber) of 5 March 2009 (reference for a preliminary ruling from the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, Queen’s Bench Division (Administrative Court) (United Kingdom)) — The Queen, The Incorporated Trustees of the National Council on Ageing (Age Concern England) v Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

(Case C-388/07) (1)

(Directive 2000/78 - Equal treatment in employment and occupation - Age discrimination - Dismissal by reason of retirement - Justification)

2009/C 102/08

Language of the case: English

Referring court

High Court of Justice of England and Wales, Queen’s Bench Division (Administrative Court)

Parties to the main proceedings

Applicants: The Queen, The Incorporated Trustees of the National Council on Ageing (Age Concern England)

Defendant: Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Re:

Reference for a preliminary ruling — High Court of Justice of England and Wales, Queen’s Bench Division (Administrative Court) — Interpretation of Articles 2(2) and 6(1) of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (OJ 2000 L 303, p. 16) — Scope — National rules allowing employers to dismiss employees aged 65 or over by reason of their retirement

Operative part of the judgment

1.

National rules such as those set out in Regulations 3, 7(4) and (5) and 30 of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 fall within the scope of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation.

2.

Article 6(1) of Directive 2000/78 must be interpreted as meaning that it does not preclude a national measure which, like Regulation 3 of the Regulations at issue in the main proceedings, does not contain a precise list of the aims justifying derogation from the principle prohibiting discrimination on grounds of age. However, Article 6(1) offers the option to derogate from that principle only in respect of measures justified by legitimate social policy objectives, such as those related to employment policy, the labour market or vocational training. It is for the national court to ascertain whether the legislation at issue in the main proceedings is consonant with such a legitimate aim and whether the national legislative or regulatory authority could legitimately consider, taking account of the Member States' discretion in matters of social policy, that the means chosen were appropriate and necessary to achieve that aim.

3.

Article 6(1) of Directive 2000/78 gives Member States the option to provide, within the context of national law, for certain kinds of differences in treatment on grounds of age if they are ‘objectively and reasonably’ justified by a legitimate aim, such as employment policy, or labour market or vocational training objectives, and if the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary. It imposes on Member States the burden of establishing to a high standard of proof the legitimacy of the aim relied on as a justification. No particular significance should be attached to the fact that the word ‘reasonably’ used in Article 6(1) of the directive does not appear in Article 2(2)(b) thereof.


(1)  OJ C 283, 24.11.2007.


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