Page last updated at 15:18 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 16:18 UK

Lawyer fights retirement age law

Mr Seldon said his case was helping other people in the same situation

A Kent lawyer challenging the default retirement age in the appeal court after he was made to stop work at 65 has said he still has a lot to offer.

Leslie Seldon, from Bidborough, now 68, believes he was discriminated against on the grounds of age.

He has been backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, but is opposed by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

Appeal judges were set to reserve their ruling in the test case on Tuesday.

Mr Seldon was a senior civil litigation partner for 35 years at the law firm Clarkson Wright Jakes, which is based in Orpington, south east London.

He had to stop work at 65 according to the terms of his partnership agreement.

He first took his case to an employment tribunal and then on to an employment appeal tribunal which both agreed it could be lawful to force partners to leave solely on the grounds of age if it gave younger solicitors a chance to become partners.

Disabled son

Mr Sheldon said: "I feel I've got a lot to offer and I needed to carry on for personal circumstances.

"If someone is fit enough and healthy enough then they should be allowed to carry on."

He added: "We've got the twin problems, have we not, of people getting older and life expectancies increasing? And pension funds are going down.

"Therefore it has to happen that people carry on working longer than the conventional retirement age of 65."

Mr Seldon, who now has his own business, said: "I'm working as a notary and I work from 8am to 10pm which I think is evidence that I'm fit enough. I go to the gym, keep myself fit. And I'm available seven days a week."

'Financially embarrassed'

In the appeal court on Monday, Dinah Rose QC, acting for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said the hearing would raise "important questions of policy and principle".

She has also said the issues could potentially affect all employees.

Robin Allen QC, representing Mr Seldon in the two-day hearing, asked judges to look at age equality laws as if they were looking at cases involving the sex discrimination regulations in 1976 when they were first introduced.

Mr Seldon still had children at university and had a disabled son who would never be able to support himself, he said.

And he added many people, including his client, found themselves "financially embarrassed" when facing retirement.



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