Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill [HL]

Explanatory Notes

Territorial extent and application

80 Clause 112 sets out the extent and application of the provisions in the Bill. The provisions of the Bill extend and apply to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Legislative Consent Motions

81 Under the terms of the Sewel Convention, the UK Parliament will not normally legislate with regard to matters that are within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament, Senedd Cymru or the Northern Ireland Assembly without the consent of the legislature concerned.

82 In the view of the UK Government, the Bill will engage the Sewel Convention in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as certain areas of judicial policy are devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Judicial pensions policy is also devolved/transferred in Northern Ireland in relation to certain devolved judicial offices and falls within devolved competence of Scotland where the judicial pension scheme is not reserved to Westminster. Legislative consent will therefore be sought from all three devolved legislatures in relation to these matters.

83 The Bill makes provision for public service pension schemes in Scotland (for teachers, NHS workers, firefighters, police, and local government workers) where the Scottish Ministers have executive but not legislative competence.

84 The Bill makes provision for the firefighters’ pension scheme in Wales where Welsh Ministers have executive competence, however the Senedd Cymru does not have legislative competence.

85 The Bill makes provision for pensions for the armed forces and members of the UK civil service in respect of Northern Ireland, as legislative competence for these pension schemes sits with the UK Parliament. The Bill also makes provision for public service pension schemes in Northern Ireland (for civil servants in the Northern Ireland civil service, teachers, NHS workers, firefighters, police and local government workers) where the Northern Ireland Assembly has legislative competence. Legislative consent will therefore be sought from the Northern Ireland Assembly in relation to these matters.

86 If there are amendments relating to matters within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament, Senedd Cymru or the Northern Ireland Assembly, the consent of the relevant devolved legislature(s) will be sought for those amendments.

87 See the table in Annex A for a summary of the position regarding territorial extent and application.

McCloud Remedy (Judiciary)

88 In terms of current legislation, pension provision for Welsh and most Scottish devolved judicial office holders is provided for in the UK judicial pension schemes and the remedy provisions as described below will apply equally to them. In respect of Northern Ireland, while most office holders are members of the UK schemes, a small number of devolved judiciary were provided with a 2015 scheme under Northern Ireland legislation. The Bill includes equivalent amendments to fully implement the McCloud remedy to the relevant Northern Ireland legislation which provided for a 2015 reformed scheme.

Judicial Pensions (prospective remedy)

89 Provisions in Chapter 4 of Part 1 on judicial pensions extend to the whole of the UK. Provision restricting accrual in existing pension schemes after 31 March 2022 applies to judicial office holders across the UK and equivalent provision is also made in relation to the relevant Northern Ireland legislation. Clause 82 amends the PSPA 2013 so that devolved judicial office holders in Scotland and Northern Ireland may be added to a scheme under that Act at the request of the relevant devolved administration.

Judicial Offices

90 Clause 103 and Schedule 1 which make provision to raise the MRA to 75 for certain judicial offices apply UK-wide. Included are a number of judicial offices in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, whose MRA is a devolved matter for Senedd Cymru, the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

91 Clause 105 to 109, which make provision for the new sitting in retirement office, which both salaried and fee-paid judicial office holders can apply for upon retirement, apply UK-wide. The judicial office holders in scope of this provision (set out in Schedule 3) include judicial office holders whose terms of appointments are devolved matters for the Senedd Cymru and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Judicial office holders whose terms of appointments are a devolved matter for the Scottish Parliament are not in scope of this provision.

92 The judicial allowances measure extends to the whole of the UK. It will extend to judicial offices in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales where the Lord Chancellor has legislative competence in relation to the determination of remuneration. The Scottish Government and the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland have also indicated that certain judicial offices in Scotland and Northern Ireland where legislative competence in relation to the determination of remuneration is devolved should also be included in this measure; in such cases the power to determine allowances will be provided to the authority which has the existing power to determine salary or fees. The judicial office holders whose remuneration is a devolved matter for Senedd Cymru are not included in the judicial allowances measure.

 

19 July 2021