Scott v Inland Revenue Commissioners, Court of Appeal, 2 April 2004


Notification of policy change is essential: Having worked for the Inland Revenue since the age of 16, Scott was dismissed in August 2001 at the age of 56. He was awarded £98,378 compensation for unfair and wrongful dismissal, and sex and disability discrimination.

The award was based on the fact that Scott would have had to retire at 60 in accordance with the Revenue’s retirement policy. Scott appealed against the level of damages awarded and the Employment Tribunal’s refusal to award costs.

While the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) hearing was pending, Scott discovered that in 2002, the Inland Revenue had changed its retirement policy allowing those who were willing and able to do so to work until the age of 65. Scott had

intended to work beyond the age of 60, and unsuccessfully sought to change his case to rely on this policy change. The EAT upheld the tribunal’s decision, and Scott appealed.

The Court of Appeal held that the Inland Revenue should have disclosed its change in retirement policy as soon as it was introduced. Scott had shown he had no intention of retiring at 60, and his request for an amendment to change his case should have been allowed.

The case was remitted to the tribunal for consideration of the level of damages awarded, and whether the Inland Revenue’s conduct had been misconceived. It was also suggested that Scott should seek to amend his losses to include earnings right up to the age of 65.

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