Govt launches consultation on Judicial Pension Scheme regulations

The government has published a consultation seeking views on the draft regulations for the Judicial Pension Scheme (JPS) 2022 following the McCloud ruling.

Under the proposals, the JPS 2022 will be open to all eligible salaried and fee-paid judicial office holders from 2022, with those in office when the scheme is introduced being automatically enrolled unless they opt out.

From April 2022, the JPS 2022 will be the only scheme in which judges can accrue benefits, and the Judicial Pension Scheme 1993 (JUPRA), its fee-paid equivalent, Fee-Paid Judicial Pension Scheme (FPJPS), and the New Judicial Pension Scheme 2015 (NJPS) will be frozen to future accruals.

The government stated that all benefits accrued in the predecessor schemes would be protected.

It is seeking to amend the Public Service Pensions Act 2013, which is currently being considered by parliament, to allow for the creation of the JPS 2022 and the closure of the previous schemes.

The consultation has proposed that the JPS 2022 will be a tax-unregistered scheme, meaning that benefits accrued will not count towards the annual allowance or lifetime allowance.

A uniform contribution rate of 4.26 per cent has been proposed, with judges in service before April 2022 allowed to opt for a lower contribution rate of 3 per cent for three years, in exchange for a commensurate reduction in their accrual rate from 2.5 per cent to 2.42 per cent.

The accrual rate will be 2.5 per cent, the same as JUPRA/FPJPS, although the new scheme will not provide an automatic lump sum as was available in JUPRA/FPJPS.

However, members will be given the option to commute some of their pension in exchange for a lump sum.

The JPS 2022 will not limit the number of years a judge can accrue pensionable service, unlike JUPRA/FPJPS, which limited accrued service to 20 years.

The consultation will run until 8 October 2021.

The government published its response to its consultation on reforming judges' pensions in February 2021 to address the age discrimination identified by McCloud, with the scheme participated in an ‘options exercise’, rather than a ‘deferred choice’ like the rest of the public sector.

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