Case details

Williams (Appellant) v The Trustees of Swansea University Pension and Assurance Scheme and another (Respondents)

Case ID: UKSC 2017/0141

Case summary


The correct meaning of ‘unfavourable treatment’ under s.15 of the Equality Act 2010 and the correct approach to justification in that section.


The Appellant suffers from Tourettes’ Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and depression. The parties agree that the Appellant is ‘disabled’ for the purposes of s.6 of the Equality Act 2010. In June 2013, following an unsuccessful operation and several attempted medical treatments he was granted early ill health retirement (‘IHR’), aged 38. The Appellant had worked full-time hours for the first 10 years of his 13-year career at Swansea University. By June 2013 he was working half of his full-time hours. Under the University’s pension scheme, a member who is granted IHR becomes entitled to immediate payment of benefits as follows:

  1. benefits accrued as a result of actual pensionable service up to the date of IHR are paid without any actuarial reduction for early receipt. These are calculated on a ‘career average’ salary basis; and
  2. benefits are then enhanced on the basis of salary at actual retirement date but also in respect of a further period of deemed pensionable service from actual retirement date to Normal Pensionable Date (i.e. 67 years), with no actuarial reduction for early receipt. The Appellant complains about (ii). He argues that he was treated unfavourably and discriminated by the adoption of final salary, namely, the Appellant’s part-time salary, as the metric for calculating the enhanced benefit. The Appellant contends that
  3. should be calculated on the basis of a full-time equivalent salary because he would have been working full-time had he not been disabled.
Judgment appealed

[2017] EWCA Civ 1008



Andrew Williams

  1. The Trustees of Swansea University Pension and Assurance Scheme,
  2. Swansea University



Lord Kerr, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hodge, Lady Black, Lord Kitchin

Hearing start date

16 Oct 2018

Hearing finish date

16 Oct 2018

Judgment hand down date

17 Dec 2018

Watch hearing
16 Oct 2018 Morning session Afternoon session