Get access

The Development of EU Case-Law on Age Discrimination in Employment: ‘Will You Still Need Me? Will You Still Feed Me? When I'm Sixty-Four’


  • Elaine Dewhurst

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Postdoctoral research fellow with the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Policy in Munich funded by the MaxNetAging Research School, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany. I would like to thank Professor Dr Ulrich Becker, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Policy for his support in writing this article and Mr John Cotter, Visiting Scholar at the University of Rostock, for his many fruitful comments on the earlier draft of this article. I would also like to thank the two anonymous reviewers of this article for their insightful and helpful comments.

  • ‘When I'm Sixty-Four’ (Lennon/McCartney) © 1967 Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC.


This article addresses the development of age discrimination law in the Court of Justice and concludes that there is a marked difference in the level of discretion given to Member States in cases relating to mandatory retirement policies. The article will critique the approach of the Court of Justice to the legitimate objective test and the proportionality test in retirement cases. It will also argue that the decisions of the Court of Justice to date have all involved cases with very similar factual scenarios, and the article hypothesises how a different conclusion might be reached in cases with different factors. It also considers the impact of the Charter of Fundamental Rights on such cases. The article concludes by arguing that mandatory retirement policies may no longer be compatible with EU law and that there is a need to move towards more flexible retirement policies.