An advocate general at the European court of justice has ruled against a challenge to the UK’s compulsory retirement age.

Equality campaigners from Heyday – part of the charity Age Concern – had argued that forcing workers to retire at the age of 65 amounted to age discrimination and launched a legal battle to have the limit scrapped.

However, the advocate general insisted that a fixed retirement age does not contravene European Union equality laws and should therefore remain in place.

Around 260 cases are on hold in employment tribunals awaiting a ruling on the issue, according to the Employment Tribunals Service.

The decision, while not binding, is likely to come as a blow to those claiming compensation as it will be seen as a key indicator of the final view likely to be taken by the European court of justice later this year.

According to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, employers must, under retirement procedures introduced in October 2006, give staff advance notice of retirement and make it clear to them that they have the right to request to work longer.