Heavier burden, lower reward

courts

Judges face greater burdens without a commensurate pay rise. The anomaly is pointed out in the latest Lord Chief Justice’s Report, laid before the House of Lords on August 3.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, noted in his report on the courts that there is an increasing burden placed on the judiciary as a result of the “many different aspects of the administration of justice” which are under “review and reform, whether in criminal justice, civil justice, family justice and indeed the workings of the tribunal system”.

“The perceptive reader will appreciate that these changes, all intended to improve the efficiency of the administration of justice without any diminution in its quality, add considerably to the burdens on the judiciary,” he said in the report, which covers the period from January 2010 to June 2012.

His report came after the 34th report of the Senior Salaries Review Board (SSRB). This had reckoned that as the result of a three-year pay freeze, the value of take-home pay has reduced by 15.9% for circuit judges, 16.5% for district judges, 17.1% for High Court judges and 18.4% for Court of Appeal judges.
Lord Judge said the period covered by his report had been a time of exceptional national difficulty.

“The administration of justice is not, and has not, been immunised from the economic crisis. The report demonstrates that in addition to their responsibilities for deciding each and every individual case which comes before the courts for decision, judges and magistrates have to make a significant contribution to the orderly administration and running of the justice system.”

He added: “Notwithstanding the concerns expressed by the SSRB about the potential impact on morale of the steady reduction in value of their terms and conditions visited on the judiciary over a number of years, judges continue to respond to and deal with these additional demands on their time.”
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