Monday, July 5, 2010

Exorbitant judicial salaries in Ireland

The publication of the Report on Senior Salaries for 2010 in the United Kingdom provides interesting evidence of how the Irish taxpayer is once again screwed.

The following is a comparison of judicial salaries in the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom as a whole and in Northern Ireland, where special allowance is made in the case of county court judges who carry out significantly different work than their counterparts elsewhere in Great Britain – presiding over non-jury trials under the ‘Diplock’ system for dealing with terrorist cases, even though the number of such trials is lower than in the past.  But the provisions which were due to expire in July 2009 are to continue until at least July 2011.


  Ireland United Kingdom Northern Ireland
Chief Justice / Lord Chief Justice €295,916 €290,212 €259,140
President of the Supreme Court   €250,297  
President of the High Court / Chancellor of the High Court €274,779 €250,297  
High Court Judge €243,080 €209,031 €209,031
President of the Circuit Court / Recorder (of Belfast) €249,418 €167,640 €167,640
Circuit Court Judge / County Court Judge €177,554 €155,238 €167,643
President of the District Court / Senior District Judge €183,894 €146,150  
District Court Justice €147,961 €124,534 €124,534


Ireland has 147 judges – 7 in the Supreme Court; 36 in The High Court; 37 in the Circuit Court and 63 in the District Court.  The United Kingdom has 2,151 judges.  That works out as one judge for every 28,550 citizens in the UK and one judge for every 30,000 citizens in the Republic of Ireland.  The Chief Justice of Ireland was paid €295,916 last year.  The Lord Chief Justice of the United Kingdom is paid €290,000 and his counterpart in Northern Ireland is paid €259,000 while the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court is paid €173,000 - 60% less than his Irish counterpart.

Irish judges were not charged the pension levy applicable to all public servants in Ireland in 2009.  However, by October 2009 72 Irish judges made voluntary payments that amounted to €698,000 and standing order commitments amount to €45,200 per month in addition.  There is no specific ‘due date’ for these voluntary payments.

Members of the judiciary are unique insofar as they receive no incremental salary increases, nor performance related pay. 

The prevailing economic climate in the UK and Ireland has led to a healthy situation as far as the recruitment and retention of judges is concerned.

Research carried out in Britain suggests that salaries are not the most important factor in encouraging or discouraging applications.  The most unattractive feature of being a judge is the isolated nature of the role, loss of flexibility, the requirement for travel or relocation.

Judicial pensions are an attractive element in the total reward package of the judiciary and the terms of their pensions were enhanced following a High Court case in 1994.

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