State salaries for judges fell 1.7% to €27.8m in 2011
LEGAL BILL:THE PAY bill for the State’s 153 judges stood at €27.8 million last year, a fall of 1.7 per cent on 2010 but an increase of 16 per cent on 2008, the year in which the crisis in the public finances began.
Late last year, voters supported a referendum to change the Constitution so that judicial pay could be cut. Judges had refused to accept reductions in pay along with other public sector employees by invoking a clause in the Constitution designed to protect the independence of the judiciary.
The Chief Justice, currently Ms Justice Susan Denham, who took over in mid-2011, was paid €304,974. This was unchanged on 2010, but was €30,000 higher than in 2008, when the economy went into recession.
The seven members of the Supreme Court shared €1.9 million last year, giving an average salary of almost €270,000 – a 2.7 per cent increase on 2010 and €27,000 more than in 2008.
The pay bill for 39 High Court judges, including the president of that court, came to €9.1 million last year, a fall of 1.3 per cent on 2010. Compared to 2008, however, the High Court judges’ pay bill is up by 13 per cent.
The average pay for a High Court judge last year was just under €234,000, an increase of €18,000 on 2008.
There were 39 sitting Circuit Court judges last year, including the president of that court. They were paid collectively €6.8 million. That was 3 per cent down on 2010, but 15 per cent up on 2008.
The average pay of Circuit Court judges last year was just under €175,000, an increase of more than €18,000 on 2008.
The 77 District Court judges, including that court’s president, shared €9.2 million last year. That represented a decline of 2 per cent on 2010, but an increase of more than 16 per cent on 2008.
Pensions and retirement lump sums to former judges amounted to almost €8.5 million last year.