Expenses totalling €1.67m paid to judges last year
Five out of eight Supreme Court judges claimed annual expenses last year, while one District Court judge had expenses of more than €45,000, according to data released under the Freedom of Information Acts.
In total, €1.67 million was paid in judges’ expenses in 2012, including almost €655,000 for travel and almost €960,000 for subsistence, which may include food and accommodation. Judicial attire and incidental expenses totalled almost €60,000.
Courts Service data
The data, released by the Courts Service, shows 33 of 36 High Court judges claimed expenses last year along with five out of eight Supreme Court judges, 37 out of 38 Circuit Court judges and all 64 District Court judges.
Although the data was broken down into individual claims, it did not include the names of the judges, assigning a number to each judge instead. The Irish Times was told this was because data on expenses was personal information and there were concerns for judges’ safety.
This approach was not applied to taoisigh, ministers or other public servants for whom similar FOI applications were made by the paper.
Judges can claim a higher mileage rate for travel than that applied to the Civil Service. They can claim 70.89 cents a kilometre if they have a car with an engine size of more than 1,888 cc, with a reduced rate of 34.15 cents for annual distances of more than 6,438km. The top Civil Service rate is 59.07 cents a kilometre and 28.46 cents at the reduced rate.
At Supreme Court level, less than €10,000 was claimed by the five judges, with almost half, €4,300, claimed by one judge. This included €2,635 for subsistence, almost €850 for travel and €910 for attire and incidentals.
The largest claim made at High Court level was for more than €8,200, including €5,077 for subsistence and €1,682 for travel. The second-highest claim, of €7,200 had a low claim for travel, of €134, but included €6,111 for subsistence.
The third highest claim, of €7,100, had no travel at all and subsistence of €6,987.
At Circuit Court level, the largest claim was for more than €33,600, with €6,800 for travel and almost €26,900 for subsistence. By necessity, travel for Circuit Court judges was much greater than for judges in the higher courts, averaging at €6,100 a judge. Subsistence averaged at almost €8,170.
The largest claim by a District Court judge was €45,222. This included more than €15,000 for travel and almost €30,000 for subsistence. The average travel claim was €6,659 and €8,848 for subsistence. The subsistence rate is €121.43 a night.
There were 53 Circuit Court venues and 96 District Court venues in use outside Dublin in 2012. Some district and circuit judges are not permanently assigned to specific areas.
Instead they travel to venues around the State to cover annual leave and sick leave or to provide assistance to assigned judges. Some judges claimed no subsistence.
Almost 98 per cent of all travel expenses claimed by judges related to mileage while the balance, almost €19,000, was for taxis, car parking and other public transport.
Some €21,000 in subsistence was claimed for events outside Ireland, including judicial conferences.