Status of judges is being denigrated – and it will not end well

Opinion: It is premature to talk about crisis but there are signs of tangible damage

Senior counsel Michael O’Higgins: “Practitioners at the top of the profession can earn more at the bar but many still relish the prospect of a new challenge.”

Senior counsel Michael O’Higgins: “Practitioners at the top of the profession can earn more at the bar but many still relish the prospect of a new challenge.”

The practicing barrister and former minister for justice, Michael McDowell, has suggested that the reduction in judge’s pay is inhibiting the best candidates from becoming judges.

Moreover, he says that a tipping point has been reached and that the quality of the bench is actually suffering. A recent article in this paper (peppered with colourful – but anonymous – quotes from barristers) provided some support for that view. Such off the record comments must be viewed with caution, not least because some critics may be harbouring a sense of grievance that their own munificence has not been adequately recognised.

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