The UK judiciary will receive a 2% across-the-board salary hike, the highest raise for the judges in a decade, according to the Daily Mail. Judges in certain courts may receive a larger raise if the Ministry of Justice follows the latest recommendations of the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB).
The SSRB says recruitment problems were principally occuring because conditions of service for a judge had become ‘much less attractive’ to potential applicants. Changes to tax and pensions meant the total net remuneration for a new High Court judge is worth £80,000 less than it was 10 years ago, £49,000 less for a circuit judge, and £29,000 less for a district judge.
The report states that those who join the judiciary are motivated by a challenging job and providing a valuable public service: ‘The problem is that potential judges from the senior ranks of the legal profession are not applying in sufficient numbers. This situation requires urgent and effective intervention. It is generally accepted that the public sector cannot match the rewards for a top QC or solicitor. However, the judicial role needs to be made more attractive in order to recruit high quality legal professionals as judges.’
The SSRB recommends that High Court judges should be paid £240,000 (a 32% increase), £165,000 for circuit judges (a 22% increase) and £117,000 for district judges (an 8% increase).
Gauke said the government will ‘carefully consider’ the SSRB’s recommendations ‘and respond in due course’. Until then, the recruitment and retention allowance for High Court judges will remain.