Scotland faces crisis in recruiting new judges

From Scottish Legal News:

Less than a month after a warning by Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, that the English legal system was facing a ‘ticking time bomb’ in its failure to recruit judges, Scottish Legal News can reveal that Scotland too is facing such a crisis with top quality candidates spurning elevation to the bench.

Our enquiries among leading QCs found that most had no appetite to become judges citing hostile media coverage, lack of respect for the judiciary, relatively modest pay and pension packages, a backlog of distressing child sex abuse cases and concerns over judicial independence as well as the isolation and strenuous work load.

When incentives to enter a profession drop, the number of people seeking that profession drop as well.

The precise cost of a new judgeship

The Unified Courts of Guam have made their budget request for 2018, which includes line items for adding a new Superior Court judge.  The court system estimates that the cost of adding a new judge (which includes salary, staff, courtroom facilities, and supplies) will be $397,537.

The proposed judicial budget would make up a little over 5 percent of Guam’s overall governmental budget for 2018.

UK to review judicial salaries and working conditions

The Times of London reports that the United Kingdom’s Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) will review the pay and working conditions for the country’s judges, in light of ongoing difficulties in recruiting qualified judicial candidates.  The Times explains:

A judicial attitudes survey has found low morale among existing judges because of the erosion of their pay levels, and in particular their pension, increased administrative workload and poor working conditions.

The review, announced yesterday, will look at three areas: the judicial salary structure and whether this can be simplified; the way in which judicial leadership should be rewarded and incentivised, and judicial recruitment, retention and motivation.

The study findings are expected to be released in June 2018.

Why do we care about the net worth of Supreme Court Justices?

Late last week, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts released the annual financial disclosure reports for the Justices of the Supreme Court. It turns out that the members of the Court are wealthy, with most being millionaires several times over. This is unsurprising. Indeed, it would have been shocking if the Justices — all of whom are Ivy League graduates who enjoyed successful careers before joining the Court, and many of whom are in the late stages of their working life — had not amassed considerable wealth. Yet the news spurred a wide range of stories in the mainstream media and in the blogosphere.

Yes, they’re rich.  Why do we care?

Continue reading “Why do we care about the net worth of Supreme Court Justices?”