Exclusive: High Court and Court of Appeal judges’ salaries upped by 11%
Younger judges will be handed a “non-pensionable and taxable” bonus this year to make up for the fact they’ll lose thousands of pounds under a new pension scheme.
Sources tell us younger, less experienced judges considered under the new pension scheme will be £25,000 worse off than their older, more experienced colleagues.
Unsurprisingly, the judiciary wasn’t very happy about this and brought a case to the employment tribunal. The judges, led by Master McCloud, argued that the government’s pension plans directly discriminated against them based on their age. They also claimed indirect discrimination on the grounds of gender and race, because younger judges tend to be more diverse.
The judges were successful at the tribunal, and now comes a “major review” of judicial salaries. Pending the completion of this, however, younger judges will be handed some extra cash to keep them sweet.
According to a message published on the judiciary’s intranet, Lord Chancellor Liz Truss:
[H]as written to the Lord Chief Justice saying that a non-pensionable and taxable, temporary Recruitment and Retention Allowance of 11% of salary (the “RRA”) will be introduced for those High Court Judges (“HCJs”) and Court of Appeal Judges in the new Judicial Pension Scheme 2015 (“NJPS”).
What does this mean in money terms? High Court judges are currently paid £179,768, so with this £19,774 bonus included they’re set to earn £199,542. As for Court of Appeal judges, they’re paid £204,695. Factor in their bonus of £22,516 and they’re looking at a hefty £227,211 salary this year.
This news comes at a time the judiciary is struggling to fill its benches with new recruits.
Last year, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, used his annual report to parliament to highlight the serious concerns he has about this. Describing the problem as “extremely urgent”, he noted that in two recent rounds of recruitment for the High Court, not all the vacancies were filled.
It’s hoped this bonus will act as a sweetener for aspiring judges. The intranet message continues:
The Lord Chancellor said she recognised that a fair and effective remuneration scheme was critical to the continued attraction and retention of high calibre judges.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said:
It is absolutely paramount that we get the right people into the High Court, which also offers a crucial pipeline into the higher judiciary. We are introducing a temporary, targeted allowance to make sure we attract the very brightest talent and help stop our exceptional judges from leaving early.
Read the full message:
Message from the Chancellor of the High Court: Announcement of Recruitment & Retention Allowance
The Lord Chancellor has written to the Lord Chief Justice saying that a non-pensionable and taxable, temporary Recruitment and Retention Allowance of 11% of salary (the “RRA”) will be introduced for those High Court Judges (“HCJs”) and Court of Appeal Judges in the new Judicial Pension Scheme 2015 (“NJPS”). The RRA will be paid pending the report of the Senior Salaries Review Board on its Major Review of Judicial Salaries, expected in June 2018.
The Lord Chancellor said she recognised that a fair and effective remuneration scheme was critical to the continued attraction and retention of high calibre judges, and that she fully understood the current concerns around pay and pensions. She accepted that there had been an impact on recruitment and retention of HCJs. She was therefore introducing “a targeted allowance to encourage new talent to apply for the High Court and to discourage our existing, exceptional judges from leaving the bench early”.
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