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Judiciary to receive a pay rise of 2 per cent

Review finds recruitment problems arising from deteriorating conditions of service

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, David Gauke, has confirmed that members of the judiciary will receive a pay increase of 2% in 2018/19, which is the biggest pay rise for judges in nearly 10 years. This award will be backdated to April 2018.

The Lord Chancellor has cited the findings of a Major Review of the judicial salary structure though he has declined to implement its recommendation of an increase of 2.5%.

The Review found that the judiciary has encountered recruitment problems which are principally occurring because the conditions of service for a judge have become much less attractive to potential applicants. Changes to tax and pensions mean that the total net remuneration for a new High Court Judge is worth £80,000 less than it was ten years ago (a 36 per cent decrease); for a new Circuit Judge, it is £49,000 less (a 30 per cent decrease); and for a new District Judge, it is £29,000 less (a 21 per cent decrease).

In addition, factors other than pay have been affecting recruitment. These include inadequate administrative and IT support for judges in the courts, a significant increase in workload, inflexible working patterns, inadequate rewards for judges taking on leadership roles, and a large-scale breakdown in trust in the government. Many of these factors have been deteriorating over time. In the last Judicial Attitude Survey (JAS), only 2 per cent of judges in England and Wales said they felt valued by government.

The Review noted that those who do join the judiciary are motivated by a challenging job and by providing a valuable public service. These expectations are generally fulfilled.

The problem, according to the Review, 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 review considers that judicial role needs to be made more attractive in order to recruit high quality legal professionals as judges.

For the Secretary of State's statement, click here. For the Review, click here.

28/10/18