Judge claimed €92k in expenses last year

ONE district court judge claimed €91,909 in expenses last year – three times the industrial wage – on top of a salary of €147,000.

The figure is part of a total of €2.3 million claimed by the judiciary in 2009 in expenses.

This included a bill of €40,138 on wigs and gowns, a rise of 53% on what was claimed last year.

One in five judges has yet to make a contribution towards the pension levy, nine months after such voluntary arrangements were available.

Judge’s salaries range from €295,000 for the Chief Justice, €243,000 for a High Court judge, to €177,554 for a Circuit Court judge.

The figures released by the Courts Service through the Freedom of Information Act show the unidentified district court judge received €43,448 in travel expenses and an additional €48,461 in subsistence.

The amount claimed is almost €40,000 higher than the next highest amount of €50,651, claimed by another district court judge.

In total, €1.34m was claimed by 64 district court judges last year.

The increase in travel expenses from €500,411 to €562,411 claimed by these judges comes in spite of the Courts Service reducing the number of court venues from 160 to 126 last year.

The figures show the highest amount claimed by a circuit court judge last year was €41,144.

The overall amount of €2.3m claimed by the 147 judges last year is down 5% on the €2.4 million claimed in 2008.

The identities of the judges are not being revealed by the Courts Service due to security reasons.

The judiciary escaped any cut on their salaries in the budget due to a provision in the Constitution that prohibits their salaries from being lowered.

In the information provided, the Courts Service state that “in some instances, expenses paid to judges include arrears from previous years”.

The organisation also explains the disparity in the amounts claimed by some circuit and district court judges.

“There were 55 circuit court venues and 126 district court venues outside of Dublin.

“The amount of travel and subsistence expenses paid to judges varies widely and is very much related to the jurisdiction within which individual judges work and the size of their areas.

“Judges based in Dublin have little travel and subsistence expenses.

“Judges assigned to larger geographical areas have substantial travel between court venues within the area.

“In addition, there are judges who are not permanently assigned to specific court district or circuits.

“These judges are assigned by the presidents of the respective courts to venues around the country to cover annual leave, sick leave and to provide assistance to assigned judges.”


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