One of the country’s district court judges claimed over €50,000 in expenses last year, latest figures show.
Overall, €1.6m was spent by judges on travel, subsistence, and judicial clothing last year.
In total, €41,407 was spent on judicial dress. This includes wigs and gowns.
In total, the country’s supreme court, high court, circuit court, and district court judges spent €673,318 on travel.
Last night, the Courts Service said the cost of travel and accommodation had decreased by one third over the past four years. Over the same period, there had been a 40% increase in court business.
The figures show that one district court judge received €33,575 in subsistence and an additional €16,497 in travel.
The second-highest claiming judge sought €11,402 in travel expenses and €29,419 in subsistence payments. In total, this district court judge claimed €40,841 in expenses last year.
District judges claim a salary of €147,000 per year. Last year, the 64 judges also claimed €955,888 in expenses. The judges’ identities were not supplied by the Courts Service.
Salaries for judges range from €295,916 for the chief justice to €177,554 for a circuit court judge. High court judges earn €243,000 a year.
Expenses claims were highest in the district courts due to the number of judges and cases.
A total of €955,888 was spent in the district courts, €551,723 in the circuit courts and €119,549 in the High Court. Just €9,766 was spent in the Supreme Court.
According to a Courts Service spokesman: “The cost of travel and accommodation for the country’s judges has dropped by one third over the past four years. The savings are as a result of a general 25% reduction in travel and subsistence rates and a general re-organisation of court venues in districts across the country — the first in 40 years — which resulted in far less travel within large court districts.”
The number of judges increased from 131 in 2006 to 146 last year.
Expenses paid for the purchase of judges’ clothing dropped by almost 50% to €41,000. This figure will fall further as it is no longer obligatory for judges to wear wigs and gowns.
According to the Courts Service, 95% of travel and subsistence claims made by judges are because they have to stay in locations away from home so court cases can be heard locally.
“Judges’ travel and subsistence costs are determined by the number of court sittings and the number of judges assigned — both of which have increased in recent years,” the spokesman said.
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