The cost of travel and accommodation for judges has fallen by 30% in the past six years despite a significant increase in the courts’ work and the number of judges.
According to the Courts Service, the cost of accommodation and subsistence for judges fell by 39% between 2008 and 2013, while the cost of transport fell 10% over the same period.
“The overall costs have dropped by 30% from the €2,433,000 required in 2008, down to €1,721,000 last year,” a courts spokesman said.
He said the savings in costs were made while the actual number of judges increased from 131 in 2006 to 152 last year and the work of the courts remained busy and active.
“Seven additional judicial positions were filled last year,” he said.
He said the savings also reflected:
A 25% reduction in travel and subsistence rates paid;
An ongoing re-organisation of court venues in districts across the country meaning far less travel within large court districts, and a freeing-up of court time to hear more cases.
Furthermore it would appear travelling judges will now only be accommodated in hotels offering the best rates.
“The Courts Service has always sought value for money in procuring suitable accommodation for senior judges when they work away from the Four Courts on court business,” a spokesman said.
“In this regard we have always achieved considerably reduced rates. Notwithstanding this fact, a review took place back in 2008, of the hotels used for accommodation for Supreme and High Court judges on circuit — taking into account the economic circumstances in which we are operate. This resulted in a further reduction in the rates being charged and in the use of an increased number of hotels where more competitive rates were offered.”
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