A Judges Remuneration and Pensions Commission report, which was tabled in the House of Assembly yesterday, recommended a six percent pay raise for judges in the first year, and a three percent raise for each year after.
The report said the annual salary increase is necessary to keep up with the inflation rate.
Currently, the chief justice’s annual salary is $120,253, with an additional $63,000 allocated for housing, $15,000 for responsibility, $10,000 for their children’s education and $10,000 for official entertainment.
The raise would increase the chief justice’s salary to $127,468 in the first year and $135,231 within three years, but would not increase any of the other allowances.
The proposal would also see the salary for the president of the Court of Appeal increase from $115,902 to $122,856 within one year, and to $130,338 within three years.
The Court of Appeal president currently receives a $61,000 housing allowance, as well as $12,500 for responsibility, $10,000 for their children’s education and $10,000 for official entertainment.
There were no recommendations to increase any of the allowances.
A senior justice of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal would see a salary increase from $113,219 to $120,012 in the first year, and to $127,321 within three years.
Salaries for Supreme Court justices would increase from $106,041 to $112,403 in the first year, and to $119,248 within three years.
Senior justices and justices receive housing allowances of $50,000, as well as a responsibility allowance of $10,000, an education allowance of $10,000 and an allowance of $10,000 for official entertainment.
The report did not recommend any changes in their allowances.
However, it did recommend a 25 percent contribution to judges’ healthcare.
The report stated that it is vital that judges are compensated adequately to attract the best candidates for the positions.
The commission also noted that it was important that judges’ compensation be sufficient to reflect the importance of the judiciary as an independent co-equal branch of government to ensure judges will be fearless, independent, incorruptible and efficient in the execution of their duties.
“This commission understands that in the real world it is highly unlikely that the average earnings of judges will be able to compare with the average earnings at the bar for top lawyers,” the report read.