Judiciary received salary increase of €12,000 last year

Information tabled in Parliament this evening shows that members of the judiciary received a generous salary increase and new allowances by virtue of an agreement reached last year

The judiciary received a generous salary increase last year
The judiciary received a generous salary increase last year

Members of the judiciary received an annual salary increase of €12,000 and a new yearly allowance of €9,000 after an agreement with government last year.

The agreement was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday by Justice Minister Owen Bonnici, who was answering a question by Opposition MP Karol Aquilina.

The agreement concluded in July last year saw the salaries of the judiciary increase by 27% of Scale 1 of the public service. In 2018, Scale 1 carried a salary of €44,782.

The agreement was backdated to 1 January 2018. 

The Chief Justice now earns an annual salary of €63,814 (142.5% of Scale 1), a judge earns €56,873 (127%) and a magistrate earns €50,156 (112%).

In addition to existing allowances, all members of the judiciary started receiving a new annual allowance of €9,000 intended for “training, holding afternoon sittings when required and the obligatory use of a diary for civil cases”. This allowance was introduced incrementally over a three year period.

Judges and magistrates also received a one-off allowance of €1,000 last year to install security apparatus for their private residence.

The agreement included a commitment on all sides to give “special attention” to pending cases with a target of reducing the backlog by half by 2020.

The agreement was signed by Judge Joe Zammit McKeon, who was president of the association of judges and magistrates at the time, Magistrate Francesco Depasquale, secretary of the association, and Johan Galea, permanent secretary at the Justice Ministry.

In his parliamentary reply, Bonnici introduced the agreement with a lengthy preamble justifying the increases by referring to the Bonello Commission report of 2013.

The Bonello Commission was set up by the government shortly after the 2013 election to propose wide-ranging reforms to the judicial system.

Chaired by former European Court of Human Rights Judge Giovanni Bonello, the commission called for higher salaries for members of the judiciary to serve as an attraction to prospective candidates.

Bonnici noted that in 2011 members of the judiciary had boycotted certain national events after government was reluctant to meet their claims for improved salaries and conditions.

An agreement was eventually brokered but the changes were not deemed to go far enough, which prompted the current administration to negotiate a new agreement, Bonnici said.

More in National