independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Judge got €45k for expenses as District Courts clock up €1m bill

A JUDGE was paid €45,000 in travel and accommodation expenses last year – as new figures show District Court travel costs amounted to €1m last year.

The figures show a Circuit Court judge also received €30,000 in expenses for the same period.

However, the analysis from the Courts Service shows that the District Court cost €1m in travel expenses in total last year, as the largest and most geographically dispersed service in the courts system.

Meanwhile, the cost of the judiciary has dropped by almost a third in the past six years, despite an increase in the number of serving judges.

The overall cost of the service is around 30pc lower than in 2008, with a 39pc saving in the cost of accommodation and a 10pc reduction in travel costs from judges in the Circuit and District Courts.

A spokesperson for the Court Services said the savings come at a time of "substantial increases" in the work of the courts and an increase in the number of judges from previous years.

He said almost all of the costs were related to bringing courts and justice to local areas and that the savings in costs were made despite the number of judges increasing from 131 in 2006 to 152 last year.

SAVINGS

The total cost of the service stood at €1.72m last year, compared with €2.43m in 2008.

The savings reflect a general 25pc reduction in travel and subsistence rates paid, along with the ongoing general re-organisation of court venues in districts across the country.

The spokesperson said 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.

"In this regard, we have always achieved considerably reduced rates," he said.

Travel costs for Supreme Court judges stood at just €16,000 last year, since judges are not required to travel for court sittings regularly.

The High Court travel costs were €121,000, given that it sits regularly outside Dublin. The lowest payment in expenses to an individual judge was €80, while the highest was €9,500.

At the Circuit Court, which sits every court day in venues across the country, the overall cost in expenses was €560,000.

The District Court cost €1m last year to provide judges with travel and accommodation, with the lowest cost given to an individual judge being €900 and the highest €45,000.

Irish Independent

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