Wednesday 21 March 2018

Lack of judgment a judicial own goal

IN an uncertain world, one certainty would seem to be that the referendum on cutting judges' pay will be carried with a handsome majority, causing waves of genteel horror in the higher reaches of the judiciary -- not so much from the financial implications as the constitutional ones.

The judges have only themselves to blame. They are right that it is far from ideal voters should be asked to approve something specifically related to judicial pay. The referendum will be closer to an infringement of judicial independence than a pay cut ever would. It does not amount to such an infringement, but it should never have come to this.

Wise councils would have made sure that the vast majority of judges quickly volunteered to share the cuts imposed on other public servants. Instead, the response was distinctly tardy. Government workers will not be impressed by the 85pc of judges that have signed up for their voluntary pension levy scheme. They will be more struck by the 15pc who have not.

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