According to a recently revealed study for the Judicial Office for Scotland, three quarters of Scotland’s judges believe their pay and pensions do not reflect “what they do” (your report, 16 March). After years of grinding comfort on the frontline of austerity, the country’s judges are now in a deep fit of pique: having endured years of fingertip survival on an average salary of £188,000, they cannot take it anymore. Before 2011, their breadline existence was soothed by their non-contributory pension scheme but now, like other public servants, their retirement has to be partially funded by a cruel depletion of their modest income as judges now have to contribute to their pension.
Teachers and other public servants, have the benefit of retiring on a pension of half their salary after a mere 40 years’ service, but judges are expected to wait a full 20 years before they enjoy that perk. Their stoicism has been remarkable but now they want more recognition and reward for “what they do”.
Sometimes what they do is so poor, so inept and so untenable that frequent appeals to the UK Supreme Court are required. There, through a process of forensic rectification, the judgements of Scotland’s highest courts are overturned and justice, at last, is seen to be done.
Informed bystanders might conclude that if plumbers, builders, electricians, surveyors, teachers, bus drivers and lollipop ladies got it wrong as regularly as some of Scotland’s judges, they would be sacked. As yet, no record has been found of a judge in pursuit of jobseekers’ allowance.