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A way to make the judges pay


McDave

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Jul 10, 2008
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The constitution prevents the State reducing the pay of the judiciary. However, the relevant provision is correctly intended to stop politicians interfering with the independence of judges. Clearly those circumstances do not apply to the current economic crisis. As judges are part of the same class of overpaid top public servants as politicians, consultants and so forth, it is their duty to suffer pay-cuts (or however you want to describe the reductions) across-the-board.

I'd suggest the following immediate action by the government:

1. Specify in public an amount judge's pay will have to be reduced by. Say 10%, applying to all judges.

2. If even a single judge refuses to cooperate, or takes a challenge against the State, then the Government will set in motion a referendum to suspend the application of Article 35 for a period of no more than 12 months, thus enabling them to implement the pay cut through legislation.

***

That should get the message across to those who refuse to see common sense and see this as some kind of infringement of rights. Of course this kind of task would have been greatly simplified had the government from the outset applied these kinds of cuts to themselves and then to others overpaid by the public purse. But that shouldn't be allowed to detract from the duties of a profession which should above all be informed by ethics, fairness and social objectivity.
 


corelli

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Jun 13, 2007
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4,478
The constitution prevents the State reducing the pay of the judiciary. However, the relevant provision is correctly intended to stop politicians interfering with the independence of judges. Clearly those circumstances do not apply to the current economic crisis. As judges are part of the same class of overpaid top public servants as politicians, consultants and so forth, it is their duty to suffer pay-cuts (or however you want to describe the reductions) across-the-board.

I'd suggest the following immediate action by the government:

1. Specify in public an amount judge's pay will have to be reduced by. Say 10%, applying to all judges.

2. If even a single judge refuses to cooperate, or takes a challenge against the State, then the Government will set in motion a referendum to suspend the application of Article 35 for a period of no more than 12 months, thus enabling them to implement the pay cut through legislation.

***

That should get the message across to those who refuse to see common sense and see this as some kind of infringement of rights. Of course this kind of task would have been greatly simplified had the government from the outset applied these kinds of cuts to themselves and then to others overpaid by the public purse. But that shouldn't be allowed to detract from the duties of a profession which should above all be informed by ethics, fairness and social objectivity.
So you would suspend the clause protecting the independence of the Judiciary from the Executive when the time frame when all judges have in which to accept the pension levy still has ten months to go?? You might suspend judgement until such time has elapsed.

Have you ever ran for election for FF by any chance??
 

McDave

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So you would suspend the clause protecting the independence of the Judiciary from the Executive when the time frame when all judges have in which to accept the pension levy still has ten months to go?? You might suspend judgement until such time has elapsed.
The clause exists to protect judicial independence. It's temporary suspension would be to enable judicial pay to be corrected in alignment with other parts of the public sector, not to interfere with their functions. Of course, the judiciary could (sensibly) avert such a course of action by agreeing as a corporate body to the requisite cut on a permanent basis.

There should be a corporate response to this issue, not a contrived voluntary surrendering of donations by individuals, as if they were somehow doing everyone else a favour. We have enough opaque behaviour in this country without institutionalising behind-the-scenes formulae for public servants.
 

corelli

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The clause exists to protect judicial independence. It's temporary suspension would be to enable judicial pay to be corrected in alignment with other parts of the public sector, not to interfere with their functions. Of course, the judiciary could (sensibly) avert such a course of action by agreeing as a corporate body to the requisite cut on a permanent basis.

There should be a corporate response to this issue, not a contrived voluntary surrendering of donations by individuals, as if they were somehow doing everyone else a favour. We have enough opaque behaviour in this country without institutionalising behind-the-scenes formulae for public servants.
I am not being smart nor mean to offend but do you have any knowledge of the Judiciary or their legal status in this Country? They are INDIVIDUAL CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS (High and Supreme Court only) and there is no way that there can be imposed on them any curial response unless they are so willing. The provision can be unfair but it is the price we pay for an independent judiciary.
 

uriah

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I am not being smart nor mean to offend but do you have any knowledge of the Judiciary or their legal status in this Country? They are INDIVIDUAL CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS (High and Supreme Court only) and there is no way that there can be imposed on them any curial response unless they are so willing. The provision can be unfair but it is the price we pay for an independent judiciary.
Do they pay income-tax, health leavy, pension contributions, prsi?
 

corelli

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Do they pay income-tax, health leavy, pension contributions, prsi?
Yes. The provision only relates to changing matters whilst individual judges are serving.
 
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I am not being smart nor mean to offend but do you have any knowledge of the Judiciary or their legal status in this Country? They are INDIVIDUAL CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS (High and Supreme Court only) and there is no way that there can be imposed on them any curial response unless they are so willing. The provision can be unfair but it is the price we pay for an independent judiciary.
AND it is a price worth paying.

IF you go down the route of interfering with judges then first it will be about a trivial thing then something even more trivial and very soon you will be forcing judges to act the way the government wants or they pay the penalty.

Idiots who want the judges independence destroyed don't understand the cost of them losing that independence.
 
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The constitution prevents the State reducing the pay of the judiciary..........
When changes in income tax or tax bands are made do such chages apply to the judiciary. If so how come the constitutionality of such increases has not been challenged?
Have any members of the judiciary ever challenged the changing of income tax rates (upwards) or income tax bands over the years?
 

McDave

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I am not being smart nor mean to offend but do you have any knowledge of the Judiciary or their legal status in this Country? They are INDIVIDUAL CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS (High and Supreme Court only) and there is no way that there can be imposed on them any curial response unless they are so willing. The provision can be unfair but it is the price we pay for an independent judiciary.
They are paid by the state. The state has an overblown paybill due to FF's profligacy, and the judiciary benefitted from this largesse. Like others, they also have to give up some of those gains.

I understand quite a lot about the legal system. Maybe not as much as you (I've picked up from earlier posts, if I'm not mistaken, that you're in some way involved in lawbiz). But it's important to emphasise that the position of the judiciary is set out in the constitution, and accordingly at the by or leave of the people. It is entirely within the rights of the people to make changes to the constitution (and to the status of the judiciary, however ill-advised). And it is perfectly legitimate for the State to pose the question for them to answer.

If I were a judge, I wouldn't be at all invoking my status and issuing hands-off warnings to the politicians (and by extension the public). If the Chief Justice can stick his oar in today, he can just as easily get the good word to the girls and boys in the superior courts.
 

McDave

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When changes in income tax or tax bands are made do such chages apply to the judiciary. If so how come the constitutionality of such increases has not been challenged?
Have any members of the judiciary ever challenged the changing of income tax rates (upwards) or income tax bands over the years?
Interesting point. And much closer to the spirit of a call for a referendum if the judiciary refuses to accept a pay cut across the board. No-one's talking about interfering with the judicial role here. If it is taken that way, especially by the judiciary, they're really setting themselves up for the kind of public opprobrium that has done for the reputation of practically all the professions in this State.

They should pony up the cash systematically, and sooner rather than later. None of this waiting till tax-year end stuff.
 

corelli

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When changes in income tax or tax bands are made do such chages apply to the judiciary. If so how come the constitutionality of such increases has not been challenged?
Have any members of the judiciary ever challenged the changing of income tax rates (upwards) or income tax bands over the years?
No it does not apply to general taxation. The issue here was a temporary pension levy which the AG has apparently seen as invoking the protection. I am unconvinced that the constitutional provision ACTUALLY prohibits the application of the pension levy accross the board, including the Judiciary, but the AG has advised otherwise. They have 10 more months to comply so I think people should hold fire. This is merely a distraction from the larger picture in any event.
 

uriah

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No it does not apply to general taxation. The issue here was a temporary pension levy which the AG has apparently seen as invoking the protection. I am unconvinced that the constitutional provision ACTUALLY prohibits the application of the pension levy accross the board, including the Judiciary, but the AG has advised otherwise. They have 10 more months to comply so I think people should hold fire. This is merely a distraction from the larger picture in any event.
But the AG is a legal eagle who will probably be appointed as a judge in the future.

I do not have a legal qualification. I can certainly appreciate the need for judicial independence. But this technicality seems absurd to me. If an increase in income-tax or PRSI doesn't threaten their 'independence', why on earth should the pension levy pose a problem?

Methinks the emperor may have no clothes...and wears only a wig.
 

McDave

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TV3 News & VB

Oh God, Paul Anthony McDermott (barrister, of course) is arguing that because they take a pay cut leaving their practice behind, they are giving something back to society by becoming judges.

In total contrast, Justice Barrington is on VB right now making Uriah's and Birthday's points about the taxation end of things, and arguing the judges should pay up just like other punters.
 

He3

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Oct 1, 2008
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Donal Barrington, retired Supreme Court judge, on Nightly News with VB sees no reason why judges would not be liable to pay the levy as part of a general taxation regime. He says that he understands the AG has advised the government it would be unconstitutional but he says that advice must have given having regard to a 'combination of political and legal' factors, which he would not be privy to.

Plenty of lines to read between in the second remark. The first is clear and simple.
 

drkpower

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Jan 10, 2009
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1.Chief Justice consults with Revenue and comes up with a voluntary plan for judges to pay a levy-equivalent monthly, quarterly or yearly.
2. 2 months pass by.
3. Call for hugely fundamental changes to constitution affecting the separation of powers and independence of the judiciary to force a couple of hundred of judges to pay about €20K a head.

Over-reaction anybody.....?

I am guessing (and correct me if Im wrong), McDave, that you were unhappy with the Patriot Act in the wake of 9/11 as it was a knee-jerk and drastic imposition on civil liberties that was unnecessary and disproportionate. Do you not see how your suggestion is a hugely impractical and potentially highly dangerous sledgehammer being used to crack a distasteful nut?
 

He3

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This rubbish is classic FF/PD resentment-stirring diversion tactics.
 

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