Budget plans for next year suggest an additional billion zloty will be spent on the judiciary. The Minister of Justice has also suggested regulation is needed to improve the status of judges.
From July 1, 2008, a new statute is being enacted which will raise the artificial wage basis upon which judges’ salaries are decided.
His Honor Slawomir Rozycki from the Ministry of Justice told Gazeta Prawna, the new budget will also extend to creating more positions for support staff required in the running of the judiciary. This will include 800 judges’ associates’ positions as well as 1,500 court staff and 200 support officers. According to Rozycki, the reason behind the creation of additional job vacancies is to lessen the workload of judges, who should only be concentrating on handing down judgments and not other administrative matters. The court process is to become more efficient.
Among the new positions created, there are no plans to increase judiciary posts. The only increase in additional judges will be seen in the 293 law graduates who are completing their judicial exams and practical training.
The estimated amount spent in next year’s budget on the judiciary is 9.5 bln zloty, a 12 percent increase to this year’s budget. The budget for 2007 was one million zloty less than the predicted budget for next year.
Although the judiciary as a whole is pleased with the changes and the additional money, most claim the step is not big enough to put a stop to the large number of good judges leaving their posts.
Currently judges receive wage increases every seven years. This period will be reduced to five years as of July next year. According to Gazeta Prawna, the problem lies in wages allocated to young judges who are just starting their profession. Stanislaw Dabrowski, president of the National Judicial Council, reminds that judges who are at the start of their careers are usually in their early 30s at – an age when they are beginning to have families and major financial responsibilities. And it is this group of judges who are mostly discriminated by the wage allocation directives.
Dabrowski suggests young judges’ wages should be comparable to the average wage in the private sector.
Currently judges’ wages are decided on an artificial scale, which calculates a base wages. In previous years, this has meant judges’ wages would increase by 50 to 50 zloty per year. To solve this problem and to raise the earning power of a judge in a market, which is quickly increasing average wages across the board, is to somehow balance the wages of a judge to that of the average earning on the market.
According to judges, to retain a high level within the judiciary and to solve the chronic problem of judges leaving the bench to enter private practice, wages would have to increase to around 12,000 zloty per month.