£1m rise in cost of judges' lodgings

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The Independent Online

The cost to the public of accommodating judges in luxurious private lodgings with their servants, smoking rooms, wine cellars and even a tennis court has risen by almost £1m in the past year.

The cost to the public of accommodating judges in luxurious private lodgings with their servants, smoking rooms, wine cellars and even a tennis court has risen by almost £1m in the past year.

The taxpayer must now find an annual £5.6m – or £900 for every night a judge spends away from home, compared with £728 18 months ago.

The steep overall rise threatens the future of the 32 historic judges' lodgings in England and Wales.

Earlier this year, the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, committed the Government to keeping judges' lodging available after a review concluded that they provided value for money. But yesterday a minister said that a final decision would be postponed until the Government had responded in full to Lord Justice Auld's report of the criminal justice system.

The most expensive lodgings work out at more than £2,000 a night, a rate that exceeds most luxury hotel bills. Among the most expensive is Carr Manor in Leeds, which cost £402,000 to maintain in 1998. The penthouse flat was occupied for only five weeks, costing £1,800 a night.