Judges who earn £100k-a-year feel 'under-valued' in a justice system that's 'unaffordable' for most

Lord Chief Justice says judges 'feel that the burdens of work imposed on them have increased'

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The Independent Online

A large number of judges feel like they are not “valued or appreciated”, the Lord Chief Justice has warned, despite salaries of £100,000 or more.

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, who earns in excess of £240,000, said judges’ pay had been reduced once inflation was taken into account in recent years, The Daily Telegraph reported.

While he accepted that members of the judiciary were “well-paid in comparison to most people”, he said there was a “widespread feeling of not being valued or appreciated for their work”.

“Judges, in common with many other people, feel that the burdens of work imposed on them have increased,” he added.

“For example, they are having to handle an ever-increasing quantity of challenging and emotionally charged cases in family and crime, as well as an increase in litigants in person.”

In his annual report to parliament, Lord Thomas also warned that the justice system in England and Wales was becoming too expensive for the majority of the public.

“Our system of justice has become unaffordable to most. In consequence there has been a considerable increase of litigants in person for whom our current court system is not really designed,” he said.

“No satisfactory means of funding the provision of our system of justice has yet been achieved.”

The shadow Justice Secretary, Lord Falconer, said that under the current Government “access to justice is out of reach for all but the most wealthy”.

“Access to legal help and advice is a cornerstone of the rule of law and the mark of a decent society,” he said.

“Yet despite their warm words, the Tories’ assault on legal aid has left many of most vulnerable people in our society to cope on their own.

“It is high time ministers woke up to this issue, starting with bringing forward the review of the impacts of their reforms.”