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Supreme Court Chief Justice: judges get only 37% of what they should

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Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ivars Bickovics

Currently judges in Latvia earn about 37% of what they actually should, if there had not been the irregularities found by the Constitutional Court and the salaries were not frozen, says Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (SC) Ivars Bickovics (Bičkovičs).

Judges are not complaining about the amount of the salaries, they are not asking for an increase either. The drop has been considerable, but the judges are not asking for more than others have, Bickovics said to the newspaper Neatkarīgā Rīta Avīze.

Both the Latvian Judges Associations, Prosecutors Association, the Plenum of the Supreme Court and the majority of the Judicial Council understand the existing economical situation and the necessity for solidarity, but what they are fighting for is that the cuts are implemented within the current system’s framework, as it is flexible enough and functioning well. Judges do not object to the salary limit at the extent of 73% until 2012, says SC Chief Justice.

He believes there are no arguments about the fact that the economic crisis is short-term, so should the salary cuts be, while judges remuneration inclusion into the single-salary system does not suggest «for the time being».

October last year, when the idea appeared, that we judges like all state officials, should be included into the single-salary system – SC Plenum – judges general meeting – made a special decision that it is not right, points out Bickovics.

The SC Chief Justice could not name a particular sum judges should get, pointing out there is a condition judges remuneration cannot be cut while he or she is in office. Judges should feel independent, including materially, they should be able to satisfy their basic needs.

Judges in Latvia did not experience the «fat years» as the reform was not completed, which was one of the reasons for SC decision in 2009. If there was a line from which to cut, judges were put way behind it. If we had been on the line, alright – let’s cut salaries according to the principle of solidarity, suggests Bickovics.


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