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MoJ challenge fails appeal on pay of part-time judges

22nd Jul 2016

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has failed in its attempt to impose a cap on pay for part-time judges writing up longer cases.

The department had claimed that part-time judges would be overcompensated under a system where they are paid an additional fee of two-thirds of the daily fee for each day’s sitting. However, in Ministry of Justice v Burton & Anor, the claimants stated that they were less favourably treated with respect to the way they were paid for writing up judgments when compared with full-time colleagues.

The employment tribunal and employment appeal tribunal had already made a decision in favour of the part-time judges.

In an appeal, the MoJ said that the failure to make any specific adjustment for long cases was ‘perverse’, and called for tapering or some form of cap to be imposed to limit the amount recoverable.

However, Lord Justice Elias ruled that the MoJ had not made a strong enough case to compel the tribunal to review its decision.

“I do not think it can conceivably be said [that the tribunal] reached a perverse conclusion in failing to treat long cases differently,” he said. “It is quite impossible to say that the judge erred in refusing to review his decision and there was no error by the EAT in upholding his ruling.”