Lord Justice Gross, who sits in the Court of Appeal, has said he believes the judiciary needs a pay rise. Many have raised eyebrows at his comments, pointing out that he himself is paid more than £200,000 a year.
However, whilst this would be a fortune in many industries, it lags well behind PEP packages, particularly in leading firms. PwC's Annual Law Firms' Survey 2017 found the the Top 10 firms' average PEP to be £1,043,000 - over five times the fee a senior judge commands.
It might be said that judges are public servants, funded by the taxpayer, and therefore should not expect to compete with private sector pay packages. Indeed, the Prime Minister earns only £143,911 by comparison.
However, amidst the current concern over the lack of solicitors becoming judges, it is reasonable to conclude the disparity in pay prospects may be a significant contributing factor. If we wish to encourage more solicitors to apply for judicial appointment, a review of judicial pay and compensation may indeed be warranted.
He said: "No one goes into the Judiciary to make money. But there comes a point when pay is so far out of line with the private sector market that it endangers recruitment – of the very best – and retention. There is a danger in relying unduly on goodwill. "More than the money, there is the perception that these issues reflect government not valuing the Judiciary – and even Judges do take note, as recent surveys of judicial morale have so clearly shown."