Harabin defends salary cuts for courts

It seems the Judicial Council would like to exist on the outside of society with as much special treatment and exemptions as possible.

Following the recent, rather farcical, situation surrounding the audits that the Ministry of Finance has been trying to conduct at the Supreme Court, and the much-criticised bonuses that certain judges have received, now the Judicial Council wants to be exempt from the government proposed 10% pay cut in state administration, excepting only teachers.

Head of the council, Stefan Harabin, claims the pay cut would slow down court proceedings, and that it opens up scope for corruption (some would regard this as ironic). The council wants  judges and senior court officials to be exempt from the planned 10% salary cuts.

Harabin claims the initiative would impact just low-earning senior court clerks and other administrative functions, because the salaries of judges are determined by law, which means any cuts must come from a disciplinary court decision.“Judges will be able to defend their rights at the Constitutional Court, as was the case in the past, but we cannot forget about senior court clerks, assistants, and minutes keeepers”, Harabin added.

In contradiction, Ministry of Justice spokesman Peter Bubla told state newswire TASR that at present it is still premature to go into the specifics of planned austerity measures, as “we are still analysing and evaluating possible solutions. We view the conclusions put forward by the Judicial Council as premature.”

The Ministry of Justice is well aware, nevertheless, of the need to help judges do their work efficiently and quickly, said Bubla. Even so, it seems money is too much of a motivation in a system that is supposed to be established on a foundations of truth, justice and fairness. Who knows, maybe the court workers deserve special treatment in general, but in Slovakia that question hangs high.

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