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Judges to lose thousands in public sector pension shake-up

Judges' pensions will be cut by over £10,000 a year and they will lose a generous lump sum under new proposals.

Judges to lose thousands in public sector pension shake-up

Britain’s judges will be forced to take a cut in their pension as the government tries to rein in the cost of public sector pensions.

The government has already warned public sector workers that they will have to work longer and contribute more to their pensions and judges will not escape the cuts.

A high court judge who has served for 20 years currently receives a pension of £86,500 a year and a lump sum of £173,000. Under the new plans this will fall to £75,000 with no lump sum.

A circuit judge who sits in the crown and county courts can expect to receive a pension of £64,000 a year after serving for 20 years plus a lump sum of £144,000, but that amount will fall to £55,000 a year and the lump sum will be scrapped.

Justice secretary Chris Grayling said the judiciary should not be ‘immune’ from the wider public sector pension reforms. Judges have only just started contributing to their pensions from April 2012, before that date they did not need to make contributions.

‘Our judges are  rightly held in high regard, but at a time when there is widespread pension reform across the public sector the judiciary cannot be immune, particularly given the exceptional economic circumstances,’ said Grayling.

‘The new scheme still provides a good way of saving for retirement and will remain among the most generous in the public sector.’

There is speculation that the judges’ dissatisfaction with the reforms could lead to a legal battle and lord chief justice Lord Judge said at a select committee last week that although the judges were ‘aware that the country is broke’ the changes ‘will not be very welcome’.

He added: ‘It’s a very serious and delicate issue.’

19 comments so far. Why not have your say?

mark jukes

Feb 06, 2013 at 15:13

When you read figures like this it makes you realise just how much the public sector have been feathering their beds at our expense all these years

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Feb 06, 2013 at 15:13

I'd be happy with a reduction in pension to GBP 75K p.a, after 20 years' work , esp. if I hadn't had to pay in anything towards it.......(see body of report).....sheeesh !

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Mike Moss

Feb 06, 2013 at 15:15

"Judges have only just started contributing to their pensions from April 2012, before that date they did not need to make contributions."

So that's where all my tax money has gone (and yours, and yours, and yours etc etc ad infinitum.

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Feb 06, 2013 at 15:21

"among the most generous in the public sector.’

What is the most generous then??

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Peter Paddon

Feb 06, 2013 at 15:36

If I was the Government, I wouldn't expect to "win" any judicial reviews or other Court cases in the short term if overseen by a judge due to retire in the next few years.

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Feb 06, 2013 at 15:55

"among the most generous in the public sector."

I hope that the rest of the public sector pensions which are at this level are under review also, and that when it comes to voting, people will remember who made, a few years ago, so many unsustainable promises for the future.

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Feb 06, 2013 at 16:03

What about MP's pensions, are they to be reduced?

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Feb 06, 2013 at 16:10

I am in the public sector and these numbers astonish me never mind others

£85k - I can only dream of that as a wage nevermind a pension ,,,,

Cant blame folk in the private getting so mad. It annoys me as well.

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Feb 06, 2013 at 16:47


There was something in here (Citywire) earlier about how GPs pensions increased by about a third to £60k in a very short space of time. Something to do with their success in ticking a box or two, a requirement imposed by Mr Brown.

As you say, pay at that level - while in work - would be nice. It is no wonder the country struggles to reduce the structural deficit. It has been created to grow, over time, as the very highly paid public servants retire. 30 years plus of pension liability at £60k or £85k per annum, is a huge cost to the taxpayer when multiplied by the number in receipt or who will be in receipt of such an amount annually.

I am glad that you recognise that many of the comments on this subject are absolutely not aimed at every public sector worker.

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Mike the red

Feb 06, 2013 at 16:49

Zoomer, you need to ask:

"among the most generous in the public sector.’

What is the most generous then??

The MPs of course, and still they lie and cheat their way through life.

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Feb 06, 2013 at 16:58

Also need to ask:

At what age does any particular group start to receive the pension?

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mark jukes

Feb 06, 2013 at 17:10

I was aiming my comment at all public sector workers!!

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Feb 06, 2013 at 18:08

Does the public sector employ actuaries?

If they do were they consulted before the judges were given their original pensions?

Did any public sector actuary ever say " excuse me sir but my analysis seems to suggest the country cannot actually afford these pensions you are proposing"

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Dave Kempton

Feb 06, 2013 at 18:52

There's a big difference between public sector workers like judges, who are part of the aristocracy and your average council worker. The sort of pensions that need close scrutiny are M.P.s and the civil service, traditionally staffed by those born with the silver spoon in their mouths.

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Paul Eden

Feb 06, 2013 at 19:01

I suppose it does no good to ask who it was that decided that judges did not need to contribute towards a pension - like the rest of us. And were to receive such large pensions with accompanying lump sums!

No doubt we would be told that correct procedures were followed and all rules complied with. Those responsible live in a world wholly different from ours. They are the patricians and we...dare we say that word?....merely the plebs!

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Anonymous 2 needed this 'off the record'

Feb 06, 2013 at 20:12

It always make me laugh when I hear comments re: public sector workers pensions. I've recently had to pay legal fees of £300/hr, self employed plumbers at £350/day and £200+ for one hours dental work. I'm sure these prices compensate for my £8k pension after 30+ years in the public sensor.

I also paid tax at source and haven't had the opportunity for 'cash in hand jobs' , have enough savings for a 'offshore tax haven', or get paid a massive bonus for bringing the country to its knees.

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colin wilson

Feb 06, 2013 at 22:37

Just what superior knowledge do these bewigged judges have over us mere mortals that justify these obscene pensions ,not to memtion their wages?

The legal proffesion in this country thrives on human rights issues and fleecing the general public. They are the real criminals in our society.

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Feb 07, 2013 at 01:48

It is best to concentrate on the system rather than the individual. If you were a judge you would convince yourself you were worth it and certainly wouldn't be returning your pay. They should be top people and should get good pay, but I approve of the cuts. I have some experience of judges having been involved many years ago in a protracted divorce. The trouble is that once you are a judge you are watertight. They are treated like gods at every level. Solicitors and barristers grovel in a way that I thought was absurd. Nothing like American TV! One of my judges was renowned for his awfulness. Because the public are not admitted to matrimonial cases no one is going to know what goes on. The solicitors and barristers are not going to risk their careers by whistle blowing, and criminals and people like me are not going to be believed. The spotlight of publicity has been shone on bankers. One day I hope the public will find out that the legal system is for the practitioners not the customers.

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Rose G

Feb 07, 2013 at 11:04

While I try to be a law abiding citizen in most instances, I now consider our laws to be assinine, decided on by asses - it pays hugely to be an ass in Britain!

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