This memorandum is not part of the determination, but is intended to indicate its general effect.
This determination, which is deemed to have come into force on 1 October 2010 and expires on 30 September 2011, sets the salaries and principal allowances for the Judges of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court and District Court benches (including the salary and allowance of a District Court Judge who currently holds the judicial office of chief coroner), the Employment Court, and the Maori Land Court.
In applying the statutory criteria for making the determination, the Authority took account of, among other things, the following matters:
there are no immediate pressing recruitment or retention issues with any of the benches. However, addressing such problems after the event can be difficult and may be ineffective, and the Authority recognises the need to minimise, where possible, the risk of their developing over time. Recruitment and retention issues are similar across all benches and so the widened differential between the High Court and the District Court introduced 3 years ago, which recognised the more pressing recruitment concerns for the High Court, has been reduced somewhat:
the Authority is required to take into account new section 18A of the Remuneration Authority Act 1977, inserted by the Remuneration Authority Amendment Act 2009. This requires the Authority to take account of prevailing adverse economic conditions and allows the Authority to make a determination at a lower rate than it might have done had it not taken those conditions into account. This consideration has restrained what otherwise would have been larger increases in remuneration:
there is a long-standing and important constitutional convention that the remuneration of Judges should be free from, and be seen to be free from, any undue influence of the executive arm of government.
After weighing these factors, the Authority has made a modest increase in the salaries of the judicial officers, ranging from 3.7% for High Court Judges to 4.3% for District Court Judges.
Discussions with representatives of various benches have indicated the need for a more thorough assessment of the relativities of remuneration between benches, heads of benches, and principal Judges, as well as the need for an assessment of the relativities between areas of the legal profession and the judiciary. The Authority presently intends conducting or facilitating such a review prior to next year’s determinations.
No change has been made to the yearly principal allowance for general expenses. The Authority recognises the need to review the appropriateness and intended scope of this allowance and will be working with the judiciary on this in the coming year.