Judicial Officers Salaries and Allowances (2019/20) Determination 2019

2019/319

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Judicial Officers Salaries and Allowances (2019/20) Determination 2019

Pursuant to sections 12B(1) and 19 of the Remuneration Authority Act 1977 and,—

(a)

in relation to the Chief Justice and the other Judges of the Supreme Court, the President of the Court of Appeal and the other Judges of the Court of Appeal, and the Chief High Court Judge and the other Judges of the High Court, to section 135(a) and (b) of the Senior Courts Act 2016:

(b)

in relation to the Chief District Court Judge, each principal Judge, and the other District Court Judges, to section 34(a) and (b) of the District Court Act 2016:

(c)

in relation to the Chief Judge of the Employment Court and the other Judges of the Employment Court, to section 206(1)(a) and (b) of the Employment Relations Act 2000:

(d)

in relation to the Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court, the Deputy Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court, and the other Judges of the Māori Land Court, to section 13(1)(a) and (b) of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993:

(e)

in relation to the chief coroner, to section 110(1)(a) of the Coroners Act 2006,—

the Remuneration Authority makes the following determination (to which is appended an explanatory memorandum).

Determination

1 Title

This determination is the Judicial Officers Salaries and Allowances (2019/20) Determination 2019.

2 Commencement

This determination is deemed to have come into force on 1 October 2019.

3 Expiry

This determination expires on 30 September 2020.

4 Salaries of judicial officers

(1)

The salaries payable to the judicial officers specified in the Schedule must be paid at the respective rates set out in that schedule.

(2)

This clause is subject to clause 7.

5 Principal allowance for general expenses of judicial officers included in salary

An amount representing a principal allowance for general expenses is included within the salary payable to judicial officers specified in the Schedule and no separate principal allowance for general expenses is payable.

6 Principal allowance of Judge of Supreme Court, Judge of Court of Appeal, or Chief High Court Judge for secondary residential accommodation in Wellington

(1)

This clause applies if—

(a)

a Judge of the Supreme Court, a Judge of the Court of Appeal, or the Chief High Court Judge does not have his or her primary place of residence in Wellington; and

(b)

the Judge of the Supreme Court, the Judge of the Court of Appeal, or the Chief High Court Judge—

(i)

owns or rents on a continuous basis residential accommodation in Wellington (the secondary residential accommodation); and

(ii)

uses the secondary residential accommodation in lieu of overnight accommodation.

(2)

If this clause applies, the Judge of the Supreme Court, the Judge of the Court of Appeal, or the Chief High Court Judge must be paid, as a principal allowance for the secondary residential accommodation, the amount of the actual and reasonable expenses incurred by the Judge in relation to that accommodation.

(3)

The maximum yearly rate of the principal allowance payable on and after 1 October 2019 is $20,000.

(4)

In this clause, Wellington means the area within the boundaries of the Wellington Regional Council.

7 Salary payable to District Court Judge who is chief coroner

A District Court Judge who holds the office of chief coroner must be paid the higher of the following:

(a)

the salary payable to a District Court Judge set out in the Schedule; and

(b)

the salary payable to the Chief Coroner in accordance with the Coroners (Salaries and Superannuation) Determination 2019, or another determination of the Remuneration Authority made under section 110(1)(a) of the Coroners Act 2006 that supersedes that determination.

8 Revocation

Schedule Salaries and principal allowances

cls 4, 5, 7

Judicial officerYearly rate of salary (including principal allowance for general expenses) payable on and after 1  October 2019 ($)
Chief Justice560,100
Judge of the Supreme Court525,400
President of the Court of Appeal525,400
Judge of the Court of Appeal493,500
Chief High Court Judge493,500
Judge of the High Court471,100
Associate Judge of the High Court399,000
Chief District Court Judge471,100
Principal Family Court Judge403,600
Principal Youth Court Judge403,600
Principal Environment Judge403,600
District Court Judge358,100
Chief Judge of the Employment Court441,400
Judge of the Employment Court399,000
Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court403,600
Deputy Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court380,700
Judge of the Māori Land Court358,100

Dated at Wellington this 13th day of December 2019.

Fran Wilde,
Chairperson.

Len Cook,
Member.

Geoff Summers,
Member.

Explanatory memorandum

This memorandum is not part of the determination, but is intended to indicate its general effect.

This determination is deemed to have come into force on 1 October 2019 and expires on 30 September 2020. It sets the salaries and the allowances for the Judges of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the District Court, the Employment Court, and the Māori Land Court.

The Remuneration Authority (the Authority) is required to have regard to the following when setting judicial remuneration and allowances:

  • the need to achieve and maintain fair relativity with the levels of remuneration received elsewhere:

  • the need to be fair both—

    • to the persons or group of persons whose remuneration is being determined; and

    • to the taxpayer:

  • the need to recruit and retain competent persons.

In addition, the Authority must take into account—

  • the requirements of the position concerned; and

  • the conditions of service enjoyed by the persons whose remuneration is being determined and those enjoyed by the persons or members of the group of persons whose remuneration and conditions of employment are, in the opinion of the Authority, comparable with those of the persons or members of the group of persons whose remuneration is being determined.

The Authority must also consider any prevailing adverse economic conditions, based on evidence from an authoritative source, and may determine the remuneration at a rate lower than it would otherwise have determined.

As in previous years, the Authority took into account a wide range of information, including—

  • submissions (written and oral) received from the various benches; and

  • the views of key stakeholders; and

  • terms and conditions of employment enjoyed by the members of the judiciary; and

  • information on the recruitment and retention of judicial officers; and

  • remuneration data on comparable jobs in private sector legal practices with similar skills and experience and for groups from which it can be expected that the judicial officers could be recruited; and

  • remuneration data for senior positions in the public sector; and

  • a survey, completed in 2018, of recurring and contemporary issues affecting the courts.

We see across the judiciary that there are arguments that the scope of particular judicial roles has increased in recent years. The Authority does not have available to it information that would allow examination of relative shifts in scope where these shifts affect one bench in comparison with another bench. Evidence that can quantify such changes and distinguish them from developments experienced in all callings reflects factors that are not readily comparable. A key focus this year was the advice we received on the stability of the benches and their apparent candidate pools. This has not generated any external concern that we can detect. We see across the benches of the judiciary a strong capacity to adapt that may have the side-effect of obscuring some of the pressures on remuneration.

In these and other cases we sought the views of the Chief Justice, the Attorney-General, the Minister of Justice, the Solicitor-General, and the Secretary for Justice, along with the heads of each bench, before taking into account in the determination the evidence available to us, as well as arguments presented to the Authority. Where these key stakeholders can advise, or where we have sufficient information consistent with our terms of reference, then we will make what we consider an appropriate adjustment to individual benches. However, we act cautiously in this process because of the need to anticipate consequential responses in following years from the remaining benches.

While we note that Ministers are seeking to ensure that remuneration practices of the State take into account their effect on the distribution of income, the Authority has to act independently in the application of its statutory obligations. Indicators and benchmarks, including measures of income relativities, inform the Authority in its determinations for the judiciary.

Across the benches there has not been strong evidence of a serious situation throughout 2018–19 in relation to retention or recruitment to any particular bench as a result of the current level of remuneration. However we may be at a turning point on recruitment, as we have been advised by several benches of recent indications from potential candidates that point to the relationship between remuneration and recruitment as being at some risk of changing in the coming year. The following 2 specific issues of recruitment have emerged to have greater significance in the review this year:

  • the need to recognise a shift in the requirements of candidates for Tikanga Māori; and

  • the need to support the large-scale recruitment initiatives to the District Court over the next few years, which will be put in train shortly.

To maintain the relative position of Judges, compared with other relevant groups in New Zealand in 2019–20 with respect to salary, the Judges of the Senior Courts will receive an adjustment informed by the new public sector labour cost index salaries and wages indicator published by the Government Statistician, which excludes the increases to the minimum wage and major pay settlements for the year ended 30 September 2019. A base increase of 1.5 % is applied to the remuneration of a Judge of the High Court, and the equivalent dollar amount is then applied as a fixed-sum increase to the remuneration of the Chief High Court Judge and the Judges of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

We have decided to adjust the salary of Judges of the District Court and Māori Land Court by an increase of 2.7% this year. These adjustments will be taken into account next year when assessing any increases for that or later determinations. This year’s additional increase is both in response to the general indicators we use and recognition of the high level of recruitment that is planned for the District Court over the next 3 to 5 years.

We have applied the second part of the salary adjustments initiated in 2018 to Associate Judges of the High Court and to the Principal Youth Court Judge and Principal Environment Judge.

Issued under the authority of the Legislation Act 2012.

Date of notification in Gazette: 19 December 2019.