High Court Judges Have Perks
Cut By Lord Chancellor
The perks enjoyed at the grand residences and high end lodgings used by High Court judges when they are not hearing cases in London’s High Court are being scrapped by Chris Grayling, the Lord Chancellor.
High court judges are feeling the pinch as they have had their Sky broadband deals cancelled in the latest effort to save money.
The High Court judges get to stay in 32 publicly-funded lodgings, from penthouse flats to Georgian town houses across England & Wales when hearing cases and the latest cost cutting move has provoked a great deal of anger among the judges, who once enjoyed all the perks of gentlemen’s clubs and were waited on hand and foot when they were on the judicial circuit hearing cases outside of London.
Disgruntled High Court judges have described the latest cost cutting decision as the thin end of the wedge and are complaining that they will not even be able to watch cricket after a hard day’s work. One senior High Court judge told The Times newspaper: “We have had a pay freeze reducing our pay and now this petty imposition by Grayling, again without any consultation. It is the thin end of the wedge, next will be our cars, drinks entertaining and flowers. We must resist this.”
Another judge pointed out that they are required to stay away from home and then after hearing complex cases are expected to entertain local dignitaries.
Successive Lord Chancellors have carried out similar reviews but have abandoned reform after being unable to secure accommodation which would ensure the judges did not run in to defendants or witnesses.
The high end lodgings cost the tax-payer on average £1,000 (GBP) per night to run, and have an army of staff including chefs and housekeepers, however many are empty for two-thirds of the year.
The Ministry of Justice confirmed that the Sky packages had been cancelled at 11 of the residences funded by taxpayers, saving a total of £10,000 (GBP) per year and the annual £5 Million (GBP) cost of lodgings is also under review with the Ministry of Justice currently looking at more basic lodgings for Judges, including budget hotels.
The cancellations of the sky packages will take effect next month.
The High Court judges used to enjoy chauffeur driven ceremonial cars and being waited on by attendants, but over the years their perks have been cut by successive Lord Chancellors
Ministry of Justice officials are contemplating closing at least two more of the specialist lodgings, including Tower House in Norwich, an 18th century Grade 11 listed building with its own folly; and Ayres End, a mock Tudor country house in two acres near Harpenden in Hertfordshire.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “A decision has been made that all subscription channels in lodgings will be cancelled. We will continue to look for ways across the department to deliver value for money.”
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