Belfast Telegraph

Judges given public funds to study

High-earning judges get almost 10,000 euro a year from the public purse to keep a private study at home, new figures reveal.

The taxpayer also foots the bill for ceremonial wigs costing more than 2,000 euro, which judges are obliged to wear in their courtrooms.

While figures out earlier this year uncovered the overall cost of clothing the judiciary, information given to the Public Accounts Committee detailed the individual expenses rates available to top judges.

In a letter from the Department of Justice to the Dail spending watchdog, it was revealed that judges can claim 1,485 euro every two years to cover the cost of a new "frock coat", "frock coat without tails" and "vest" or waistcoat.

Another 389.50 euro is allowed to be claimed back from the taxpayer for a new gown every three years.

The allowance rates also reveal that judges earning up to 295,000 euro a year can claim almost 10,000 euro every year from state coffers to keep a home study.

High Court and Supreme Court judges, the chief justice and the presidents of the High Court, Circuit Court and District Court are all granted 9,057.96 annually "to cover the provision of a study and suitable library facilities" at home.

Circuit court judges can claim 2,730 euro and district court judges 1,365 euro for the same purposes, the letter revealed.

The judicial expenses regime also allows judges to claim mileage - generally the same as civil service rates, only with a higher band of nearly 71 cent a kilometre for larger cars - for travelling to court and back.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act earlier this year showed wigs and gowns for judges cost the taxpayer 70,000 euro over the last two years.

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