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Kažimír: Salary cut for judges not issue of the day

A reduction in the salaries of judges and prosecutors has not been in the pipeline, yet it might be discussed in relation to future austerity measures, both Finance Minister Peter Kažimír and Justice Minister Tomáš Borec confirmed for the TASR newswire after the government's session on Wednesday, July 3.

A reduction in the salaries of judges and prosecutors has not been in the pipeline, yet it might be discussed in relation to future austerity measures, both Finance Minister Peter Kažimír and Justice Minister Tomáš Borec confirmed for the TASR newswire after the government's session on Wednesday, July 3.

The Hospodárske Noviny daily reported earlier in the day that the Finance Ministry is considering such a measure. "It's nothing but speculation on your part. This issue is not on the table at the moment and I'm unable to address it alone, without the cooperation of the Justice Ministry and support from the government," Kažimír told reporters.

"It wasn't on the table today. However, I believe this might be included in the mix during the discussion on the state budget," said Borec, adding that such a move would surely be passable in terms of the law.

The economic parameters that would objectively allow the state to cut judges’ salaries have not been met, as Slovakia fares best in terms of economic growth among all Visegrad Four (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) countries and even better than France and Germany, Judges for Open Judiciary (ZOJ) association president Katarína Javorčíková said for TASR. She spoke in response to the government’s consideration of the plan to reduce salaries of judges and prosecutors.

Javorčíková pointed to the judgment of the Constitutional Court, according to which judges’ salaries should be a stable factor, not subject to manipulation by any government. "The intervention of lawmakers into the material provision of judges, including salary restrictions, freezing of salaries and/or denying of the lawfully set salary components, violates the legal certainty of judges," reads the statement released by ZOJ. According to Javorčíková, international standards on the independence of the judiciary in democratic countries enable salary cuts for judges only in an special economic situation, when public finances are objectively untenable.

The Sme daily quoted Borec as saying that judges’ salary are the only source of income for judges as, unlike MPs, they cannot develop business activities or execute other gainful activity on the side.

(Source: TASR, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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