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Court abolishes judges’ claim to topping up their salaries

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Brno, Aug 9 (CTK) – The Czech Constitutional Court (US) abolished on Tuesday the part of the Supreme Court’s (NS) verdict of 2014 that admits the judges’ claim to the retroactive topping up of their salaries because they received a lower multiple of the national average pay than to what they were entitled.

The complaint which succeeded on Tuesday was filed by the District Court for Brno-countryside after it consulted the Justice Ministry.

Tuesday’s verdict will not affect a majority of judges because they had accepted a compromise agreement with the state, by which they gave up the controversial part of their claim.

They only got the money they lost because of the application of an incorrect statistical data in calculating their pay base.

The US verdict will probably be a bad piece of news for those judges who did not join the agreement with the state and filed complaints. The judiciary will have to take Tuesday’s verdict of the US into consideratin in their individual disputes.

Courts are currently dealing with 121 complaints by judges. Ninety-six percent of judges admitted the compromise agreement.

In 2011-12, the judges’ pay was calculated based on 2.5 times the average monthly salary in the non-business sphere instead of three-times the salary.

According to the judges’ agreement with the state, judges only got the money they lost in 2012-14 because of the incorrectly calculated salary base. But they did not receive the money they lost because of the application of an incorrect multiple of the average pay in 2011-12.

According to the data of June 2015, the state spent over one billion crowns in connection with the judges’ and also state attorneys’ claims. It saved four billion crowns.

Justice Minister Robert Pelikan hailed the US verdict “because it squares with the Justice Ministry’s stance of a long time,” the ministry’s spokeswoman Tereza Schejbalova quoted him as saying.

The ministry, which was an enjoined party to the case, the situation was no intensive breach of the constitution-guaranteed rights that would justify the claim to topping up the claimed sum.

It also said the Czech economy was in recession at the time, the salaries of civil servants in general were not growing and the public administration was reducing its staff.

“With regard to these facts, the Justice Ministry did not see any reason to raise the pay of judges or to retroactively pay them a part of their salaries,” Schejbalova said.

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