On 8 April 2014, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, made the following statement: “Last year, the government pledged and utterly fulfilled a commitment to boost the salaries of judges by 70%-80% as well as that of judicial office staff. It had a very positive impact upon the judicial system. There has been no such precedent for practically the last five years.”

FactCheck

took interest in the aforementioned statement and verified the accuracy of the facts.

The remuneration policy of judges is regulated by the Organic Law of Georgia on Common Law Courts and the Law of Georgia on Remuneration Rates of Common Court Judges. In addition, the court is funded from the state budget.

Similar to that of other public officials, the salary of judges consists of a core salary and additional benefits (Article 9 (1)). The law classifies different salary ranges for judges of each instance that may not be decreased within the whole period of their office (Article 69 (2)) while the Law of Georgia on Remuneration Rates of Common Court Judges defines the remuneration rates for judges (of the First Instance, Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court) according to the salary range determined in advance.

In respect to the remuneration policy of judges, some core amendments were made to the Law of Georgia on Remuneration Rates of Common Court Judges. In accordance with the amendments made in 2005, as soon as the abovementioned new edition of the law entered into force, the Law of Georgia on Remuneration Rates of the Members of the Supreme Court of Georgia, dated 20 September 1996, as well as Decree No. 82 of the President of Georgia on the Remuneration Rates, Additional Benefits and Social Security of the Common Court Judges of Georgia, dated 15 February 2005, were invalidated.

Based upon the aforementioned amendments, the final version of the Law of Georgia on Remuneration Rates of Common Court Judges was formed. The law was amended three times after its adoption:

  • On 20 June 2007
  • On 28 December 2007
  • On 19 December 2008

The latest amendments to the aforementioned law about which the Prime Minister was speaking were adopted by the Parliament of Georgia on 26 December 2013 and enacted starting from 2014. Therefore, the salary range of judges for 2013-2014 is as follows:

 

Position

Salary Range for

2003-2005

Salary Range for

2006-2007

Salary Range

for 2008

Salary Range for

2009-2013

Salary Range for

2014

Chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia

700

4,100

5,450

5,650

7,000

First Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia

665

3,700

4,900

5,100

6,500

Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia

630

3,400

4,600

4,800

6,300

Judge of the Supreme Court of Georgia

595

3,100

4,200

4,400

6,000

Chairman of the Court of Appeals

-

3,100

4,000

4,200

5,800

Deputy Chairman of the Court of Appeals

-

2,400

3,100

3,300

5,600

Chairman of the Chamber (the Board) of the Court of Appeals

-

2,100

2,700

2,900

5,300

Judge of the Court of Appeals

-

1,750

2,300

2,500

5,000

Chairman of the Regional (City) Court

625

1,750

2,300

2,500

4,600

Chairman of the Chamber of the Regional (City) Court

-

1,650

2,200

2,400

4,300

Judge of the Regional (City) Court, Magistrate Judge

600

1,550

2,100

2,300

4,000

Reserve Judge

-

500

500

500

500

The table above shows that based upon the new edition of the abovementioned law, the remuneration of judges has in fact increased. Additionally, it also becomes evident that there were no changes in 2009-2013 in the salaries of judges which means that they did not actually increase for five years. As for the percentage index, the biggest increase was observed in the salaries of the judges of the courts of appeals ranging between 38%-100%. According to the overall percentage indicator, the remuneration rates of the common court judges increased by 24%-100%.

Position

Salary Range before 1 January 2014

Salary Range after 1 January 2014

Increase of Salary Range in Percentage

Chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia

5,650

7,000

24 %

First Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia

5,100

6,500

27 %

Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia

4,800

6,300

31 %

Judge of the Supreme Court of Georgia

4,400

6,000

36 %

Chairman of the Court of Appeals

4,200

5,800

38 %

Deputy Chairman of the Court of Appeals

3,300

5,600

70 %

Chairman of the Chamber (the Board) of the Court of Appeals

2,900

5,300

83 %

Judge of the Court of Appeals

2,500

5,000

100 %

Chairman of the Regional (City) Court

2,500

4,600

84 %

Chairman of the Chamber of the Regional (City) Court

2,400

4,300

79 %

Judge of the Regional (City) Court, Magistrate Judge

2,300

4,000

74 %

Reserve Judge

500

500

0 %

In addition to the remuneration rates of judges, Irakli Gharibashvili also speaks about the increase of the salaries of staff members of the judicial office. FactCheck

verified this information with the authorised representatives of the Supreme Court of Georgia as well as the High Council of Justice and received their confirmation in respect to the abovementioned question.

Conclusion FactCheck’s research

revealed that amendments to the Law of Georgia on Remuneration Rates of Common Court Judges in respect to increased salary ranges entered into force beginning in 2014. According to these amendments, the salaries of judges of different instances have, in fact, been raised. Furthermore, the salaries of staff members of the judicial system have also risen.

It is also true that the salary ranges of judges did not increase from 2009-2013 and have remained unchanged during these last five years.

According to the amendments of 2014, the overall percentage of the increased salary ranges varies between 24% and 100%. The salaries of judges of the first five categories listed above have been raised by 24%-38% while the salaries of the remaining six categories have increased by 70%-100%. FactCheck

also calculated an average index of the increased salary range which equals 59%. Therefore, Gharibashvili’s information does not completely coincide with the hard data.

Consequently, FactCheck concludes that Irakli Gharibashvili’s statement: “Last year, the government pledged and utterly fulfilled a commitment to boost the salaries of judges by 70%-80% as well as that of judicial office staff. It had a very positive impact upon the judicial system. There has been no such precedent for practically the last five years,” is MOSTLY TRUE.

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