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Supreme Court payroll costs to rise by a million euros in 2024

Supreme Court of Estonia in Tartu.
Supreme Court of Estonia in Tartu. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Supreme Court has requested one million euros more towards labor costs for 2024, compared with this year.

"The requested additional funds are necessary to solve interrelated problems," an explanatory letter put it.

"The 'root cause' is the significantly larger departure of judges out of the judicial system in the period 2022-2026, during which time 67 judges will reach retirement age," the explanatory letter went on.

The letter also requests the same level of increase in funding be included in the state budget strategy through to 2027.

The retirement of a significant number of judges, particularly from the first-tier (county and administrative) and second-tier (circuit) courts, means a higher number of court clerks and advisers (Kohtunõunik) will become judges than is normally the case.

"At the same time, it is the most experienced judicial advisers who become judges," the explanatory letter goes on.

"Whereas the usual [staff] turnover rate means one or two less experienced employees can be hired for the wider benches, in the period 2024-2028, in order to ensure the work capacity of these benches, hiring mostly very highly qualified employees is needed and, meaning very high salary expectations," the letter says.

The explanatory letter adds that the average salary of Supreme Court staff is generally lower, and sometimes significantly lower, than that of other constitutional institutions.

The Supreme Court's 2024 labor costs are forecast at €2.35 million, based on the salary rate index for top civil servants plus the coefficient of the professional salary set by law in respect of judges, as well as the management bonuses prescribed by law for the chairs of the court, and the benches.

The letter notes that judges' salary wages arises solely from complying with the law.

The Supreme Court says it also needs additional money to fulfill IT requirements (€57,600) and towards external communication and cooperation matters (€11,500).

In addition, the Supreme Court wants additional funds of €335,508 for the training, selection and development of competencies (management and labor costs) of judges and their successors by 2024; and a total of €1.35 million until 2027.

Thereafter the need for funding to that end will diminish, the court says.

The Supreme Court's 2024 budget is set at €8.16 million, of which approximately €2.5 million relate to accounting expenses, €215,000 to depreciation and €50,557 to expenses from external funds.

The Supreme Court has planned for a total revenue of €363,857 by 2024, of which €310,000 will be from revenues from state fees, paid to the state budget, €50,557 from external sources, and €3,300 from the sale of publications and also rental income.

The Supreme Court is located in Tartu.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming

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