Sunday, June 5, 2011

We talk about underpaid University Dons; How about the "Grossly Underpaid" Judges?

The Government appears to be stalling on the demand by the FUTA for significant pay increases, with the main reason being that if they are given a raise the rest of thee public service will demand equivalent raises.

One set of people I believe are grossly underpaid are the Judges. The lawyers on the other hand are relatively overcompensated as they feed off the hapless litigant. Sit in a court room in the Colombo District Court. The leading Counsel may charge around Rs250,000 for an appearance. His junior counsel if he has three will charge Rs30K for two and the trainee junior Rs15K for the appearance only. The Judge hearing the case earns a maximum of Rs100,000 a month. What would you prefer to be the lawyer or the judge. Is it surprising then that there are no takers the post of Judges?

The issue most often is that judges have absolutely no clue about explanation for the facts in the case, as it is not an esteemed lawyer who is in that post. Therefore it is hard to argue a case sometimes of tricky legal as well as commercial practice with someone who cannot understand. It then comes as no shock to the layperson that the case is postponed, a favorite expectation of the lawyers who charge on appearance and not on completion or satisfactory outcome. The litigant after numerous postponements is then forced to settle out of court, another win for the judge as he does not have to adjudicate, because he does not have a clue anyway.

This in practice is how the law is applied and disputes settled. In my opinion both the litigant and the defendant suffer here, the lawyers benefit immensely and the judges do not have to expose their incompetence. We then get away with having low competencies hearing the cases.

Do they get a kick back from both sides' lawyers?

KALPANAKARANNA and answer the question yourselves.


Anonymous said...

Judges are either too embarrassed or are paid according to their level of competence as the state does not want too many smart judges they cannot control.

Anonymous said...

in the adversarial system, it is the job of the lawyers to make the case so that a reasonable prudent person can make a decision on the issue. The judge must listen to both sides and make a decision based on who makes the best case. In such a system, the lawyers are the most critical component.

Woe to the person that goes up against someone with very highly paid lawyers on one side and a regular one on the other.

Anonymous said...

One is assuming here the income of lawyer is an indication of his ability, that may be the case but then again it may not be if the evidence against the litigant with the highest paid lawyer.

It is judges who have sufficient knowledge of the law and how to interpret the law that appear to be lacking here.

Anonymous said...

Not trying to be cynical here, the highly paid lawyer is also able to influence the judge! Money talks!

So justice is only for the well off the world over. A sad fact of life.

Anonymous said...

The last few posts have been excellent and very thought provoking.

Keep up the good work.

Reading this is actually a way better log of current events than the newspapers!