Remuneration for Judges

Current remuneration

Information on the current remuneration for Judges is in Judicial Salaries and Allowances Determination 2017.

Allowance for general expenses

The Authority sets a small annual allowance for general expenses for Judges. The allowance is tax free. Details are in the Judicial Salaries and Allowances Determination 2017.

Superannuation for Judges

Judges appointed before 1992 were entitled to defined superannuation benefits under the judges scheme of the Government Superannuation Fund Act 1956. This scheme guarantees a pension based on service up to 18 years.

Judges appointed after 1992 participate in a defined contribution scheme. On retirement the Judge is entitled to the proceeds of the fund.

Under current arrangements, set out in the Judicial Superannuation Determination 2006, the maximum subsidy on contributions paid in any year to a registered fund is:

  • 37.5% of salary for High Court Judges, with  the Judge contributing 5%
  • 33.75% for other Judges, with the Judge contributing 4.5%.

Judicial Superannuation Determination 2006 Amendment Determination 2015.

Legislation for Judges' remuneration

Four main acts establish the current system of judicial remuneration:

  • Remuneration Authority Act 1977, s.12B which gives the Authority responsibility for setting the salaries, principal allowances and,  where appropriate, superannuation rights and obligations, of judicial officers. These include the:
    • Chief Justice, the other Judges of the Supreme Court, the President of the  Court of Appeal, the other Judges of the Court of Appeal, the Chief High Court Judge, and the other Judges of the High Court; and
    • Chief District Court Judge, the Principal Family Court Judge, the Principal Youth Court Judge, the Principal Environment Judge; and the other District Court Judges; and
    • Chief Judge of the Court Martial and the other Judges of the Court Martial; and
    • Chief Judge of the Employment Court and the other Judges of the Employment Court; and
    • Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court, the Deputy Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court and the other Judges of the Māori Land Court; and
    • Associate Judges of the High Court; and
    • Chief Coroner and other Coroners (other than a person who is a Coroner by virtue of holding office as a District Court Judge).
  • The Constitution Act 1986, Part 4, ss. 23, 24 which contains provisions on the judiciary reflecting the principle of judicial independence which informs the Authority’s determinations on judicial remuneration. In particular the act provides that High Court judges cannot be  removed from office except in exceptional circumstances; and that the salary of a High Court Judge cannot be reduced.

The following acts are also relevant:

The Authority sets judicial salaries on the basis of the criteria in the Remuneration Authority Act, ss.18, 18A.