GEO

Pay raises for members of the Constitutional Court of Georgia

29 September, 2014

On 4 September, 2014 the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Georgia discussed a bill proposed by members of the Constitutional Court of Georgia. The bill envisages amendments to two laws: the Law on Social Protection Safeguards for the Members of the Constitutional Court of Georgia and the Law on Remuneration for Members of the Constitutional Court of Georgia.

The draft laws propose pay raises for the Members of the Constitutional Court of Georgia and the introduction of monthly bonus plans. The MPs of the Legal Affairs Committee approved gradual increases in the compensation of judges, however, disapproved of the introduction of monthly bonus plans.

Based on the draft law proposed by the Members of the Constitutional Court of Georgia, the Legal Affairs Committee prepared a bill entitled “Amendment to the Law on Remuneration for the Members of the Constitutional Court of Georgia” and presented it to Parliament.

On 16 September, the Legal Affairs Committee approved the bill. According to the bill, the monthly compensation for the Chairperson of the Constitutional Court of Georgia will be GEL 7,000 (a GEL 1,350 increase from the current level of compensation given by law). The monthly remuneration for the Deputy Chairperson and the Secretary of the Constitutional Court of Georgia will be GEL 6,300 (a GEL 1,500 increase from the current level of compensation given by law). The pay for a member of the Constitutional Court of Georgia will be GEL 6,000 (a GEL 1,600 increase from the current level of compensation given by the law).

The bill’s explanatory note indicates that the gradual increase in remuneration of judges is one of the main components of the judicial reform. Also, it is desirable to equalize the remuneration of judges of the Constitutional Court of Georgia, as members of the judicial branch of the government, and judges of the Supreme Court of Georgia.

Transparency International Georgia positively assesses the pay raises as a part of the judicial reform.

1. Gradual Pay Raises for Members of the Constitutional Court of Georgia

The first law concerning remuneration of Members of the Constitutional Court of Georgia was adopted by the Parliament of Georgia on 20 September, 1996. According to the 1996 Law on Remuneration for Members of the Constitutional Court of Georgia, the monthly compensation for the Chairperson of the Constitutional Court of Georgia amounted to GEL 170 (based on 2014 prices, this is equivalent to GEL 477); for the Deputy Chairperson, GEL 165 ( GEL 463); for the Secretary of the Constitutional Court of Georgia, GEL 150 ( GEL 421); and for a member of the Constitutional Court of Georgia GEL 145 (GEL 407).

The law was amended in 1999, and court member remuneration increased. The monthly compensation for the Chairperson of the Constitutional Court of Georgia amounted to GEL 700 (GEL 1,485); for the Deputy Chairpersons and the Secretary of the Constitutional Court of Georgia GEL 630 (GEL 1,336); and for a member of the Constitutional Court of Georgia GEL 595 (GEL 1,262).

Pay raises continued in 2004.  According to the law adopted on 21 December, 2004 the monthly compensation for the Chairperson of the Constitutional Court of Georgia amounted to GEL 2,500 (GEL 3,989); for the Deputy Chairperson and the Secretary of the Constitutional Court of Georgia GEL 2,400 (GEL 3,830); and for a member of the Constitutional Court of Georgia GEL 2,300 (GEL 3,670).

Since 1 January, 2006 monthly compensation for the Chairperson of the Constitutional Court of Georgia was GEL 4,100 (GEL 6,089); for the Deputy Chairperson and the Secretary of the Constitutional Court of Georgia GEL 3,300 (GEL 4,901); and for a member of the Constitutional Court of Georgia GEL 3,000 (GEL 4,455).

A final amendment to the law was made on 26 December, 2008 which defined the following rates of remuneration for members of the Constitutional Court of Georgia:

  • The Chairperson of the Constitutional Court of Georgia – GEL 5,650 (GEL 6,571);
  • The Deputy Chairperson and the Secretary of the Constitutional Court of Georgia – GEL 4,800 (GEL 5,582);
  • A member of the Constitutional Court of Georgia – GEL 4,400 (GEL 5,117).

Figure 1. The real compensation of judges of the Constitutional Court of Georgia (GEL)

(Based on August 2014 prices)

2. Gradual Pay Raises for Judges of the Courts of General Jurisdiction of Georgia

The compensation plans for judges of the Courts of General Jurisdiction are stipulated under the Law of Georgia on Remuneration of Judges of Courts of General Jurisdiction of Georgia. The law was adopted by Parliament on 23 December, 2005.

Prior to 2005, the compensation of judges was regulated by the Decree of the President of Georgia on Determining Remuneration, Bonus Plans and Social Protection Safeguards of Judges of Courts of General Jurisdiction of Georgia. According to this decree, the maximum compensation for a judge amounted to GEL 630 (GEL 1,005); for the Chairperson of the highest court GEL 730 (1,165 GEL); for the Chairperson of the District Court GEL 710 (GEL 1,133); for the Chairperson of a Regional (City) Court GEL 625 (GEL 997); for a judge of a Regional (non-city) Court GEL 600 (GEL 957). In addition, a bonus plan was envisaged which provided for a 5% to 40% supplement according to the number of years of professional experience a judge possessed. Judges who held their position for 35-40 years would receive a 40% supplementary bonus.

On 15 February, 2005 amendments were made to this decree and the following compensation rates were established: for the Chairperson of the highest court GEL 730 (GEL 1,131); for the Chairperson of the Court of Appeals GEL 710 (GEL 1,100); for the Chairperson of a Regional (City) Court GEL 625 (GEL 968); and for a judge of a Regional (non-city) Court GEL 600 ( GEL 929). The maximum salary of a judge amounted to GEL 710 (GEL 1,100) and the maximum bonus plan was given at 30% of monthly salary

Since 23 December, 2005 remuneration of judges has been regulated by the law. The Law of Georgia on Remuneration of Judges of Courts of General Jurisdiction of Georgia was amended four times: twice in 2007, once in 2008, and once on 26 December, 2013. Each amendment resulted in a pay raise for judges.

The original wording of the 2005 law, which entered into legal force in 2006, provided for a GEL 4,100 ( GEL 6,089) salary for the Chairperson of the Supreme Court; GEL 3,000 (GEL 4,455) for the Chairperson of the Court of Appeals; and GEL 1,450 (GEL 2,450) for a judge of a Regional Court. [1650]

The amendment made on 20 June, 2007 did not change the pay rate for the Chairperson of the Supreme Court. However, the compensation of the Chairperson of the Court of Appeals became GEL 3,100 (GEL 4,107); the Chairperson of a Regional Court GEL 1,750 (GEL 2,318); and a judge of a Regional Court GEL 1,550 (GEL 2,053). On average, pay raises amounted to GEL 100 for the Deputy Chairperson of the Supreme Court, and the Chairpersons and judges of the Courts of Appeals and the Regional Courts.

Under the amendments made on 28 December, 2007 the Chairperson of the Supreme Court received GEL 5,450 ( GEL 6,620); the Chairperson of the Court of Appeals GEL 4,000 (GEL 4,859); and the Chairperson of the Regional Court, GEL 2,300 (GEL 2,794). The compensation for Deputy Chairpersons and judges of the Courts of Appeals and Regional Courts increased accordingly. The salary for a judge of a Regional Court was established at GEL 2,100 (GEL 2,551).

Under the amendments made on 19 December, 2008 pay raises to the salaries of Chairpersons and judges of courts amounted to GEL 200. As a result, the Chairperson of the Supreme Court received GEL 5,650 (GEL 6,571); the Chairperson of the Court of Appeals GEL 4,200 (GEL 4,885); the Chairperson of the Regional Court GEL 2,500 (GEL 2,907); and the salary for a judge of the Regional Court GEL 2,300 (GEL 2,675).

A final amendment to the law was made on 26 December, 2013 fixing the following rates of remuneration for judges:

  • The Chairperson of the Supreme Court – GEL 7,000 ( GEL 6,940);
  • The First Deputy Chairperson of the Supreme Court – GEL 6,500 ( GEL 6,444);
  • The Deputy Chairperson of the Supreme Court – GEL 6,300 (GEL 6,246);
  • Judge of the Supreme Court – GEL 6,000 (GEL 5,948);
  • The Chairperson of the Court of Appeals – GEL 5,800 ( GEL 5,750);
  • The Deputy Chairperson of the Court of Appeals – GEL 5,600 (GEL 5,552);
  • The Chairperson of the Chamber (Panel) of the Court of Appeals – GEL 5,300 (GEL 5,254);
  • Judge of the Court of Appeals – GEL 5,000 (GEL 4,957);
  • Chairperson of a Regional Court – GEL 4,600 ( GEL 4,560);
  • The Chairperson of the Chamber (Panel) of a Regional Court – GEL 4,300 ( GEL 4,263);
  • Judge of the Regional Court, Magistrate Judge – GEL 4,000 (GEL 3,966);
  • Judge included in the reserve list – GEL 500 (GEL 496).

Figure 2. The real compensation of chairpersons of the Courts of General Jurisdiction of Georgia (GEL)

(Based on August 2014 prices)

 3. Remuneration of Ministers

For the purposes of comparison, we present the remuneration rates for members of the executive and legislative branches of government.

Unlike the exact salary amounts for members of the Constitutional Court of Georgia and judges which are fixed under the law, Ministers’ pay rates are provided for in a bylaw – Decree #45 of the President of Georgia. According to the Decree, the monthly compensation for the Prime Minister is GEL 4,250 and GEL 3,540 for ministers. The PM has the right to assign monthly bonuses to the ministers (Article 5 of Resolution #54 of the Government of Georgia). Bidzina Ivanishvili, former PM, used this discretion and fixed the monthly bonus for ministers at GEL 4,335. The goal of his decision was to eliminate the unregulated practice of assigning bonuses to ministers. Subsequently, the fixed bonus (GEL 4,335) was added to the remuneration envisaged under the Presidential Decree (GEL 3,540) making the monthly compensation GEL 7,875.

On 21 January, 2014, Irakli Garibashvili repealed the former PM’s order and decreased the fixed monthly bonus to GEL 2,710. Therefore, the pay cut was conducted within the bonus plan and the monthly salary remained GEL 3,540. Consequently, ministers’ monthly salaries now amount to GEL 6,250.

4. Remuneration for MPs

The compensation plans for MPs of Georgia are stipulated under the Law of Georgia on the Remuneration of Members of Parliament of Georgia and by the decision of the Parliamentary Bureau.

The Law of Georgia “On Remuneration of Members of the Parliament of Georgia” was adopted on 21 February, 1996. The salary of the Chairperson of the Parliament was GEL 80 in 1996, and an MP received GEL 70.

The Law of Georgia “On Remuneration of Members of the Parliament of Georgia” provides that the monthly salary of an MP is GEL 2,000. According to Article 24 of the Law on the Status of MPs, the Parliamentary Bureau is entitled to establish compensation for carrying out the duties of MPs, bonus plans, and other benefits for MPs.

The Bureau’s Decision #27/1 adopted on 18 January, 2013 provides for bonus amounts. The remuneration rates of MPs (salary and compensation for carrying out the duties of an MP) are as follows:

Chairperson of the Parliament – GEL 5,905;

First Deputy of the Chairperson of the Parliament – GEL 5,570;

Deputy of the Chairperson of the Parliament – GEL 5,505;

Leader of majority, minority, Head of Committee – GEL 4,705;

Head of Faction – GEL 4,635;

Head of Ad-hoc Commission – GEL 4 ,105;

Deputy of the leader of the majority, minority, First Deputy of Head of Committee – GEL 3,970;

Deputy of head of faction, committee – GEL 3,905;

MP – GEL 3,790.

Author: Lika Sajaia
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