The Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration is asking the Government for close to a million tala to raise the salaries of all Judges in the Supreme Court and the Land and Titles Court.
The Ministry is also looking at making some changes where a Commission would be established so members of the public can file direct complaints against the Judges.
This is according to a proposal submitted by the Minister of Justice and Courts Administration, Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u, to Cabinet.
The proposal also seeks for specific entitlements for the Judges in terms of annual, recreational, sick, maternity, paternity leave, phone allowance, clothing allowance and travel allowance.
A copy of the proposal obtained by the Samoa Observer shows the M.J.C.A. is seeking to have the funds to be included in their 2018-2019 financial year.
The proposal indicated that a Consultant was hired to conduct an overview of the Ministry of Justice and to submit recommendations on areas that require attention.
PROPOSAL ON REFORM FOR M.J.C.A.
The proposal calls for a review of the Justice Service Council duties and obligations, which should include policies, regulations and guidelines for appointment of Judges, review the duties of Judges and reviewing of complaints by members of the public against the Judges.
“There should be regulations put in place to follow when considering the appointment of a Judge, their benefits, their duties and their qualifications.”
The proposal also calls to create a Commission where members of the Public can file a complaint against a Judge.
This has nothing to do with the appeal of any case whether it’s criminal or civil.
“Another aspect that should be considered is the timeframe for the Court to give a ruling.”
The Commission members should consist of a retired Judge, the Ombudsman or President of Samoa Law Society, a Member of the public and also the Registrar of the Court as the Secretary.
The said Commission should also be responsible for reviewing of the Judges performance on an annual basis for promotion purposes, increase of salaries and also the Commission can recommendation for the termination of a Judge.
The proposal also seeks for the Appellate Court Justices appointed from overseas for their allowance to be increased from, NZ$500 (T$943) per day to NZ$900 (T$1,698) per day.
Regarding the salaries of Judges, the Chief Justice’s salary per annum is $164,944. The proposal is seeking $175,000.
Deputy Chief Justice $131,325 to $160,000, Supreme Court Judge $126,072 to $152,640, Senior District Court Judge $120,819 to $146,076, District Court Judge $115,566 to $140,379, President of L.T.C. $126,072 to $155,000, Deputy President L.T.C. from $84,048 to $127,752, Senior L.T.C. Judge proposed salary of $92,598 and L.T.C. Judge of $63,036 to $81,946.
According to the proposed salary, it will cost the Government an additional $936,175.