As a deputy district judge I read with some interest John Greenwood’s letter suggesting that there are too few deputies.
The issue is not that there are insufficient deputies but that the requirements of deputies are now such, particularly in family law (my specialisation), that sitting has become an extremely expensive hobby.
The gross daily rate for sitting as a deputy is £521.72, but in the Central Family Court, for example, it is now a requirement that all judgments should be written in the deputy’s own time, even where the estimate has allowed time for judgment writing.
In the CFC, many cases involve assets in different jurisdictions and currencies, and complexities such as highly valued employee incentive schemes. Even a one-day case usually requires a day of work to prepare the judgment.
That brings the daily pay down to £260 – and if my most junior member of staff was generating an income of £260 per day for us, I would sack them.
Until the Ministry of Justice deals with this issue, certainly among solicitors, it is only going to be those who are looking to jump on the purple lifeboat who will accept these terms and conditions. In my experience, they may not be the most able.
Jan Stanton, Gravesend