The days when judges were chauffeur-driven between private lodgings and courts are long gone, but at least one perk of the job remains.

According to figures extracted by Labour’s Jon Trickett from the Ministry of Justice, the judiciary accounted for £600,321 of the £652,474 the department spent on first-class rail travel over the past three years.

The remaining £52,152 was spent on first-class travel for civil servants, justice minister Rachel Maclean revealed. No figure for ministers was available.

A spokesperson for the judiciary told Obiter: ‘Judges may only claim travel expenses for travel incurred on judicial business and judges will often work while travelling. For example, High Court judges frequently sit outside London when hearing trials. First-class accommodation while travelling will often provide the appropriate level of working conditions and privacy for judges.’

At Obiter Towers we can’t begrudge the odd £200,000 a year – surely a fraction of the potential cost of dealing with breaches of confidence caused by a judge being rammed up against an inquisitive smartphone owner while travelling among hoi polloi. (Remember the fuss when Alex Salmond’s QC was overheard discussing his client on a train?) But we have a feeling that during Sunak’s upcoming austerity drive, every penny will be up for pinching.