By Ioanna Mandrou

The low pensions of judicial officers that have been cut since the crisis years and reduced further by the so-called Katrougalou law, have again been put into judicial crisis, on the occasion of three appeals by judicial officers who have already retired.

The case of judges’ pensions occupied the Plenary Session of the Court of Auditors, one of the three highest courts of the country that has jurisdiction over pension matters.
The Supreme Court ultimately ruled by an overwhelming majority (28 votes to 3) that judges’ pensions must be restored to their 2012 levels, as their subsequent cuts are unconstitutional.

The interest of the decision in question, which was issued under the chairmanship of the president of the Court of Auditors Ioannis Sharma (he was also acting prime minister), is that its validity does not extend to all retired judges. In other words, not all judges who are retired will get the increase that was decided in the judges’ pensions by the decision of the Court of Auditors.

The decision applies only to those who appealed, that is, only those retired judges who requested the adjustment and correction of their pensions. For all the others who did not appeal, the decision of the Court of Auditors does not cause a direct consequence, only an indirect one, in the sense that the government must take into account the decision and proceed with adjustments and an increase in the judges’ pensions.

The retired judges, who are about five thousand, are expected if this decision is ultimately a government initiative to receive significant increases in their pensions. These increases can be determined at 60% of the judges’ salary, which currently ranges for the average judge at around 3 thousand euros.

In any case, the low pensions of judges, disproportionately small compared to their salaries, have caused problems of an institutional nature as those who retire lead many retirees to seek employment, mainly in the public sector, raising issues related to judicial independence.

One more thing. The decision of the Plenary of the Court of Auditors is not retroactive, i.e. it does not have retroactive effect.