The guidelines for claiming allowances and expenses are similar in terms of eligibility criteria and process to those used by the Civil Service. Judges may claim travel and subsistence expenses they incur in the course of their judicial duties. The rates for salaried and fee-paid judiciary were set in 2002 by the Lord Chancellor with the approval of HM Revenue and Customs and have not been increased since.
Details of Judicial Expenses
Judges can only claim expenses in limited circumstances broadly the same as those applying to civil servants in the Ministry of Justice. They may claim travel and subsistence expenses they incur in the course of their judicial duties.
Travel expenses may only be claimed for travel on judicial business. Overnight expenses may only be claimed when a judge is unable to return home because of judicial business.
Rates of travel and subsistence payments which apply to judges
- By rail: 1st class fare
- By car – rates per mile:
- First 10,000 miles – 45p
- Over 10,000 miles – 25p
- Motorcycle allowance: 24p per mile
- Pedal cycle allowance: 20p per mile
- Passenger supplement (not payable for motorcycle travel): 5p per mile for passengers whose fares would otherwise be paid from public funds.
- Air fares incurred travelling on judicial business are also reimbursable where appropriate.
Night subsistence payments are only payable where a judge is required to be away from their normal home on judicial business. The following rates are payable for each night of absence:
- Hotels and similar accommodation in London:
Actual expenditure up to a ceiling of £150 for bed and breakfast costs plus 24 hour allowance of £21 and personal incidental expenditure allowance of £5.
- Hotels and similar accommodation elsewhere:
Actual expenditure up to a ceiling of £120 for bed and breakfast costs plus 24 hour allowance of £21 and personal incidental expenditure allowance of £5.
- Staying with friends/relatives:
£32.45 (N.B. This allowance is subject to tax) or a non-taxable payment of up to £21 a night for receipted food costs plus the £5 allowance for personal incidental expenditure (PIE).
- Own secondary property in London:
Reimbursement of expenses necessarily incurred up to a limit of £32.45.
- Own secondary property elsewhere:
Reimbursement of expenses necessarily incurred up to a limit of £31.
- Rented accommodation in London:
Actual expenditure up to a ceiling of £60 for rental costs plus 24 hour allowance of £21 and personal incidental expenditure allowance of £5.
- Rented accommodation elsewhere:
Actual expenditure up to a ceiling of £50 for rental costs plus 24 hour allowance of £21 and a personal incidental expenditure allowance of £5.
Salaried judges whose work requires them to move on a permanent basis to a different part of the country (for example Circuit Judges who are transferred to a different Circuit, or former Circuit Judges who are required to move to London on appointment to the High Court) are entitled to claim assistance towards the additional costs of travel or relocation on the same basis as Ministry of Justice civil servants. The receipt of various expenses and allowances are time-limited. The period for which an allowance is payable will depend on the circumstances of each case.
Excess fares allowance
Excess fares allowance is taxable and as with civil servants, judges in these circumstances who prefer not to move their homes and decide to continue living at home and commute are entitled to an excess fares allowance for a period of 5 years. Excess fares allowance is calculated on the basis of the actual cost of the journey to the old permanent court and the most cost effective and reasonable means of travel to the new permanent court. The allowance is capped at a maximum of £32.50 per day, and may be used towards the cost of temporary accommodation rather than travel if the person concerned prefers. No assistance is provided for weekend travel.
If a judge or civil servant moves home as a result of the relocation of their work, the Ministry of Justice may reimburse some or all of the expenses incurred. The relevant budget holder within the Ministry of Justice is responsible for approving a permanent compulsory move with home removal terms, provided there is a strong business case.
When establishing eligibility and the level of relocation assistance, the following points are taken into consideration:
- the business interests of the Ministry;
- the estimated cost of relocation;
- the actual cost of the employee’s current journey;
- the most cost effective and reasonable means of travel to the new office; and
- any previous change of employment that attracted relocation assistance which may impact on the need to reassess existing allowances.