PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 May, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 May, 2003, 12:00am

Hugh Tyrwhitt-Drake is right to call for our judges to take a voluntary reduction in their pay ('What kind of judges?' South China Morning Post, May 5).

It is anyway questionable whether a compulsory reduction in line with the reduction in the cost of living would impugn the independence of the Judiciary since that would merely be restoring the judges' pay to the very generous levels they were before deflation set in.

Only a cut in the purchasing power of those salaries could reasonably be interpreted as bringing pressure to bear on them and even then the public and the judges would probably understand that this was required by the budget deficit.

Our Judiciary must be the best paid in the world. A district judge receives better remuneration than an appeal judge in Britain, and that is before tax.

The justification for this, that high rewards are needed to attract well-paid practitioners, no longer applies because lawyers have been suffering along with everyone else in the private sector during the past five years.

Recently the Judiciary has had no difficulty in attracting young lawyers of high calibre. The new chief judge is an example.

One of his first acts should be to call his High Court colleagues together and suggest that they volunteer to share the community's financial burden.