Serbia Justice Functional Review

Internal Performance Assessment > Human Resource Management

e. Salary and Benefit Structure for Judges, Prosecutors, and Staff

  1. In 2012, the ratio of judges’ salaries to the average salary in Serbia was similar to the average among the 29 jurisdictions evaluated for this purpose by the CEPEJ and is equal to or higher than that in 18 of the jurisdictions.
    Salaries for judges and prosecutors in Serbia are appropriate. In 2012, Serbian judicial salaries were 2.1 times higher than the national average salary in Serbia. This compares well with European benchmarks, where the salaries of judges are on average 2.3 times higher than the national average salary. In Serbia, the salaries of judges and prosecutors have decreased in real terms since 2010.825 Such decreases have been common in countries where the financial crisis has been significant, and have generally tracked the decreases in national average salaries.826 Like most European jurisdictions, Serbia does not apply a difference between the salaries of judges and prosecutors.827
  2. Non-salary compensation is a concern in some areas. There are notable outlier courts where ‘other compensation’828 represents as much as 18 percent of salary, representing a potential for favoritism. On average, the proportion of ‘other compensation’ equals only 3 percent of judges’ salaries and 6 percent of total compensation. In one Appeals Court however, ‘other compensation’ totaled 16 percent of judges’ salaries while some judges received no compensation in those categories. The large variation in compensation should be further investigated and regulated.829
  3. The liberal use of allowances has been a concern in the past (see Table 32). For example, stakeholders reported to the Functional Review team that some courts were allegedly exploiting on-call allowances by allowing all sitting judges to be ‘on call’ and thus entitled to generous allowances. The practice became costly for the judiciary and was the subject of criticism. In a positive move, the HJC together with the SCC recently ended this practice. Some judges and prosecutors do need to be on call, but these rosters should be tightly managed to prevent malfeasance. Vigilant monitoring by the HJC, SCC, and Court Presidents is warranted.
  1. The average prosecutor’s salary is within the range of judge’s salary at the same level (see Table 33 below). There is no difference in the salary structure, and the prosecutors’ salary is influenced by the same factors. There is no clear guidance on eligibility for financial awards. Some PPOs report that they use this incentive,832 while some do not. The lack of guidance can lead to favoritism and cronyism. The compensation scheme should therefore be clearly regulated by the SPC and RPPO, communicated to prosecutors, and monitored.
  1. For civil servants, salaries are more complex (see Table 34). There are more than 50 different elements for civil servant remuneration, along with a vast array of laws and bylaws that regulate salaries in the courts, making salary calculations time consuming and inherently vulnerable to manipulation. However, non-salary compensation for court employees falls well within the 20 percent of salary deemed a good practice by OECD.
  1. Performance bonuses exist but are not used extensively, and should not be for the short term. In the absence of a Performance Framework, and with the lack of a rigorous performance evaluation system in the courts (see discussion below), there is insufficient basis to know what is exemplary performance to provide such bonuses. The Law on Pay for Civil Servants and Employees includes provisions for additional pay for superior performance or exceptional workload.836 These pay-for-performance provisions are not used extensively in the judiciary or the rest of state service. Once Performance Frameworks and evaluation systems exist, they may be a useful tool to drive performance by incentivizing individuals to excel.