Iceland’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that authorities had been in the wrong when they lowered the pay of judges last year and demanded repayment of allegedly overpaid salary. All of Iceland’s judges had to recuse themselves as the dispute made its way through the court system.
The dispute began when authorities reached out to 260 civil servants, officials, and elected representatives last year, RÚV reports. They were told that they’d been overpaid due to the wrong index being used in salary calculations and that this would need to be rectified with a repayment to the Icelandic state. Among those affected were the judges of Iceland’s eight District Courts, the lowest tier of the three-tier court system.
All of Iceland’s judges recused themselves
One of the District Court judges, Ástríður Grímsdóttir, sued the Icelandic state. As the outcome of the case would affect judges’ pay, all judges in Iceland had to recuse themselves and alternate judges were brought in.
Ástríður won her case in District Court this spring, but the state appealed. Due to the precedent that the ruling would set, the state asked that the case would go directly to the highest tier Supreme Court, bypassing the middle tier, the Court of Appeal.
The ruling Friday by the alternate judges of the Supreme Court confirmed the District Court ruling. The state was ruled to have been in the wrong when repayments of ISK 550,000 [$4,000, €3,700] were demanded from each judge. A two percent pay decrease for judges was also blocked.