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KUWAIT: Scores of expatriate judges appointed and designated to work in Kuwait informed the Supreme Judiciary Council of their wish not to renew their contracts with Kuwait for another year, although the contracts of most of them are renewable for at least one more year, wellinformed sources said.

The sources, who did not mention the exact numbers, added that judges working for the courts of cassation, appeals and comprehensive and the public prosecution’s office almost had a massive agreement to end their tenures in Kuwait by July or August after settling their children’s schooling and other tasks. According to judiciary norms, the Supreme Judiciary Council annually addresses expat judges in December, inquiring about their wishes to renew their contracts.

The council then contacts the justice ministry, which in turn contacts Kuwait’s embassy in the judges’ countries to contact the justice ministry there notifying it with the judge’s wish, be it to conclude his tenure or renew his contact. Notably, an expat judge’s tenure in Kuwait is usually six years, while those who wish to leave have only worked two or four years.

The sources justified this massive decision by the feeling of discrimination between them and Kuwaiti judges with the same or less experience, as they only get KD 1,600-2,000 (some get up to KD 2,500) plus accommodation, while their Kuwaiti colleagues get at least KD 4,000 or more.

The judges also complained about getting only three months of annual leave, while Kuwaiti judges get six months leave with full pay. “Expat judges are also deprived of many allowances their colleagues get,” stressed the sources, noting that many of them made the decision in view of the government’s recent austerity measures that mainly focus on expats despite their growing sufferings because of the rapidly increasing cost of living, which is likely to skyrocket once the government plans to lift subsidies. The sources added that many of the judges made the decision because of the recent pay hikes in their home countries, which greatly reduced the gap between their income there and in Kuwait. The sources added that some judges had contacted relevant authorities in this regard, but their grievances fell on deaf ears so far.

Moreover, the sources said that the fatwa and legislation department had recently contracted some expat judges to work in Kuwait, but they did not go ahead with the procedures needed to come to Kuwait because they were now getting better salaries in their country. — Al-Rai