Now the provisional application phase (PAP) of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement has started, candidate judges are being interviewed by the members of the Advisory Committee, who will then list the most suitable candidates and the Administrative Committee will make the appointments. The following documents include more information on the Court’s judges, such as eligibility, their obligation of impartiality, the number to be appointed, and their remuneration: UPC Statute (Annex 1 UPC Agreement), Draft Decision concerning the budget for the PAP, Regulations Governing the Conditions of Service of UPC’s Judges, Registrar and Deputy-Registrar and tendering documents for procurement of a medical and social security plan. The information includes the following:
- It is planned to appoint during the PAP between 82 and 92 judges, comprising between 32 and 42 legally qualified judges (LQJs) and 50 technically qualified judges (TQJs), with a reserve list of 45 LQJs. However only seven of the judges will receive salary payments during the PAP, the others receiving them with the entry into force of the UPC Agreement (and the Court’s opening). The seven judges are the President of the Court of Appeal, two legally qualified judges of the Court of Appeal, the President of the Court of First Instance and three legally qualified judges of the Court of First Instance. These seven judges, together with the Registrar, will form the Presidium, which is responsible for the management of the Court, including, for example, proposing amendments to Rules of Procedure and preparing the annual budget and accounts (art 15 UPC Statute). The Presidium’s work will form part of the final preparations for the Court’s opening.
- Most judges will be part time during the first few years of the UPC. In fact, of all the judges appointed during the PAP only five will be full time, those five being part of the seven in the Presidium. It is estimated that in the second year there will be 10 full time LQJs (out of 104) and in the third year 15 full time LQJs (out of 120).
- All LQJs and TQJs appointed in the PAP will receive training during the three months following their appointment, before the Court opens. This will involve training in the training centre in Budapest as well as some team building events. The TQJs will receive basic “judge-craft” training and the TQJ and LQJ training plan will include training on the Court’s Rules of Procedure, advanced judge-craft training, a mock trial and training on the case management system (CMS).
- The basic monthly salary of a Court of First Instance judge is €18,089 and that of a Court of Appeal judge is €20,062, plus allowances and expenses. The salaries of the President of the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal are slightly higher. A part time judge will receive a pro rata basic salary and pro-rata allowances. After deductions for internal tax and contributions to the pension, healthcare, long-term care and invalidity/death schemes, net monthly remuneration will be approximately €11,000 for a Court of First Instance judge and €12,000 for a Court of Appeal judge. If a judge also holds a national judicial office and their national salary is higher than the salary they are entitled to from the Court, they may choose to maintain their national salary and transfer the remuneration they are entitled to from the Court to their national government.