Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has defended his decision to write to the Chief Justice seeking reforms, including longer working hours and shorter holidays for judges.

Mr Shatter said he suggested in his letter that the judiciary might consider further efficiencies in the light of the public finances.

He said he did not think the request was unreasonable in that all sectors are being asked to look at a series of issues to produce savings.

Minister Shatter also said he was surprised at the attention his letter to the Chief Justice Susan Denham has received.

Mr Shatter insisted the request does not interfere with the independence of the judiciary or undermine the administration of justice.