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Departments: Legal Costs

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was spent by his Department on legal fees in each of the last five years. (139391)

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO), excluding its agencies and NDPBs, has spent the following on legal fees in each of the last five years:

Legal fees (£)

2002-03

5,494,196

2003-04

5,563,934

2004-05

6,977,043

2005-06

7,295,364

2006-07

10,821,790

Legal fees for the NIO have risen substantially in 2006-07, mainly due to expenditure by the Public Prosecution Service on the Omagh bomb trial, and also on the trial of James Fulton and his associates, which proved to be the longest murder trial in NI history. These two cases alone have accounted for an increase in legal expenditure of £2 million. Scale fees for counsel also increased in April 2006, the first increase in a number of years, and this also contributed to overall increase in 2006-07.