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Members: Correspondence

Volume 461: debated on Wednesday 20 June 2007

To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice pursuant to the Answer of 30 April 2007, Official Report, column 1454W, on members: correspondence, when she expects to provide a substantive reply to the Question; and what the reason is for the delay. (143614)

I have now written to the hon. Member disclosing the list of highest paid barristers from the Community Legal Service (CLS) during 2005-06.


Elizabeth Gumbel Q.C.


Jeremy Rosenblatt


Sally Bradley Q.C.


Stephen Knafler


Anthony Hayden Q.C.


Paul Storey Q.C.


Eleanor Hamilton Q.C.


John Godfrey


Michael Keehan


Marcus Scott-Manderson


These figures must be interpreted carefully and do not represent the personal earnings of the individuals listed in any one year. There are a number of reasons for this.

1. The amounts paid to each barrister listed represent payments for work covering many years, for a variety of cases. The amount an individual receives in any year fluctuates widely, and is to a large extent due to the variety of payment processes and schemes used by the Legal Services Commission and the Courts.

2. All the figures listed are inclusive of VAT (17.5 per cent.) as paid, and disbursements incurred (e.g. travelling). Individuals must pay that VAT to HM Revenue and Customs.

3. Barristers pay a percentage of their fees towards professional overheads. Additionally, barristers face the same expenses as any other self employed person, including income tax and National Insurance contributions.

A number of other qualifications need to be added to these figures.

1. Payments are made after claims are carefully scrutinised by the Legal Services Commission or the Courts, and where necessary adjusted. The Legal Services Commission and the Courts may make payments many years after cases conclude.

2. While these figures represent gross payments actually made to the barristers during the year, some of those monies have been (or may in the future be) repaid to the Community Legal Service Fund by other parties. This will happen in cases where the legally aided party wins the case and recovers costs from the opponent. Once those costs are recovered the legally aided party’s solicitor refunds some or all of the money to the CLS Fund. As a consequence the figures may not reflect the actual cost of the barristers’ fees to the Fund. In some cases where costs are recovered from the losing party the actual cost to the CLS Fund may be very little or even nothing.

3. Not all payments could be verified with all the individuals concerned. Cases in dispute, where amounts listed as being paid to individual barristers were identified from records held by the Department and the Legal Services Commission, and the practitioner has no such record, have been included. Where possible, amounts have been verified by practitioners and adjusted where necessary.