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Departments: Legal Costs

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 4 June 2007, Official Report, column 19W, on Departments: legal costs, how much of the expenditure on legal fees in each of the last five years was incurred (a) by the Public Prosecution Services, (b) in respect of the Saville inquiry, (c) in respect of the Finucane, Nelson, Hamill and Wright inquiries, (d) by the Crown Solicitor’s Office and (e) by other parts of his Department; and if he will make a statement. (141257)

Pursuant to the answer provided on 4 June 2007, Official Report, column 19W, on the Department’s legal costs, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) expenditure is broken down as follows:

£

Legal fees

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

(a) Public Prosecution Service

5,005,857

5,374,952

6,357,772

6,783,071

9,858,615

(b) Bloody Sunday Inquiry

9,746

3,000

12,361

1,733

65.310

(c) Finucane, Nelson, Hamill and Wright Inquiries

0

1,733

110

15,177

10,408

(d) Crown Solicitors Office

160,958

87,391

301,283

364,638

230,164

(e) Other parts of NIO Department

337,587

117,413

332,880

169,411

705,432

Total

5,514,148

5,584,489

7,004,406

7,334,030

10,869,929

The hon. Member should note that the total figures have changed from the answer given on 4 June 2007, Official Report, column 19W. Some legal costs were omitted in error for which I apologise.

The original answer should have read:

“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

5,514,148

2003-04

5,584,489

2004-05

7,004,406

2005-06

7,334,030

2006-07

10,869,929

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 06/07.”