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Members: Allowances

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will make a statement on the High Court decision in relation to the details of hon. Members' allowances; whether a further appeal is planned against the decision; and how much has been spent on legal and tribunal proceedings in relation to disclosure of hon. Members' allowances since the commencement of the matter. (207071)

The House has decided not to seek leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the judgment of the divisional court of 16 May 2008. The cost of this litigation up to 20 May 2008 is £82,673. This figure includes charges up to that date not yet invoiced to the House of Commons. There may be further charges.

The House has been ordered to pay the costs of the other litigants. The final figure is not yet established, but court has ordered payment of an interim figure of £39,363.

The breakdown of figures including VAT for other FOI cases related to Members' expenses and allowances charged to the House of Commons as at 30 April 2008 comprise:

£

Treasury solicitor (TSol) legal fees

35,776.99

Disbursements (couriers/travel/counsel's fees)

13,070.32

Total

48,847.00

Although additional charges may be made to these latter accounts, they are unlikely to rise significantly beyond this total. Within these figures, the legal cost of the tribunal case in February 2007 relating to travel expenses has been given as £17,232 as announced in my previous answer on 28 February 2007, Official Report, column 1374W.