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Legal Opinion

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost was of external legal services provided to his Department in each of the last five years. (251352)

The Ministry of Justice was established on 9 May 2007 as a merger between the former Department for Constitutional Affairs and parts of the Home Office, namely the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and the Office for Criminal Justice Reform (OCJR).

Some of the legacy systems inherited by the Department do not separately distinguish expenditure on external legal expenses from other types of legal expenditure. This information can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

For activities relating to the former Department for Constitutional Affairs (comprising the core Department and its agencies, HM Courts Service, Tribunal Service and Office of the Public Guardian) accounting records indicate that expenditure over the last five years on external legal services was as follows:

£

2004-05

1,827,261

2005-06

968,636

2006-07

1,914,155

2007-08

2,297,148

2008-09 (to 31 December)

1,537,176

Expenditure on external legal services includes all use of counsel and solicitors in private practice and excludes advice from in-house legal advisers or Treasury solicitors.