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Departmental Legal Costs

Health written question – answered on 18th January 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department paid to each (a) firm of solicitors and (b) barristers' chambers in each of the last five years.

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health

The Department obtains solicitor and barrister support in two ways. These are described as follows, together with the available data on expenditure and explanatory notes:

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Legal Services provides the Department's legal support via a service level agreement, and obtains and pays for such services on behalf of the Department, recharging the Department later. Summary expenditure for the previous five years is presented in the following table. However, DWP are not able to identify expenditure on firms of solicitors or barristers' chambers without incurring disproportionate cost.

Legal support costs incurred by DWP on behalf of the Department
Financial year Expenditure (£000)
2005-06 1,140.5
2006-07 947.7
2007-08 985.3
2008-09 617.7
2009-10 1,229.7

1. These figures include expenditure relating to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, previously Medicines Control Agency, for the whole period, and for Food Standards Agency up to and including 2006-07.

2. These figures do not include data for other non-departmental public bodies and agencies, which is not held centrally, and would incur disproportionate cost to obtain.

3. These figures include costs awarded against the Department when a case has been lost. We are not able to separate these out without incurring disproportionate cost.

4. These figures exclude the cost of the legal services team itself.

From time to time, directorates in the Department procure solicitor and barrister services directly. Before July 2008, the Department did not collect this data centrally. Data from July 2008 to date is presented in the following table.

Legal support expenditure incurred directly by the Department
2008-09 2009-10 Total
Eversheds 1,061,108 - 1,061,108
DLA Piper UK 7,824 1,024,098 1,031,922
Mills and Reeve 103,041 612,166 715,207
Beachcroft 152,983 554,285 707,268
Hempsons 133,773 95,819 229,592
Capsticks 58,231 155,398 213,629
Bevan Brittan 50,651 16,064 66,715
Field Fisher Waterhouse 40,684 - 40,684
Morgan Cole 25,956 - 25,956
Addleshaw Goddard 6,332 - 6,332
Pinsent Masons 6,000 - 6,000
Berwin Leighton Paisner 4,497 - 4,497
Wragge and Co. 2,931 - 2,931
Lee and Priestley 386 - 386
Marsh Brown and Co. - 350 350
Freeth Cartwright 127 - 127
Total 1,654,521 2,458,180 4,112,701

1. This data is based on expenditure coded as legal services on the Department's financial system. It includes expenditure with the larger legal firms, but which has not been coded as legal services. The Department may have incurred expenditure with other firms, but we are unable to extract this data without incurring disproportionate cost.

2. This data excludes expenditure to individual barristers engaged on public inquiries.

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