Departmental Legal Opinion

International Development written question – answered on 17th October 2011.

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Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the average hourly rate paid was to external (a) solicitors and (b) barristers engaged by his Department in 2010-11; what guidance his Department uses in commissioning external legal advice; and if he will publish (i) the names of each external (A) solicitor and (B) barrister engaged by his Department in 2010-11 and (ii) the sums paid in each case.

Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development

To provide a meaningful answer to the first part of this question relating to average hourly rates would involve a disproportionate cost.

The Department for International Development provides information on its intranet to all staff regarding the sources of legal advice available. Four primary sources of legal advice are used: The Treasury Solicitor's Department (TSOL); Foreign and Commonwealth Office legal advisers (FCO Legal); Crown Agents Legal (CA Legal) and the Office of the Solicitor to the Advocate General (OSAG). Each of four suppliers have specific areas of expertise and approval must be obtained from the relevant budget holder prior to DFID staff engaging with a supplier for the provision of legal advice.

In 2010-11 spend with the four sources of legal advice noted above was: TSOL (£52,793.64) and CA Legal (£667,057.38).

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