Legal Costs

Treasury written question – answered on 4th March 2014.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Culture and Sport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) cost and (b) purpose was of legal (i) representation and (ii) advice sought by his Department and its agencies in each year since May 2010.

Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The table details the Department's spend on internal and external legal costs incurred for legal representation and advice provided to HM Treasury for the financial years 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013 to 31 January 2014. The Department's financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March.

It is not possible, without separately analysing each invoice, to confirm whether all the Department's legal spend is captured in these figures. To do this would take the cost of responding to the question over the disproportionate cost threshold.

These figures include but are not limited to the case management services provided by the Treasury Solicitor's Department and external legal advice and representation provided by solicitors and barristers. It is not possible to provide a more detailed breakdown of the fees without exceeding the disproportionate cost threshold. The figures represent actual cost to the Department and therefore only include VAT to the extent such VAT is irrecoverable.

The Department's records of legal spend do not separate legal representation and legal advice. Disaggregating the data would take the cost of responding to the question over the disproportionate cost threshold.

Our records of legal spend do not contain details of the purpose of each item of legal spend. Each invoice would have to be separately analysed to establish the matter concerned and then further analysed to establish the purpose. This would take the cost of responding to the question over the disproportionate cost threshold.

The Executive Agencies accounted for within the figures are the Asset Protection Agency for the financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12 and the Debt Management Office. The Asset Protection Agency ceased to be an. Executive Agency in October 2012.

The Divisions of the Department accounted for within these figures are:

UK Financial Investments (UKFI);

Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR);

Office of Tax Simplification (OTS);

Infrastructure UK (IUK);

Government Actuaries Department (GAD); and

National Savings and Investments (NS&I).

  HMT legal costs (£ million)
2008-09 10,943,871.11
2009-10 18,518,800.48
2010-11 4,154,551.49
2011-12 5,673,682.71
2012-13 5,041,254.62

The following points should be noted:

It is not possible to disaggregate costs further without incurring considerable costs in retrieval and analysis of individual invoices which make up these figures, and which are held in remote storage.

These figures include fees paid to external law firms for the purpose of debt collection. Disaggregating these fees will incur considerable costs.

Legal representation and advice incurred by GAD and NS&I only include costs paid to the Treasury Solicitor's Department. The Department has not been able to obtain any additional information on costs for legal representation and advice incurred by GAD and NS&I at the time of answering this question.

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