Government Departments: Judicial Review

Attorney General written question – answered on 14th January 2015.

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Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Attorney General, what amount each Government department has spent on external legal fees relating to each case involving substantive judicial review hearings since May 2010; and what the outcome of the proceedings was in each such case.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General

The Treasury Solicitor conducts most, but not all, litigation on behalf of government departments. For example, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs normally conducts its own litigation. In 2014 the Treasury Solicitor acted in about 17846 judicial reviews.

The Treasury Solicitor’s Department does not hold central records on the external legal fees paid in each individual case or on the outcome of each such case. Such information could not be created without examining every case file and thus incurring disproportionate costs.

In relation to external fees, the Attorney General maintains five panels of junior counsel to undertake civil and EC work for all Government Departments. There are three London panels (an A panel for senior juniors, a B panel for middle juniors and a C panel for junior juniors) together with a Regional panel and a Public International Law panel. This is in addition to First Treasury Counsel (FTC) who exclusively does Government work, and to the Standing Counsel to certain Departments.

The hourly rates for panel counsel are as follows:

First Treasury Counsel - £230

A panel - £120

B panel - £80

C panel - £60 if under 5 years call and £80 if over 5 years call.

In relation to outcomes, the Ministry of Justice publish figures on the number of Judicial Reviews by each Department up to 2012:

See Table 4.3 at the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/267408/additional-court-tables-2012.xls

This shows the number of cases each year where Government departments were named as first defendant and where the judicial review was granted following a substantive hearing.

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