To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of legal costs to his Department in defending service personnel in relation to actions carried out in the course of duty; what estimate he has made of the proportion of such costs which relate to cases where the accused service personnel are acquitted; and if he will make a statement.
The total legal costs borne by the Ministry of Defence relating to actions carried out by Service personnel while on duty are over £100 million. The costs of providing the defence for Service personnel facing specifically Courts Martial or a Service Civilian Court, amounted to approximately £750,000 in financial year 2014-15. The costs of providing the defence for current and former Service personnel facing criminal investigations relating to operations in Northern Ireland during the "Troubles" period, has amounted to approximately £142,000 since 7 February 2014. The expenditure on behalf of defendants in Courts Martial or Service Civilian courts related to 394 individuals, of whom 95 were acquitted. The relevant criminal proceedings in Northern Ireland are ongoing.
The vast majority of Defence litigation expenditure relates to civil cases. As an example, £31 million was spent on the Al-Sweady Public Inquiry which concluded that all of the serious allegations that were raised, were wholly without foundation.