MoD bill for legal staff tops £36m
09 July 2012
The Ministry of Defence employs around 310 lawyers and hires external legal consultants at a cost of £36m each year, it has been revealed.
The figures, revealed following a Freedom of Information request, show that the ministry has hundreds of full-time lawyers, the vast majority of whom are employed directly by the army.
The Ministry itself employs 25 full-time commercial lawyers, 14 personnel and pensions lawyers and four who deal with human rights cases.
The army has 134 lawyers of its own, while the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force employ 18 and 42 respectively.
The specialisations of the remaining 73 were not published by The Daily Star.
Of the £36m total, the ministry is said to have spent £14m on external legal advice during the last financial year.
The numbers, which have not been disputed by the Ministry of Defence, were uncovered by a freelance journalist following a request under the Freedom of Information act.
A TaxPayers' Alliance spokesman said: "It's a sad state of affairs that the MoD has had to hire so many full time lawyers and still pay for more legal advice because of a growing compensation culture.
"It's in taxpayers' interests for the MoD to fight spurious claims but, unless there is action to stop the spread of compensation culture, it looks like spending on lawyers could rise further."
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Our legal teams have not increased in size in recent years and their work ensures that we get the best value for money for the taxpayer.
"The MoD legal teams provide critical guidance on a vast range of issues."
HAVE YOUR SAY
09 July 2012
?? Do not get what the problem is with this.
Directorate of Army Legal Services probably has dozens involved in the usual army discipline and courts martial cases.
Hardly a huge amount for a military and department of 200,000 plus people?
Daniele Mandelli - Guildford
09 July 2012
Exactly. And, as the TaxPayers' Alliance's take on this is focused exclusively on compensation claims, they appear to have "researched" it simply by reading the Daily Star article. Though without managing to persevere as far as the part where the Star mentions that legal advice is also provided on procurement contracts and on personnel & pensions issues.
Another case of something entirely uncontroversial being presented in such a way as to discredit the MOD.
Stan - York
10 July 2012
MOD has far too few lawayers, even the External Assistance (cnsultancy) contract ones are too few and far between to be available for important contract negotiations. This is why the MOD gets turned over by contractors, particularly US ones that have huge dedicated teams of lawyers along to every meeting and find every loophole to rip off the UK taxpayer. We need more legal staff, not less, just as we need more tax collectors. They more than pay for themselves.
AlMiles - Bristol, UK