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The big earners in the Bloody Sunday Inquiry

By Sam Lister

Lawyers working on the Bloody Sunday inquiry have raked in more £98m in fees, the government has revealed.

A full breakdown of legal costs has been published that shows two lawyers have earned more than £4m each while two firms made £26m between them.

The parliamentary written answer also shows that more than 20 firms and individuals each submitted bills well in excess of £1m.

The Saville Inquiry is the longest and most expensive in British history with costs, including administration fees and expenses as well as legal bills, having reached £184.9m by October last year.

The current estimated final cost will be £190m, according to Secretary of State Shaun Woodward, meaning more than half of the total bill will have been swallowed up by lawyers’ fees.

Top earners were Christopher Clarke, lead counsel to the inquiry, who had made £4.48m by last December while Edwin Glasgow, representing soldiers, received £4.06m.

Their payments would be enough to cover the salaries of more than 300 general nurses for a year.

Three of Mr Clarke’s colleagues earned in excess of £2m from their work as counsel for the inquiry while the fees of three of the senior counsel representing the Army were above £1m.

Eversheds solicitors, London, which has dealt with witness statements received £13.2m, while Belfast-based Madden and Finucane solicitors, one of the firms representing families, was paid £12.9m.

The government listed around 70 lawyers and firms that have been involved in the inquiry although it was unable to confirm how many hours of work they had submitted bills for.

When former Prime Minister Tony Blair set out his plans for the inquiry in 1998 he said it was not possible to state how much time it would take adding it should be given as long as necessary to cover all of the available evidence.

The inquiry initially said it thought that could be done within about two years and at a cost of £11m but it has now been running for more than a decade with the publication of the final report recently delayed until autumn.

Officials point to the sheer volume of evidence — 2,500 witnesses gave statements, of whom 922 were called to give direct evidence — as well as 121 audio tapes and 110 video tapes for constantly revised timetable and costs.

But critics last night expressed outrage at what they branded a “waste of public money” insisting the final outcome would do little to heal the wounds of the past.

Owen Paterson, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, who requested the figures in parliament, said: “To see in black and white the £190m cost of the inquiry broken down into individual payments to lawyers and legal firms really brings home the astonishing cost to the taxpayer of this inquiry.

“Saville has not heard any evidence since 2005; four years later it is still consuming millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.

“The Labour Government which set up this inquiry must ensure that it is brought to a rapid conclusion.

“This must never happen again.”

Politicians’ outrage at ‘waste of money’

Senior politicians reacted with anger at the breakdown of the Saville legal bills, branding the staggering sums outrageous and disgraceful.

MPs and peers from across the political spectrum raised concerns about what the inquiry will ultimately achieve, claiming the only people who will really benefit are the lawyers.

Jeffrey Donaldson, DUP junior minister, said the money should have been spent supporting the victims rather than lawyers.

“Clearly I am very concerned that a huge proportion of the costs go on paying lawyers fees,” he said. “When all of this is said and done the main beneficiaries will be these lawyers, certainly not the people of Northern Ireland.

“I regret to say that this money has been wasted when it could have been spent better on supporting the victims. Compared to the paltry sums they have been given over the years it is an outrage.”

Lady Sylvia Hermon, UUP MP, said: “Whilst it is arguable an inquiry should have taken place, expenditure of public money must be proportionate. When jobs are being cut and banks bailed out, is spending nearly £200m justified? The answer is definitely no, it isn’t.”

Labour MP Stephen Pound, a member of the Northern Ireland Affairs committee, said: “Having recapitalised the banks it seems as if we are recapitalising the legal profession in Northern Ireland.

“I’m sure the pain of the past has been eased in the case of the barristers but I’m not sure if any material benefit has been achieved for the people of Northern Ireland.”

Ulster Unionist peer Lord Maginnis said: “It’s outrageous, a disgrace. I will learn nothing from the Saville Inquiry that I didn’t already know. It was a huge tragedy, a huge blunder, we all know that. We all know that there was aggravation. It makes a mockery of justice. This money has been squandered.”

Saville Inquiry legal payouts: who got what

Expenditure on legal representatives (counsel and solicitors’ firms) to the end of December 2008

Counsel for the inquiry

Christopher Clarke, £4,488,266

Jacob Grierson, £394,879

Alan Roxburgh, £2,978,989

Cathryn McGahey, £2,268,093

Bilal Rawat, £2,203,633

Solicitors employed for the taking of witness statements

Eversheds, £13,253,720

Senior counsel representing |the families

Lord Gifford, £803,040

Arthur Harvey, £1,326,426

Michael Lavery, £678,191

Barry J. McDonald, £1,203,275

P. T. McDonald, £120,144

Michael Mansfield, £743,421

Eilish McDermott, £1,405,133

Seamus Treacy, £1,008,703

Eoin McGonigal, £134,556

Kevin Finegan, £551,815

Senior counsel representing NICRA

Sir Louis Blom Cooper, £587,746

Junior counsel representing the families

John Coyle, £812,614

Fiona Doherty, £641,326

Ciaran Harvey, £673,951

Richard Harvey, £679,869

Brian Kennedy, £661,153

Philip Magee, £83,175

Kieran Mallon, £823,196

Brian McCartney, £874,398

Karen Quinlivan, £571,548

Patricia Smyth, £360,927

Michael Topolski, £159,915

Mary McHugh, £424,524

Junior counsel representing NICRA

Paddy O'Hanlon, £442,732

Solicitors representing the families

Barr and Co., £696,319

Brendan Kearney and Co., £953,451

Desmond Doherty and Co., £1,449,837

MacDermott & McGurk, £1,503,840

Madden & Finucane, £12,968,409

McCann & McCann, £707,652

McCartney & Casey, £1,483,283

Solicitor representing NICRA

Francis Keenan, £594,328

Legal representatives for other witnesses

Various solicitors and counsel, £3,173,210

Payments made by the MoD for legal representation to the end of December 2008

Senior counsel representing armed forces

Edwin Glasgow QC, £4,065,817

Edmund Lawson QC, £942,943

David Lloyd Jones QC, £1,095,966

Gerard Elias QC, £1,795,752

Peter Clarke QC, £958,853

Sir Allan Green QC, £1,522,441

Rosamund Horwood-Smart QC, £677,874

Sir Sydney Kentridge QC, £52,875

Anna Worrall QC, £100,457

Senior counsel representing MOD

Ian Burnett QC, £231,386

Philip Havers QC, £7,138

Junior counsel representing armed forces

Alexander Milne, £409,121

Bridget Petherbridge, £126,197

Huw Davies, £361,638

Ian Leist, £965,146

Michael Hick, £253,895

Gaby Bonham-Carter, £277,393

Pamela Morrison, £131,378

Kristian Mills, £56,929

Nicholas Moss, £991,892

Sam Grodzinski, £1,877

Stephen Requena, £88,161

Alan May, £299,009

Andrew Hurst, £590,803

David Bradly, £1,291,966

Michael Bools, £990,071

Nicholas Griffin, £1,195,062

Thomas Quinton, £426,072

Junior counsel representing MOD

William Hoskins, £49,892

Sacha Ackland, £2,776

Jonathan Hough, £4,488

Solicitors representing armed forces

Devonshires, £2,727,581

Kingsley Napley, £1,943,586

Payne Hicks Beach, £3,789,748

Jacqueline Duff, £175,163

Treasury Solicitor, £3,915,980

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