Barristers and lawyers working on the Leveson Inquiry into phone-hacking and press standards could be paid as much as £200 an hour from public funds.A report in The Telegraph said the inquiry had placed a ‘ceiling on funding at £200 an hour for leading counsel, £100 an hour for junior counsel, £150 for solicitors and even £75 an hour for trainee lawyers”.
With the inquiry likely to run for several months it was ‘likely to cost tens of millions of pounds”, The Telegraph claimed.
A campaigns manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Robert Oxley, told the paper:
With an issue that affects the foundation of democracy, there has to be a proper investigation in to the allegations.
But it is important the investigation represents value for taxpayers’ money and that the result is to restore faith in the organisations and not to bolster the pockets of well-paid lawyers.
But Mark Stephens, a partner at the law firm Finers Stephens Innocent who worked on the Bloody Sunday inquiry, said the hourly rates were a ‘fraction of usual fees”.
According to Stevens a barrister in an inquiry could on average earn £1,000 an hour and a solicitor could earn £300 an hour. He praised Lord Justice Leveson for not letting the inquiry become a ‘money cow’for lawyers.