102 Petty France London SW1H 9AJ T 020 3334 4233 E matthew.gewan@justice.gsi.gov.uk www.

justice.gov.uk By E-mail: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Ref: 69781

18 July 2011

Dear XXXXXXXXX, I am now in a position to provide the information that you requested relating to the legal aid payments made to Oliver Blunt QC and Alexander Cameron QC. I am sorry for the length of time that it has taken me to provide a substantive answer to this request. As part of the process undertaken to provide you with this answer, we consulted with Messrs Cameron and Blunt over the information released to you here, in line with s.45 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 Code of Practice. Records of payments are stored in central databases in such a way that it is possible to identify most of the payments made to individual barristers. However, these databases go back no earlier than 2001-02 and therefore I can only provide the amounts paid for the each of the nine years 2001-02 to 2009-10. The records held by the Ministry of Justice show that Alexander Cameron QC was paid the following sums of money for Crown Court legal aid; 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 £ 8,813 £ 3,884 £130,609 £329,775 £ 60,285 £ 48,374 £179,754 £237,104 £140,998

Records also show that Oliver Blunt QC was paid the following sums for Crown Court legal aid; 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 £497,066 £703,000 £839,000 £674,988 £913,000 £924,000 £595,268 £433,169 £288,627

These figures must be interpreted carefully and should not be taken to represent the personal earnings of Alexander Cameron QC and Oliver Blunt QC. There are a number of reasons for this. 1. The amounts paid may represent payments for work covering many years, for a variety of cases. The amount an individual receives in any year fluctuates widely, and is to a large extent due to the variety of payment processes and schemes used by the Legal Services Commission and the Courts. Fluctuations could also be attributed to legacy payments from cases paid under the old system of individual case assessment where payments were made once the case had finished, prior to the introduction of VHCC (very high cost case) contracts. 2. The amount attributed to a barrister may include payments subsequently made to other barristers as remuneration for work carried out on behalf of the named barrister. Conversely, the figures exclude payments to the named barrister when they have carried out work on behalf of a colleague. 3. All the figures listed are inclusive of VAT as paid, and disbursements incurred (e.g. travelling). Individuals must pay that VAT to HM Revenue & Customs. 4. Barristers pay a percentage of their fees towards professional overheads. Additionally, barristers face the same expenses as any other self employed person, including income tax and National Insurance contributions. 5. Payments are made only after claims are scrutinised by the Legal Services Commission or the Courts, and where necessary adjusted. The Legal Services Commission and the Courts may make payments in a different financial year after a case has concluded. 6. For the CDS, not all payments are recorded centrally in a way that can be attributed to a barrister. Also not all payments made to barristers are recorded in the database used to compile the list. These include manual legal aid payments and a small number of bills paid on account and payments made in the high court. Therefore, it is possible that the list could change in future following the inclusion of such payments in light of further information and subsequent verification. As part of our obligations under the FOIA, the Ministry of Justice has an independent review process. If you are dissatisfied, you may write to request an internal review. The internal review will be carried out by someone who did not make the original decision, and they will re-assess how the Department handled the original request. If you wish to request an internal review, please write or send an email to the Data Access and Compliance Unit within two calendar months of the date of this letter, at the following address: Data Access and Compliance Unit Information Directorate Ministry of Justice 6th Floor, Post point 6.24 102 Petty France

London SW1H 9AJ e-mail: data.access@justice.gsi.gov.uk If you remain dissatisfied after an internal review decision, you have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner’s Office under Section 50 of the FOIA. You can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office at the following address: Information Commissioner’s Office Wycliffe House Water Lane Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF Internet: https://www.ico.gov.uk/Global/contact_us.aspx

Yours sincerely, Matthew Gewan.

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