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SCOTS LAW PLC: Reality Check – Public cash bankrolls profits of ‘top name’ Scots law firms as Scottish Government award £44m contracts to nine legal service providers

29 Jul

Public cash – the ‘food bank’ for Scots law firms IN ADDITION to £1 billion provided in legal aid public cash handed over to lawyers since the financial crash of 2008, and hundreds of millions more taken by law firms from Scots local authorities & public bodies, the Scottish Government this week awarded an extra £44 million in public funds to nine private law firms to provide a range of services from litigation to debt recovery.

The four year Framework Agreement for the Provision of Legal Services contract, now a regular event and previously covered here in 2011: ScotGov legal services contracts link to law firm hospitality also reveals the soaring cost of the contract to taxpayers, now standing at £44 million in 2015, an increase of £24 million from 2011 when the contract was a mere £20 million.

And, as reported in 2011, again, law firms who feature in the latest list of winning bidders coincidentally also appear in lists of hospitality given to key civil servants who head the Scottish Government’s legal departments.

Among the firms to win large hand outs from taxpayers are Brodies LLP, who received free airtime earlier this week for ramping up their profits to £57.9 million.

However, publicity relating to the high profits notably failed to mention the very same law firm – Brodies – like so many others in the list of ScotGov legal provider contract winners – serve numerous Scottish local authorities and a host of Scottish public bodies – collectively earning millions more from the public purse for doing so.

The latest round of extra work for hard up ‘top notch’ Scots law firms on the taxpayer ticket comes on top of figures released by the Scottish Government in response to a Freedom of Information request which reveal a further £9 million (£9,043,617) was spent in the past year by the Scottish Government on 137 lawyers & staff employed at the Scottish Government Legal Directorate, Legal Secretariat to the Lord Advocate  and Parliamentary Counsel Office.

The tender process for latest round of provision of legal services to the Scottish Government – launched a year ago, was run by the Scottish Procurement and Commercial Directorate with the finalised framework available to over one hundred public bodies in Scotland, including NHS organisations, fire and rescue services, the Scottish police authority and the equality and human rights commission.

The former panel was renewed in 2011 and included eleven firms, namely Anderson Strathern; Biggart Baillie; Brodies; DLA Piper; Dundas & Wilson (now CMS); Harper Macleod; Ledingham Chalmers; Maclay Murray & Spens; MacRoberts; Morton Fraser and Pinsent Masons.

The current framework comprises:

Lot 1 – Value £3.6 million: Contracts, Commercial and Corporate: Anderson Strathern, Harper Macleod, MacRoberts, Morton Fraser and Thorntons

Lot 2 – Value £10 million: Debt Recovery: Anderson Strathern, Brodies, Harper MacLeod, Morton Fraser and Thorntons

Lot 3 – Value £10.8 million: Litigation, Reparation, Employment and Inquiries: Anderson Strathern, Brodies, Harper MacLeod, Morton Fraser and Weightmans

Lot 4 – value £8.8 Million: Major Projects: Anderson Strathern, Brodies, DWF, Harper MacLeod and MacRoberts

Lot 5 – Value £6.8 million: Property and Related Matters: Anderson Strathern, DLA Piper, Harper MacLeod, Morton Fraser and Thorntons

Lot 6 – Value £4 million: One Stop Shop: Anderson Strathern, Brodies, Harper MacLeod, Morton Fraser and Thorntons

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