Durham council faces questions over £400,000 legal bill

Councillor John Shuttleworth

Councillor John Shuttleworth

First published in
Last updated
Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Durham)

THE North-East’s biggest council has come under fire for spending more than £400,000 on outside legal support.

Durham County Council spent £420,901 on external legal advice in the ten months to the end of January.

Of this, the children and adults’ services department paid out £263,077.

Independent councillor John Shuttleworth said: “If Durham County Council has the best people employed, why do they need to source external legal advice?

“If they had the right people in the right jobs this would not be required.”

In response, Don McLure, the council’s corporate director for resources, said it, like many large authorities, had to undertake some specialised and complex legal work.

“It would not be practical, nor would it provide value for money, for the council to employ the number of lawyers and barristers with the expertise required for this type of specialist work.

“We employ a core team of lawyers which handles the day-to-day legal business on behalf of the council and only commission specialist legal skills when this is necessary,” he added.

Outside legal advice cost the council £1.36m in 2010-11, £765,000 in 2011-12 and £813,000 in 2012-13.

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:45pm Tue 25 Feb 14


nothing fails to surprise me with this lot
nothing fails to surprise me with this lot DURHAM CITY
  • Score: 5

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree