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Appendix 7 - Legal services expenditure

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Legal services expenditure

The Legal Services Directions 2005 paragraph 11.1(ba) requires all departments and agencies to report their legal services expenditure each financial year. This appendix provides a breakdown of the Department’s expenditure for 2010–11, along with the previous year’s data for comparison. All expenditure figures include GST.

Table 25: Legal services expenditure summary, comparing 2009–10 and 2010–11

  2009–10 2010–11
Total legal services expenditurea $12,851,432.29 $11,830,853.69
Total external legal services expenditure1 $11,913,184.80 $10,640,152.42
Total number of counsel briefed 71 81
Total number of counsel direct briefed 6 18
Total value of counsel briefs $2,365,978.93 $1,767,378.37
Total disbursements (excluding counsel) $130,729.73 $339,724.11
Total professional fees paid $9,416,476.14 $8,533,049.94
Total internal legal services expenditureb $938,247.49 $1,190,701.27
Total costs recovered $0.00 $21,666.66

Notes:

a These figures exclude amounts of legal services expenditure relating to The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the United Nations Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance, and international obligations under various bilateral maintenance arrangements. The Department records these separately as they do not constitute purchase of legal services by the Department for itself. Rather, they arise because the Department pays for legal services that benefit other parties as a result of obligations under international agreements.

b The Department does not have a separate internal Legal Services Branch. It has legal practices that provide both internal and external services, principally the Office of International Law and the Office of Legislative Drafting and Publishing. Legal services are provided within the Department at no cost to the receiving areas. No billing arrangement for internal legal services provided to the Department by the practices operates, nor are separate records of expenditure kept. Such expenses are treated as part of the Department’s aggregate staffing costs.

An estimate of the cost of internal legal services has been derived from an assessment of the number of staff involved in providing internal legal services and the proportion of their time involved in providing those services.

The staff of the Office of International Law devoted to providing internal legal services are the full-time equivalent of 0.3 of an APS 3; 0.1 of an APS 4; 1.5 Legal Officer; 2.0 Senior Legal Officer; 1.5 of a Principal Legal Officer and 0.6 of an SES Band 1 Officer.

The staff of the Office of Legislative Drafting and Publishing devoted to providing internal legal services are the full-time equivalent of 1.0 of a Senior Legal Officer; 0.7 of a Principal Legal Officer; and 0.1 of an SES Officer. Internal legal services that may be provided from time to time by other areas of the Department are not sufficiently material to enable separate costing.

The cost of internal legal services was estimated based on salary levels for these positions and increased by a factor reflecting typical staffing and other overheads within the Department. This approach is consistent with the ANAO’s August 2006 Better Practice Guide, and the Department of Finance and Deregulation’s on-cost model.

The Department also meets the cost of the Solicitor-General and Counsel Assisting the Solicitor-General (including salary).

 

Table 26: External legal services expenditure summary, comparing 2009–10 and 2010–11

  2009–10 2010–11
Counsel    
Total number of counsel briefed 71 81
Male counsel briefed 39 61
Female counsel briefed 32 20
Total number of counsel direct briefed 6 18
Male counsel direct briefed 6 14
Female counsel direct briefed 0 4
Total value of counsel briefs $2,365,978.93 $1,767,378.37
Male counsel briefs $444,437.72 $757,966.95
Female counsel briefs $1,921,541.21 $1,009,411.42
Disbursements (excluding counsel) $130,729.73 $339,724.11
Professional fees $9,416,476.14 $8,533,049.94

 

Table 27: Professional service providers, comparing 2009–10 and 2010–11

  2009–10 2010–11
Australian Government Solicitora $9,345,573.29 $8,211,418.08
Blake Dawsona $63,654.40 $223,374.07
Trinity Lawb $7,248.45 $1,439.90
Department of Premier and Cabinet New South Wales –
Office of General Counselc
$96,817.89
Total professional fees $9,416,476.14 $8,533,049.94

a The Department has Deeds of Standing Offer with the Australian Government Solicitor and Blake Dawson.

b The payment to Trinity Law relates to financial assistance provided under Appendix E of the Legal Services Directions 2005 which deals with assistance to Commonwealth employees for certain legal proceedings.

c The payment to the Department of Premier and Cabinet New South Wales - Office of General Counsel relates to the engagement of Mr Dennis Murphy for the development of draft legislation as part of the National Legal Profession reform agenda.

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