£4m for one QC as inquiry costs £154m

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The Independent Online

The cost of the Bloody Sunday inquiry into the deaths of 14 people killed by paratroops in Londonderry in 1972 has risen to £154m, with one QC earning more than £4m.

The cost of the Bloody Sunday inquiry into the deaths of 14 people killed by paratroops in Londonderry in 1972 has risen to £154m, with one QC earning more than £4m.

Although the hearings of the tribunal ended last month, the proceedings were so lengthy and complex that a final report is not expected until August or September.

The tribunal chairman, Lord Saville of Newdigate, is expected to publish not just his findings but also a huge amount of material which, when put on the internet, is predicted to be one of the largest websites in the world.

According to figures revealed in a Commons written answer, Christopher Clarke QC earned £4,418,000 as counsel to the tribunal. He has been at the centre of its work since 1998. His opening speech to the inquiry set a legal record, lasting for 42 days of sittings over three months. He has since been appointed a High Court judge.

Both the length of the inquiry and its costs have far outstripped original estimates. It was hoped that the report would be completed years ago, and in 2002 the Government estimated the final cost at £100m.

Some £80m has gone on legal fees. Eversheds, the English solicitors who were employed to gather statements, have a legal bill for more than £12m. They collected more than 1,700 witness statements.

The Belfast solicitors Madden and Finucane, who represented the families of many of those killed, earned £8m while Edwin Glasgow QC, the principal barrister for the armed forces, is to be paid just under £4m.

The Democratic Unionist MP Gregory Campbell said yesterday: "This is 15 times more expensive than the second most expensive inquiry in British history. The Stephen Lawrence inquiry cost £10m. That's the scale of this."

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