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Federal legal spend hits half billion mark

Federal legal spend hits half billion mark

The Attorney-General's Department has this week revealed that the Federal Government spent $555 million on lawyers in the 2008-09 financial year. The revelation follows Senate Estimates hearings…

The Attorney-General's Department has this week revealed that the Federal Government spent $555 million on lawyers in the 2008-09 financial year.

The revelation follows Senate Estimates hearings in which Senator Guy Barnett, the Coalition Scrutiny of Government Spokesperson, questioned the Attorney-General's Department on legal fees.

According to Barnett, the total legal spend included $308 million on external lawyers, and $247 million on in-house legal advice.

He said in a statement released today that the figure amounted to "reckless spending", despite indications from the Attorney-General Robert McClelland earlier this year that Commonwealth agencies should do more to control their legal expenses.

The Senate Estimates hearing found that the largest legal spend came from the Australian Tax office at $75.6 million, followed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on $70.8 million.

Check back with Lawyers Weekly for further updates on this story

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