The latest Legal Services Expenditure Report has revealed that growth in spending by the Commonwealth Government on legal services has significantly slowed over the past financial year.
Released late last month, the 2009-2010 report reveals a total legal services expenditure of $571.9 million. Although this figure represents a spending increase of 2.9 per cent from 2008-2009, it signifies an 8.3 per cent decrease from the previous financial year.
The report revealed that government agencies are taking initiatives to reduce legal services expenditure through a significant shift in the number of direct briefs to counsel, which has increased almost fivefold since 2008-09.
"This report shows a significant drop in the increase we saw in legal services expenditure in 2008-09," explained Attorney-General Robert McClelland, upon releasing the report.
"In February, I will host a roundtable with key government departments and agencies to discuss further improving legal services procurement."