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24.11.15

More than £10m spent already on HS2 legal fees

Collectively the Department for Transport (DfT) and HS2 Ltd have spent more than £10m on legal advisers and barristers since the project began. 

Transport minister Robert Goodwill said the Department had appointed a joint team of solicitors/parliamentary agents from Winckworth Sherwood and Eversheds LLP to provide support for phase 1 of HS2. 

As of September 2015, the DfT has paid more than £4m to Winckworth Sherwood and over £3m to Eversheds. 

The figures were revealed in a response to a Parliamentary Question from the Conservative MP for Chesham and Amersham, Cheryl Gillan, a former Cabinet minister turned anti-HS2 activist who had an amendment to scrap the proposed HS2 rail link between London and the West Midlands defeated last year

Goodwill added: “The Department has previously, or continues to, instruct the following barristers to support the HS2 phase 1 hybrid Bill: Tim Mould QC, James Strachan QC, Lisa Busch, Richard Wald, John Jolliffe, Jacqueline Lean and Richard Turney. Each barrister is remunerated at government hourly rates agreed with the Attorney General. The current spend to date on these barristers in relation to the Bill is £1,404,978.96 and is exclusive of VAT.” 

Goodwill also noted that, since approximately 2010, the DfT has also instructed a number of barristers on other HS2 work. “These barristers will have been remunerated at government hourly rates agreed with the Attorney General,” he said, “but unfortunately it would involve disproportionate cost for the Department to provide precise figures.” 

HS2 Ltd has spent just shy of £3m on legal advice. The company has appointed Eversheds LLP in relation to property & planning and general commercial work, and has so far paid the firm more than £2.2m. It has also paid Herbert Smith Freehills over £736,000 in relation to construction. 

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