Scottish Daily Mail

QC Find­lay earns £1,000 a day in le­gal aid

- By Gra­ham Grant Home Af­fairs Ed­i­tor Scotland · Edinburgh · Scottish Parliament · Findlay, OH · Luke Mitchell

ONE of Scot­land’s top QCs has seen his le­gal aid earn­ings more than dou­ble in the last year.

Don­ald Find­lay re­ceived £399,000 in 201920 – the equiv­a­lent of more than £1,000 a day and up from £198,000, new fig­ures re­veal. It makes the 69-year- old vet­eran de­fence lawyer, who claims to work 358 days a year, the high­est le­gal aid earner.

Statis­tics re­leased by the Scot­tish Le­gal Aid Board (SLAB) also show le­gal aid costs over­all have risen by more than 5 per cent in a year. The tax­payer-funded as­sis­tance was worth £130.8mil­lion in 2019-20, com­pared with £123.7mil­lion pre­vi­ously.

Mr Find­lay’s previous clients in­clude se­rial killer Peter Tobin and Luke Mitchell, who was con­victed in 2005 of mur­der­ing his 14-year-old girl­friend Jodi Jones when he was just 15. The sec­ond high­est-paid ad­vo­cate was An­thony Lene­han, who re­ceived £334,000, while third was Brian McCon­nachie, QC, a former High Court prose­cu­tor, who made £333,000.

Last night Mr Find­lay said: ‘ The im­por­tant thing to re­mem­ber is that this is the to­tal turnover of the busi­ness, it’s not my in­come.

‘My in­come for this year (2020-21) is down 96 per cent be­cause of the pandemic, so next year’s SLAB re­port will make for gloomy read­ing.’

The fig­ures came amid a le­gal aid fund­ing row as lawyers threat­ened to boy­cott Ed­in­burgh Sher­iff Court over be­ing told to work on St An­drew’s Day with­out any ex­tra pay for the pub­lic holiday.

The Ed­in­burgh Bar As­so­ci­a­tion said it had writ­ten to Holy­rood’s jus­tice com­mit­tee to ex­press ‘increasing con­cern about the un­der­fund­ing of the le­gal aid pro­fes­sion’.

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