Scottish Daily Mail
QC Findlay earns £1,000 a day in legal aid
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’.