Legal action and costs

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Dear Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland,

I am writing to you to request the following information.

1) The total spend, broken down by financial or calendar year, on external legal advice since April 1, 2020. (I.e. 2020/21, 2021/22, 2022/23 to date)
1a) Please break this down by the list of associated cases or disputes, and their individual cost.

1b) If possible, please provide the final settlement or damages or other court mandated payment cost for any cases during which external legal advice was sought. If it is not possible to link each case to a settlement agreement, please provide the total cost of the settlements or payments.

Yours faithfully,

Conor Matchett

business, Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Matchett,

Thank you for your email of 30 November 2022 requesting the information in
italics below.  I am responding to your request on behalf of the Ethical
Standards Commissioner under the terms of the Freedom of Information
(Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA).

1) The total spend, broken down by financial or calendar year, on external
legal advice since April 1, 2020. (I.e. 2020/21, 2021/22, 2022/23 to date)

1a) Please break this down by the list of associated cases or disputes,
and their individual cost.

I attach a PDF document containing the information requested.  It may be
helpful to note the following:

• There were no disputes in the timeframe requested.  All ESC spend on
external legal advice since 1 April 2020 falls into one of the
following three categories:

◦ External legal representation at hearings held by the Standards
Commission for Scotland
◦ Specialist legal or technical advice on specific complaint
investigations
◦ General legal or HR advice on internal office matters.

• Costs marked with an asterisk in the provided document are for
external legal representation at hearings.  Please note that since
spring 2022 this function has now been brought in house and is covered
by ESC employees.  There were no costs for external representation at
hearings in the year 2022/23 to date, and such costs are expected to
be minimal in future.

1b) If possible, please provide the final settlement or damages or other
court mandated payment cost for any cases during which external legal
advice was sought. If it is not possible to link each case to a settlement
agreement, please provide the total cost of the settlements or payments.

There were no settlements, damages or other court mandated payments in the
timeframe requested.

If you are unhappy with how your request for information has been handled
you should contact the Ethical Standards Commissioner at [1][Ethical
Standards Commissioner request email]. Your request for review should be
made within 40 working days and should explain why you are dissatisfied
with our response. You may also write to us by post if preferred at
Thistle House, 91 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 5HE, but please note
that we have hybrid working in operation at present and this may delay our
response.

If you are not content with the outcome of our review, you may apply
directly to the Scottish Information Commissioner for a decision.
Generally, the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have
exhausted the review procedure provided by the Commissioner for Ethical
Standards. More information can be found on the Scottish Information
Commissioner’s website: [2]www.itspublicknowledge.info\yourrights.

Kind regards, Jenni

Jenni Green (she/her)

Business Officer

Working hours (temporary): 10am-3pm, Mon-Fri

Ethical Standards Commissioner

Tel: 0131 347 3890

To find out more about how we treat your personal data please go to:
[3]http://www.ethicalstandards.org.uk/priva...

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