Scottish Legal Aid Board to continue publishing legal aid earnings amid GDPR worries
The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) will continue to publish details of solicitors and advocates’ legal aid earnings despite the equivalent body in Northern Ireland discontinuing the practice amid GDPR concerns.
Our sister publication Irish Legal News reported that the Legal Services Agency is no longer naming the law firms and barristers earning the most from legal aid in Northern Ireland out of concerns about GDPR rules.
Its most recent figures, released in March 2016, break down the £70.5 million paid to firms and the £34.8 million paid to barristers in 2014/15.
Justice Minister Naomi Long has said a breakdown of legal aid payments to law firms and barristers for the years since 2014/15 cannot be published “as it constitutes personal data which can only be processed in accordance with the data processing principles set out in the General Data Protection Regulations”.
A spokesperson for SLAB told Scottish Legal News: “Our policies are kept under review and we have considered GDPR in relation to the publication of solicitor and advocate legal aid payments.
“We publish these figures with our annual report in accordance with the requirement in the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 for disclosure of expenditure over £25,000.
“Our position is that in order to satisfy these disclosure requirements publication is good practice and is in line with required levels of transparency.”