Veteran lawyer Donald Findlay ousted from top of Scottish legal aid table

Donald Findlay QC

Controversial Scottish lawyer Donald Findlay QC has lost his place the country’s  top legal aid earner, reports Lucy Ashton

The former Rangers vice-chairman’s income has been slashed due to Covid-19, new figures show.

Mr  Findlay, pictured right,  topped the advocates’ list in 2019-20 with total earnings £399,000. It was the third time in five years he had been the country’s highest legal aid earner.

However, his income fell by more than half in 2020-21 to £144,000.

Mr Findlay, 70, made the news when he was filmed singing an inappropriate song, was only the ninth highest-earning advocate during the year.

The list is topped by Tony Lenehan with £229,000, a drop of £105,000. In second place is John McElroy with £186,000 while Louise Arrol is next with £182,000.

Scotland’s annual legal aid bill fell from £130.9million to £99.1million, with court closures and delays caused by the pandemic to blame.

Colin Lancaster, of the Scottish Legal Aid Board, said: “The justice system has been hit hard by the impact of Covid-19, but lawyers have continued to deliver frontline services.

“This has ensured that those in need have had the chance to receive the help the legal aid system is there to provide.”

The publication of this list comes amid new concerns about the cost of taking a civil court case in Scotland, said to be the most expensive in the UK outside London.

Legal expert Jim Diamond, who’s been asked by the Scottish Government to help reform the system, claims lawyers are routinely overcharging their clients, with some charging up to £500 an hour.

The Scottish Government said: “Improvements are needed to further support access to justice.”

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