Written Answers. - Beef Tribunal Costs.

Ivor Callely

Question:

44 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the total claims for costs to date in respect of all claims arising out of the Tribunal of Inquiry into the Beef Processing Industry; the total costs paid to date in respect of these claims; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1803/96]

The only legal fees paid so far in respect of the beef tribunal are the fees that have been paid to counsel representing the State and the tribunal. The total cost of these fees was £4,617,878.95 inclusive of withholding tax.

The legal fees remaining to be paid are those the subject of costs orders made by the sole member of the tribunal. These costs are being examined by the Taxing Master who began his hearing on 11 October 1995. These legal fees will not be paid until the Taxing Master has finished his examination of the bills presented. Following the hearing it remains open to the State to raise objections to the amounts awarded, if necessary by way of appeals to the High Court and Supreme Court.
To date 21 bills totalling approximately £10,532 million have been lodged with the office of the Chief State Solicitor or the Taxing Master. Of these 11 have been referred back to the claimants to have their costs taxed.
The taxation of the costs relating to two of the major claimants has been stayed under the order of Mr. Justice Lavan of 20 November 1995 granting the Minister for Finance leave to apply for judicial review in respect of a ruling made by the Taxing Master on 1 November 1995 with regard to the interpretation of the order of the tribunal. It is not known how this will affect the hearing of other claims.