State spends over €15 million a year on lawyers

State expenses on lawyers have skyrocketed. Between 2014-2016, “public coffers” have been shelling out an average of €15.2 million a year.

Data released by Jornal de Notícias and Dinheiro Vivo suggests that the State’s legal expenses have been rising since “the three year period of 2008-2010”.

The money is largely spent on contracts for legal advice.

Says JN, between 2014-2016, the State signed an average of 891 contracts with law firms, 168 more than the previous three-year period (2011-2013) and “264 more than between 2008-2010”.

In simple terms, this means legal spending has almost doubled in the last six years.

These figures “may not illustrate the total reality”, says Dinheiro Vivo, as some contracts may not have been taken into account, and others may not be published on Base, the internet portal for public accounts.

Going into the numbers, DV explains that 2015 and 2016 have been the most expensive years to date: seeing expenditure reach €18.4 million on 300 contracts in the former and €17.7 million on 358 in the latter.

The ‘biggest spenders’ were the Bank of Portugal, Lisbon Metropolitan area and “various companies of the Águas do Portugal group” – and the main beneficiaries have been Vieira de Almeida & Associados and international legal specialists Lipman Karas.

As for this year, so far it looks like seeing a drop in expenditure on 2016 with 270 contracts celebrated up to November 17, for a global value of €10.4 million, says DV.

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