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Brexit government department spent £3.7m in legal costs in year since EU referendum

The government department for exiting the European Union (DExEU) has spent £3.7m in legal costs since it was set up last summer, the most significant area of expenditure for DExEU after overall staff costs of £14m.

A government report published on Wednesday (19 July) revealed that DExEU cost taxpayers £1.2m in legal fees for the cases brought against the government, including that on triggering of Article 50, which formally started the UK’s withdrawal process from the European Union (EU).

This includes half a million for the claimants inthe case, including Gina Miller.

DExEU failure to successfully challenge the triggering of Article 50  in January, meant parliament had to approve anylegislation to authorise the prime minister, Theresa May, to start the two-year withdrawal process in March.

Another case, against the triggering of article 127 to take the country out of the European Economic Area, was blocked by the high court in February, resulting in a cost of £78,000 in legal fees including those of counsel..

DExEU also spent £2.2m in legal advice until March 2017.

Total spend by the department was £24.2m, which equalled around half % of its total £51m department budget.

In its 2016 Autumn Statement, the government announced that resources for the department amounted to up to £94m a year from 2017-18 until the UK’s exit from the EU is complete, the deadline for which under Article 50 is March 2019.