Second case in the Court of Session for the Scottish Information Commissioner

The Scottish Executive has appointed one of Scotland's top advocates to try and prevent the release of sensitive documents that could provide an explanation why Scotland's legal services market has never been opened up to greater competition.

Richard Keen QC's fees, which are though to be up to £6000 a day, will be paid for by the taxpayer.

However, ministers are still refusing to say why they are spending so much public money to block the release of the information. The bill for the case could run into six figures and began in the Court of Session on Monday, 18 December.

The request for the information came from Bill Alexander, a longstanding campaigner for wider consumer access to legal services. Mr Alexander used the freedom of information legislation to request disclosure of ministerial correspondence and memoranda from the last ten years concerning the ban on people other than solicitors and advocates being paid to represent clients in the Scottish courts.

Freedom of information, the law and the public purse (The Herald, 17 December 2006)