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Four lawyers got over half a million euro in legal aid payments in 2020

22 others got over €300,000

Four lawyers got over half a million euro each in legal aid payments last year.

22 others got over €300,000.

Criminal legal aid is paid by the state for people who can’t afford to mount their own defense in court.

New figures released by the Department of Justice show solicitors and barristers got a total of €57.5 million under the scheme last year.

It’s down nearly three million on the year before, but there was a drop in court activity in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The top earner under the scheme last year was senior counsel Michael J Bowman, who got over €659,000.

The next highest was solicitor Michael Hennessy, whose practice got nearly 639,000 euro.

Senior counsels Michael O’Higgins and Fiona Murphy also got over half a million euro each.

A total of 26 solicitors and barristers got at least €300,000.

All the amounts include VAT.