Posted by: John Brace | 30 October 2014

Wirral Council spent £2,451.60 with Weightmans LLP on legal advice after reading something about themselves in the press

Wirral Council spent £2,451.60 with Weightmans LLP on legal advice after reading something about themselves in the press


I will first start by declaring an interest in that I am a member of the press, however I am unsure if it is anything I’ve written about Wirral Council (or something in the local newspapers) that led to the matter I’m writing about below.

Last year Wirral Council received an invoice dated 26th June 2013 from a Liverpool based firm of solicitors called Weightmans LLP. Nothing unusual in that you might say! The invoice was for £2,451.60. So what was this invoice for? It was for “To our professional charges in advising in relation to press comment”.

Oh dear did Wirral Council read something in the press they didn’t like again? Did they not have anybody available to provide internal legal advice on the “press comment” and had to rack up nearly 16 hours of time charged at either £160/hour or £120/hour over this?

I hope it wasn’t about something I wrote on this blog! So what was written in the press at around this time about Wirral Council? Anyone care to enlighten me?

The committee is down as “FIN” which I presume means it was something related to financial matters. Sadly Wirral Council black out the names of the five people (or job descriptions) at Weightmans LLP that provided them with this expensive advice. Anyway reading press articles at £120/hour or £160/hour is nice work if you can get it isn’t it?

The invoice is included below.

Weightmans invoice Wirral Council press comment £2451 60 26 June 2013

Weightmans invoice Wirral Council press comment £2451 60 26 June 2013

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  1. Reckon the 2.54 at £150 per hour could be “The Goach” (ex-Wirral, coincidentally)

    • Who knows as it’s blacked out on the invoice?

      However doesn’t he work for Weightmans LLP on their local government side?

      • Yes. Last I heard, the person under whom I was ‘banned’ from making FoI / DP requests for 20 months starting in autumn 2009 – for it is he – was head of local government ‘work’ at Weightmans. Presumably, the great man will have done the most ‘toil’ which is commensurate with extracting the £400+ figure from the well-battered trough of plenty.

    • On the same date as that invoice I wrote this piece but I don’t think that the invoice is connected to that blog post as my circulation is too small (or was in 2013) for Wirral Council to bother with such expensive advice over little old me!

      • Wouldn’t bank on that John. Hyper-paranoia has brought down some towering figures…. these people are small fry, and it ain’t their dosh. Never forget ! :)))

        • Well this Council (Tower Hamlets) racked up a legal bill of a six figure sum partly over a Panorama TV episode and a person who writes for a newspaper that writes a blog that is linked to above about that particular Council.

          Compared to that, the Wirral Council taxpayers seem to have got off lightly!

  2. You are a Very Good Man John Brace, You Keep Barking, my friend, pardon the liberty, Woof, woof, woof,woof !!!!!!!!!!!

    • Ah but the question is am I barking up the wrong tree or just barking? 🙂

      • You are quite right to correct me again, you are neither, you are a very clever man and going very well at the moment and may I add, those other marvelous contributors to your Blog. I am not a smart mouth, but you do already have the answer to what you seek

        • No, I’m not that clever really. Yes I am always pleased when people leave comments as they make an interesting read and often make points or ask questions I hadn’t thought of.

  3. I will say to you Mr Brace, I cannot lead you to a conclusion, I will try my level best to help you come to an overall conclusion and I can see where you are or at what stage you are, having reached a number of stages, over the last number of years myself. Try to see the National and International Picture

    • Thanks for that tip, I do try to see the national and international picture rather than the purely local one too.

    • It’s always hard communicating via blog comments as it is just words and the how something would be said if it was in person is lost.

      I don’t think there will ever be an overall conclusion on Wirral Council, just conclusions that can be reached on its individual parts.

  4. You are a man of words Mr Brace, unlike myself who is just a man

    • I find reading your words interesting though. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

  5. Thanks for that, now try this 9 Million saved from the failed merger (Co Socious) One say’s got to save 9 Million 2015/2016, the other say’s No you have not, where is the 9 Million, quite openly in the Globe at separate times

    • It’s just a predicted budget saving in a financial year that hasn’t happened yet.

      If it’s not found through one cut, it’ll be found somewhere else instead (is the short answer).

      Cosocious went ahead without Wirral Council, if you want to find out more read their website.