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0 votes
by (500 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
Why would a single councillor pay the legal fees of the council?
by (24.4k points)
They have a vested interest in pushing the matter through on which the legal advice is being provided. The vested interest hasn’t been declared.
0 votes
Any individual can pay their own money for anything they want.
by (21.3k points)
Really? Without any disclosure made at all? Ie the cost doesn’t get shown as an expense and the contribution a donation?
This is all very vague and confusing  but as I see it this only becomes an issue when a vote is taken on the matter  concerned and the Councillor concerned would have to declare an interest
If the Council raised an invoice then that should have been agreed by a vote
Unlike the question which is so vague and ambiguous as to be pointless, there is no vagary nor ambiguity in my answer - it really is simple. Any person can spend their money as they see fit.
You are missing WAY TOO MUCH detail to facilitate any sort of meaningful reply….
I think you mean any individual can OFFER to pay for anything they want.  It is up to the COUNCIL whether they accept the offer.
That’s not what I meant at all.
I meant EXACTLY as I said.
+1 vote
Whilst I agree with RAC's initial response, this raises issues about roles and responsibilities. If the councillor is paying the bill, who is the solicitor's client? Somebody must sign a client agreement and it is generally accepted that it will be the person paying for the service. The councillor paying for the service could claim ownership of the legal advice and opt not to share it with his or her fellow councillors in its unedited entirety, particularly if they have a vested interest in the outcome of the legal advice.

If the council has resolved to seek legal advice, the council should receive the advice, act appropriately thereon, pay the bill and claim the VAT back.

Finally, legal advice is usually free as part of a parish council's insurance package, so that would have been my first recommendation.
by (53.3k points)
There is a lot of assumption there Dave.
There is nothing in the OP which states that the service (in this case legal advice) has been commissioned by the PC but paid by a private individual.
If could just as easily be a private individual (or a Cllr acting as an individual) commissioning and paying for their own legal advice.
The original question simply lacks sufficient detail to warrant any response at all.
As an example of communication skills, or rather the lack thereof, it is no wonder councils get into such problems.
The question looks pretty clear to me:  "Can a councillor pay legal fees on behalf of the council .......".  I read this as the council being responsible for the debt although I agree that it is unclear whether the fees result from a request for legal advice or as a result of a judgement against the council.
I believe a council has the power to accept donations and I do not believe it is necessary/a legal requirement for the source of a donation to be identified in the minutes.  BUT, I agree that this is a huge can of worms from a disclosure of interests point of view and I believe this may have implications from a VAT reclaim point of view too.   There are accounting implications if an invoice has been issued in the name of the council.   I'd take professional advice rather than rely on this forum.
OK, I'll give you that one - it "could" be interpreted that way.

Without a clear stipulation of who sought the legal advice, whether it was an individual seeking independent legal advice to inform their own decision making or via a motion of the council presented by the PO to the service provider and then an invoice was presented from the service provider which was then paid by an individual it simply cannot be known what the circumstances actually are - ergo, an inadequate question.

The question is so vague as to allow almost any number of possible interpretations.
What it needs is clarity.

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