RHI inquiry costs Stormont departments £5.5m in legal fees

Four Northern Ireland departments incurred a combined legal bill of £5.5 million in relation to the inquiry into the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scandal.

Sir Patrick Coghlin, a retired Lord Justice of Appeal, chaired the independent inquiry into the energy scandal that brought down Stormont in 2017.

Figures released to the BBC under a Freedom of Information request reveal the legal fees incurred by the Executive Office, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the Department for the Economy and the Department of Finance:

  2017/18 (£) 2018/19 (£) Total (£)
The Executive Office 362,229 728,000 1,090,229
DAERA 10,754 9,536 20,290
Department of Finance 171,263 201,138 372,401
Department for the Economy 1,770,000 2,210,000 3,980,000
Total 2,314,246 3,148,674 5,462,920

The legal fees are in addition to the projected £6.7 million cost of the inquiry itself.