Amount spent on Morton Fraser MacRoberts services: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

Total amount spent by the Scottish Government on services from Morton Fraser MacRoberts with regards to services provided to:

  • 1. Professor Sir Gregor Smith
  • 2. Jeane Freeman
  • 3. Dr Jason Leitch
  • 4. Ken Thomson
  • 5. Dr Audrey MacDougall

Please provide costings since 1 July 2023.


We have included our response to your request below:

The Scottish Government provided appropriate levels of support to prepare witnesses for their appearance at the Inquiry in accordance with all professional obligations. This support included the provision of logistical support, reassurances about what to expect whilst giving evidence, explaining what a Public Inquiry is and how it will be run.

The Scottish Government Legal Directorate (“SGLD”) and officials within the Covid Inquiries Response Directorate provided this support to assist current and former Ministers and Officials to prepare for giving evidence to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry. SGLD out-sourced part of its work of providing legal support to witnesses to Morton Fraser MacRoberts.

The Faculty of Advocates’ Guide to Conduct makes clear that witnesses should not be coached in relation to any evidence they give. However, the prohibition does not extend to matters such as providing guidance about what a witness can expect while giving evidence, explaining what a Public Inquiry is and how it will be run and discussion of issues likely to arise in evidence to allow witnesses to give full and accurate evidence without influencing the content of their evidence.

SGLD and Morton Fraser MacRoberts on behalf of SGLD have not provided any legal advice or coaching to witnesses.

The information held by the Scottish Government on costs associated with each of the witnesses listed, as identified by Morton Fraser MacRoberts, is provided below:



Professor Sir Gregor Smith


Jeane Freeman


Dr Jason Leitch


Ken Thomson


Dr Audrey MacDougall


These charges include costs related to reviewing documentation and evidence in preparation for meetings with witnesses in order to highlight potential areas of interest to the inquiry to guide the witnesses' own preparations for giving evidence without influencing the content of their evidence, coordination with SGLD with regards to setting up and preparing witness meetings and costs associated with time spent meeting with the witness.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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