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Sharon Shoesmith Baby P legal bid costs nearly £500,000

Sharon Shoesmith
Image caption Ms Shoesmith argues she was unfairly sacked by Haringey Council

A legal battle by the council director sacked over the death of Baby P has cost taxpayers nearly £500,000.

Sharon Shoesmith has been trying to overturn her dismissal as director of children's services at Haringey Council in north London.

Children's Minister Tim Loughton revealed the costs in a written reply to a question posed by Bristol North-West Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie.

Baby Peter Connelly died aged 17 months in 2008 after sustained abuse.

He suffered more than 50 injuries over eight months despite being visited by social workers, doctors and police.

His mother, Tracey Connelly, admitted causing or allowing his death, while Steven Barker and his brother Jason Owen were found guilty of the same charge.

Ms Shoesmith claimed she was made a scapegoat when she was sacked by Haringey Council.

Further fees 'possible'

She has launched High Court proceedings against the borough, regulator Ofsted and former Children's Secretary Ed Balls.

Mr Balls ordered her sacking after receiving a damning report from Ofsted on child protection in Haringey.

In April, Mr Justice Foskett rejected her claim that she had been unlawfully sacked but granted her leave to appeal in September.

Ofsted's legal costs so far have totalled £331,059, while the Department for Education has spent £150,178, according to a written Parliamentary answer by Mr Loughton.

Mr Loughton said there might be further fees, including "in-house staffing costs" at Ofsted and "in-house lawyers and policy officials" at the Department for Education.

In September, lawyers for Mr Balls asked for £138,000 in costs to be paid by Ms Shoesmith but Mr Justice Foskett said she should contribute £25,000.

The judge rejected Haringey's request for £88,500 in costs and ordered the local authority to pay Ms Shoesmith £10,000 to reflect his view that it treated her unfairly.

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