Silence on human rights lawyer pay

A HUMAN rights lawyer once paid more than £10,000 a month from public funds has been appointed by the Policing Board – but it will not say how much she is being paid.

Alyson Kilpatrick was announced on Thursday as the board’s ‘human rights adviser’, having been appointed following an open competition for a five-year term.

Last year it emerged that Ms Kilpatrick, who has done previous work for the Policing Board, had been paid more than £10,000 a month by the PSNI’s supervisory body as a legal consultant. In her first two years working as a consultant for the board, Ms Kilpatrick received more than a quarter of a million pounds.

However, when asked what salary Ms Kilpatrick will be paid in her new post, the board told the News Letter: “The human rights advisor is not paid a salary.

“The post is remunerated on a per diem [per day] basis. Terms and conditions are currently being finalised.”

Asked whether that meant the lawyer had agreed to take the post without knowing the salary, a spokeswoman for the board said that it was “not in a position to issue any further information until the terms and conditions are finalised”.

The panel which appointed the Queen’s University graduate includes four MLAs – the SDLP’s Conall McDevitt, the UUP’s Ross Hussey, Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly and DUP Assemblyman David McIlveen – as well as independent members of the Policing Board.

The board’s chairman, Brian Rea, said: “This is a challenging post and her extensive experience in human rights law will greatly assist the board in meeting its statutory responsibility to oversee police compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998.”

Ms Kilpatrick, who was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1992 and Northern Ireland in 1998, will prepare the board’s annual human rights report.