Page last updated at 05:59 GMT, Thursday, 20 May 2010 06:59 UK

750,000 paid to suspended courts staff

court scales

Seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds has been paid out over the past five years to staff suspended by the Northern Ireland Court Service.

A total of 11 employees have been suspended.

The courts and tribunals service says investigation of misconduct is carried out in accordance with established disciplinary policies.

However, SDLP MLA John Dallat said "the cost on the taxpayer is deeply worrying and cannot be justified".

Mr Dallat tabled an assembly question to Justice Minister David Ford on the issue last week.

"I will be tabling further questions to the minister in an effort to put a stop to these 'enforced holidays' which can't be much fun for those suspended and are certainly an unnecessary burden on the budget of the court service," he said.

A spokesman for the courts service said: "The courts and tribunals service takes the issue of staff discipline very seriously.

"Allegations of misconduct are subject to formal investigation which is carried out in accordance with established disciplinary policies."

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