24 Aug 2012

Bill for Pike families' lawyers passes $1.5 million

12:00 pm on 24 August 2012

The bill for lawyers representing the Pike River families has passed $1.5 million.

The Government agreed to cover the families' legal costs to the royal commission investigating how 29 men died at the West Coast mine in November 2010.

The Department of Internal Affairs says that to the end of June this year, it has spent $1,569,951on the legal costs accrued by the families of the men killed.

The department says the approved upper limit is $2,481,000.

The families' lead solicitor, Colin Smith, says the team will not reach its spending limit unless a High Court application being heard in two weeks' time forces the commission to reopen its hearings.

The police have spent more than $11 million on Pike River operations, but the costs incurred by the commission itself and agencies like the Defence Force have not yet been made public.