The Scottish Government spent £50,000 or more in 25 separate legal disputes over the last five years, according to a newly released freedom of information reply.

Asked for details of which matters (live or closed) in the last five financial years up to the present, "counsel or legal advice was sought for any cumulative cost of legal fees of more than £50,000", ministers disclosed that the most expensive single item was costs of £825,949 relating to "agricultural holdings landlord's claims", believed to concern the continuing fallout from the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003, which was held to infringe the rights of some landlords. 

Next was "employment law – procedures advice", likely to relate to the Alex Salmond judicial review, totalling £633,273.

Costs relating to claims arising from the Rangers FC proceedings amounted to £510,223 in the case of David Whitehouse, £427,060 for Paul Clark and £72,002 for David Grier.

The 13 cases where costs ran into six figures also include £493,927 relating to the Scotch Whisky Association, which challenged the alcohol minimum pricing legislation; £482,266 regarding the Christian Institute, which successfully challenged the named persons law; and £449,378 relating to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which attempted to prevent offshore wind farm developments in seabird areas.

The total for the 25 cases listed amounts to more than £5.8m.

Click here to view the full reply.