Lord Leveson

The first part of Lord Leveson's inquiry is due to report to parliament by September 2012

Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA

The first three months of the Leveson inquiry into press ethics and standards cost the taxpayer £855,300.

Figures posted yesterday on the inquiry's website contain a breakdown of costs, and a commitment to publish figures every quarter.

The largest sum was spent on paying secretariat staff, which costed £376,100. Fees for the inquiry's counsel team were £215,400.

Other expenses included accommodation costs for the courtroom, annex press room and office space, which came to £85,000; office running costs, which came to £4,000; and IT, communications and website management, which came to £35,400.

Hearing costs, including transcription, came to £23,600.

The inquiry's panel of expert assessors, who are entitled to claim a daily allowance for their work, cost £22,800 so far, with not all of them choosing to claim the money.

The panel includes Shami Chakrabarti, chief of human rights pressure group Liberty; Elinor Goodman, former political editor of Channel 4 News; and Sir David Bell, former chairman of the Financial Times.

The seminars that proceeded the beginning of the inquiry, which called on editors, journalists and academics to give general evidence about the industry, cost £93,000.

A statement said that the costs incurred so far cover the start up period and would not necessarily reflect the ongoing costs of the inquiry.

"The overall projections will be clearer when the next set of costs is published in March 2012," the statement said.

The Leveson inquiry was set up in July after it emerged that the News of the World had hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

The inquiry will take place in two parts, with the first – made up of three distinct modules and tasked with examining press ethics and standards in general – due to report to parliament by September 2012.

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