Attorney General Baroness ScotlandAttorney General Baroness Scotland has been fined £5,000 after being found to have employed an illegal worker as a housekeeper.

The UK Border Agency said she took steps to check Tongan Loloahi Tapui’s right to work but had not kept a copy of documents, as required by law. Baroness Scotland had helped write the legislation on employing illegal workers.

In a statement she said she fully accepted that she had made a “technical breach of the rules” and apologised for “this inadvertent error”.

She told BBC News: “I have been given an administrative penalty. This is not a case of a criminal act, this is the case of failing to photocopy a document which I absolutely accept was wrong and I have apologised for that wholeheartedly.

“This was a woman who was working locally, she was married to a solicitor. I believed the documents that I saw on their face value.

She added: “I did believe the woman that I employed was honest, and honourable and entitled to be here. That was a flaw and I have therefore absolutely accepted that for this technical breach, administrative breach I should be penalised.”

Downing street to not take further actions, stating:

“The UK Border Agency is satisfied she did not knowingly employ an illegal worker. She examined documents of her status. She paid tax and National Insurance on her earnings. She employed her new cleaner in good faith.
“But regrettably she did not retain copies of the documents proving the right to work she was given. As a result she is paying an administrative penalty.”

The fine given to the government’s chief legal adviser for illegally employing a housekeeper should prompt HR departments to ensure they are making the right recruitment checks, experts have warned.