THE Attorney-General wants more cash to speed up localisation in the demoralised Legal Department. But it might not be enough to halt the bitter dispute over local lawyers replacing expatriates which has split the department. The Attorney-General, Jeremy Mathews, who conceded yesterday that morale in the department had plummeted because of the dispute over localisation, said the Government was behind the policy. ''Clearly morale has been affected. One would expect that,'' Mr Mathews said at the opening of Law Week 1993. ''We will shortly be going before the Finance Committee to ask for the funding.'' He said the money would mean the department could carry on with its localisation schemes - the Double Ladder Scheme and the Development Posts Scheme. ''We have made considerable progress on localisation in the past five years and it has been very encouraging,'' he said. The Development Posts Scheme was set up in May 1991, giving two years' training to local Senior Crown Counsel with the aim of increasing their chances of promotion to directorate level. The target was to localise 30 per cent of posts by the end of last year, but the scheme managed only 18 per cent. The Double Ladder Scheme was set up in 1988 and was designed to prepare local Crown Counsels for Senior Crown Counsel posts. It reached its target of localising 50 per cent of posts by the end of last year. But Evena Chan Yuet-ho of the Local Crown Counsel Association's localisation committee said neither Mr Mathews nor the Government were listening. ''This is very disappointing. We support the Double Ladder Scheme, but the Development Posts Scheme is not working in its present form.'' She pointed to figures which showed the scheme was barely halfway towards hitting its target of 30 per cent of directorate positions for locals by the end of last year. She said the association had passed on its comments to the Secretary for the Civil Service, Anson Chan Fang On-sang, but that they had been ignored. ''When this scheme was first introduced we had to lobby Legco to get it changed, and we are prepared to do the same again,'' she said. In another development, Mr Mathews said he would oppose any moves to scrutinise the financial implications of government prosecutions. Some legal experts have called for a value-for-money survey of the Attorney-General's office after reports that failed prosecutions in the past 12 months had cost taxpayers $40 million. Mr Mathews said: ''We have got to look at the way in which we go about things to make sure errors are eliminated, and to make sure we are cost-effective.'' He said people were wrong to ''put a price tag on justice'' whenever a prosecution did not succeed.