Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Solicitors who acted for alleged victims of torture to be investigated

Sir Thayne Forbes
Some of you may have followed the Al-Sweady Enquiry into alleged torture of Iraqi detainees by members of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment in aftermath of the Battle of Danny Boy. For those of you who haven't followed the enquiry the BBC has an excellent summary here.

Following the conclusion of the enquiry, which found the allegations to be based on 'deliberate and baseless lies' and the 'vast majority' of allegations to be 'wholly and entirely without merit or justification' the Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, called the claims a "shameful attempt to use our legal system to attack and falsely impugn our Armed Forces." Several politicians then went on to call for sanctions against the solicitors involved, Leigh Day.

Such strong words, which may not be surprising from a politician are noteworthy considering the enquiry was headed by Sir Thayne Forbes, a retired High Court judge not noted for what we in England might call 'such robust language'. Following these event the Solicitors' Regulation Authority has announced and investigation into the conduct of the two solicitors involved. This will certainly be one to watch as attempts to hold the military liable through non-criminal channels become more widespread. 

For those with plenty of time, the entirety of Sir Thayne's report can be found here.

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