Tag Archives: Iraq

UK/Iraq: NEWS Exclusive: SRA to appeal Leigh Day tribunal verdicts

November 14, 2017

The Solicitors Regulation Authority is to contest Leigh Day’s exoneration on misconduct charges brought in connection with claims brought over allegations over British forces’ behaviour in Iraq.

The regulator confirmed its intention to take proceedings to the High Court during a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearing yesterday, the Gazette can reveal.

Leigh Day, which was cleared of misconduct along with three of its solicitors, has applied for the SRA to pay 60% of its final costs bill. Initial estimates suggest the firm has incurred £7.8m defending itself so far. The firm applied for an interim £1.5m payment on account during yesterday’s hearing, but the SRA contested this partly on the grounds it will appeal the overall decision.

Timothy Dutton QC of Fountain Court Chambers, representing the SRA, said the appeal will be based both on points of law and contesting the tribunal’s judgment.

He gave an indication that the SRA would rely on the fact that one tribunal member dissented on some of the charges and thought they should have been found proven. The SRA will also argue that separate, but in its opinion linked, charges relating to Public Interest Lawyers director Phil Shiner – who worked in conjunction with Leigh Day – were found proven at SDT.

Dutton added: ‘In these circumstances an appeal clearly has prospects of success, particularly in circumstances where a fellow tribunal has unanimously found matters proved against Mr Shiner.’

Addressing the two tribunal members who cleared Leigh Day, Dutton said: ‘The [High Court] is in the primary best position to deal with matters of law. There will be an appeal on matters of law as well as judgment, particularly in circumstances where four tribunal members have agreed with the SRA which puts you [the two tribunal members who cleared Leigh Day] in the minority.’

Dutton said the SRA’s costs – understood to be around £1.5m – were significantly lower than those incurred by Leigh Day, and the regulator had yet to see a breakdown of elements of the firm’s costs.




UK/Iraq: ‘Tank chasing’ lawyer defends decision to sue British army over Iraq

August 16, 2017

Image result for Martyn Day

Martyn Day thrives on a fight.

His critics accuse him of being a “tank chaser” for bringing hundreds of lawsuits against the British army over its actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. But others say Mr Day and Leigh Day, the law firm he co-founded in 1987, have pioneered class compensation lawsuits while other law firms have backed away.

Mr Day’s most notable successes include winning a £55m out-of-court settlement from oil group Royal Dutch Shell over two oil spills that affected thousands of Nigerian fishermen and a £19.9m compensation award from the UK government on behalf of Kenyans tortured by British troops in the 1950s.

“I’ve always liked those big fights, those big challenges,” he said in a recent interview with the Financial Times. “I started off doing personal injury cases but I really like a good fight.”

Earlier this year, Mr Day, 60, faced the fight of his career when he, two colleagues and Leigh Day were charged with professional misconduct for their handling of claims that British troops had tortured Iraqi civilians.



Iraq: Lawyers Arrested for Work in ISIS Courts

August 10, 2017

A man walks across a street in al-Hamdaniya, Iraq November 25, 2016. Picture taken November 25, 2016. © 2016 Reuters

Iraqi authorities have issued arrest warrants for at least 15 private lawyers since July 24, 2017, on charges of Islamic State (also known as ISIS) affiliation for their past work in ISIS courts, Human Rights Watch said today. While lawyers are not immune from prosecution if they engage in criminal activity, they should not be prosecuted for doing their job as lawyers, nor should the authorities associate them with their clients’ cause simply because they represented them.

All were representing ISIS suspects facing trial in Iraqi courts at the time of their arrest, raising concerns among local lawyers that the warrants were issued to intimidate lawyers defending ISIS suspects. One senior judge told Human Rights Watch that since the warrants were issued, private lawyers had stopped taking cases of any defendants that they believed to be ISIS-affiliated, only taking cases of people they thought were innocent. As a result, only state-appointed lawyers are taking on the cases of those believed to be ISIS-affiliated. Based on interviews with four lawyers, there are serious concerns that the state-appointed lawyers are not providing a robust defense of these clients.

“The authorities should immediately explain why they are detaining and charging these lawyers,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “They need to make it clear that Iraqi lawyers should not be afraid to defend ISIS suspects.”



UK/Iraq: Law firm cleared of misconduct over wrongfully hounding troops could face second probe

July 9, 2017

Leigh Day solicitors Anna Crowther, left, Martyn Day, centre , and Sapna Malik, right, were cleared of any wrongdoing concerning their work on torture allegations against British troops in Iraq in June 

Campaigners are calling for solicitors to face a new hearing on charges of wrongfully hounding troops after it emerged that one of three panellists hearing their case thought they were guilty on 12 counts.

Law firm Leigh Day and three of its solicitors were cleared of a string of misconduct allegations following a disciplinary hearing.

They were charged by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) after the Ministry of Defence submitted a lengthy dossier of alleged wrongdoing, including claims they caused innocent troops years of torment.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) found the firm and its solicitors not guilty of more than 20 charges last month.

But it has emerged that one of the three members of the panel, Richard Hegarty, a senior partner at a law firm, believed they were guilty in relation to 12 of the allegations.

A document published on the SDT’s website states on the record that Mr Hegarty ‘dissented with the majority’ in respect to the dozen charges.

A source close to the inquiry said: ‘This is believed to be the first time the SDT has ever made explicit that a panel member disagreed with the panel. This is unprecedented.’


UK: Iraq human rights lawyer Phil Shiner declared bankrupt

March 17, 2017

Lawyer Phil Shiner outside the high court in London.

Struck-off solicitor’s insolvency declaration will deprive MoD of opportunity to recover multimillion-pound sum it seeks

The campaigning human rights lawyer Phil Shiner, who was struck off as a solicitor for pursuing fictitious Iraqi compensation claims against the Ministry of Defence, has been declared bankrupt.

The Insolvency Service website states the 60-year-old, who ran the firm Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) in Birmingham, was made bankrupt on Tuesday.

The declaration of insolvency will deprive the MoD of an opportunity to recover any of the millions of pounds it maintains it is entitled to claim from Shiner.

The former solicitor could not afford to retain lawyers to represent him at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in London last month. He did not attend and was not represented at the hearing. He also told the tribunal that he was unwell.

Shiner was found guilty of multiple professional misconduct charges, including dishonesty and lack of integrity in bringing murder and torture claims in relation to the “Battle of Danny Boy” near Amara in 2004.





February 2, 2017

In her job as an immigration attorney, Farah Al-khersan has worked to reunite families and fight deportation hearings. On Friday night, she found herself in a similar position to some of her clients, when she and her husband were detained at the U.S. border hours after President Donald Trump signed a far-reaching immigration executive order.

Al-khersan, 26, is an American-Iraqi citizen. Her husband, Osama Fadel, 28, is a legal permanent resident of the U.S. and a dual Canadian-Iraqi citizen. On Friday night, the couple drove to Canada from their West Bloomfield, Michigan, to visit Fadel’s family, who live in Sarnia, minutes beyond the U.S.-Canada border. They planned to stay the night, but Al-khersan kept getting messages and alerts from other attorneys and organizations she’d worked with about the executive order.

“I knew the order had come out, but I didn’t think that my husband would be affected by it,” says Al-khersan. Both Al-khersan and Fadel were born in Iraq, but left with their families in the early 1990s. Fadel’s family bounced from Libya to Canada, while Al-khersan’s family first went to New Zealand before settling in the U.S.

They left for the U.S. at 11 p.m. on Friday in order to beat the inevitable crowds that would have amassed by the morning. Half an hour later, they were stopped at the Port Huron crossing at the U.S.-Canada border and held for the next four hours, just 70 miles from home.