Lawyer who pursued ‘false’ Iraq claims struck off for misconduct

Phil Shiner made 'unsolicited approaches' to potential clients. Picture: SWNS
Phil Shiner made 'unsolicited approaches' to potential clients. Picture: SWNS

Cases brought by a disgraced lawyer against Iraq War veterans are to be reviewed after he was struck off for misconduct and dishonesty.

The Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat) said investigations that originated from Phil Shiner and his firm Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) would be assessed and a decision reached over which cases should no longer be pursued

A string of misconduct charges against him, including five of dishonesty, were found proven following a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearing.

An Ihat spokeswoman said: “Ihat’s caseload is already expected to reduce to around 60 investigations by summer 2017 and the evidence presented at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal casts serious doubt on the reliability of some of the remaining allegations. We are working closely with the Service Prosecuting Authority to determine which of the remaining allegations originating from PIL should now not be investigated. We will reach decisions as quickly as we can.”

PIL were behind around 65 per cent of the 3,392 allegations received by Ihat, which now has fewer than 250 active investigations.

Mr Shiner faces a call from Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon to apologise to the soldiers he brought claims against following the judgments.

Sir Michael said: “Phil Shiner made soldiers’ lives a misery by pursuing false claims of torture and murder – now he should apologise. We will study any implications for outstanding legal claims closely.”

Twelve charges of misconduct, which he had denied or partially admitted, were found proved against him by a panel of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

In five of those charges, the 60-year-old was found to have acted dishonestly, including agreeing to pay “sweeteners” to a fixer, understood to be Abu Jamal, to persuade him to change his evidence to the £31 million Al-Sweady Inquiry.

Mr Shiner previously admitted nine allegations of acting without integrity, including that he made “unsolicited direct approaches” to potential clients.

A further charge that he acted recklessly by claiming at a press conference in February 2008 that the British Army had unlawfully killed, tortured and mistreated Iraqi civilians during the Battle of Danny Boy was found proved on the basis of his partial admission after the Solicitors Regulation Authority dropped an accompanying allegation of a lack of integrity.