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Shiner judgment holds a stark message for solicitors

The duty to disclose evidential issues affecting a client’s case is onerous, but solicitors engaging in public law litigation must be aware of it, warns Patrick Gaul

10 May 2017

The case of Phil Shiner has understandably attracted considerable media attention. In pursuing legal claims against British soldiers, Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, claimed that Iraqi civilians had been tortured and killed while being detained. This was subsequently contested by the 2014 Al-Sweady inquiry report, which found that those who died had been members of an army militia and were killed in exchanges of gunfire. The five-year-long inquiry cost over £22m, before a concession by PIL that there was ‘insufficient evidence’ to support a finding of unlawful killingled led to its effective collapse in March 2014.

Shiner also subsequently admitted that he had paid an Iraqi middleman to find claimants, a practice that is in breach of professional standards.

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