Law firm that alleged misconduct by British troops in Iraq to close

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon

Birmingham firm Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) will close at the end of August after being told it will receive no more legal aid funding.

The news has been welcomed by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.

Earlier this month, the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) said the firm had breached contractual requirements after reviewing information submitted by the firm in the wake of a separate Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA) investigation.

A spokesperson for the LAA said at the time: “We have terminated our contract with Public Interest Lawyers as we consider the firm has breached its contractual requirements.

“We have taken this action after a thorough review of information provided by PIL, following the investigation by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority into the firm.

“We are clear that contractual breaches with LAA’s contract are proven and warrant investigation by the relevant authorities.”

PIL made a number of allegations of misconduct by British troops in the Iraq War and represented complainants in the Al-Sweady Inquiry.

The firm’s head of strategic litigation, Phil Shiner, is currently facing the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) for matters related to the inquiry following a 2014 report which found many allegations were based on “deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility”.

It has now emerged the firm will cease operations at the end of this month.

Mr Fallon said: “This is the right outcome for our armed forces, who show bravery and dedication in difficult circumstances.

“For too long, we’ve seen our legal system abused to impugn them falsely. We are now seeing progress and we will be announcing further measures to stamp out this practice.”

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