18 December, 2014

Al-Sweady Inquiry Report

Updated post 21st January 2016:

The Al-Sweady Inquiry - set up by the previous Labour government under the Chairmanship of Sir Thayne Forbes - has now reported.and the report was laid before Parliament on Wednesday 17 December 2014.   See The Report:

Al Sweady Inquiry report and documentation

Previous post on this blog about the Inquiry.  The costs of the inquiry were £24,598,372 up to the end of November 2014.  That included £5,612,484 on counsel and legal services. 

The Executive Summary document extends to 95 pages. 
If the reader is short of time, paragraphs 735 to 741 of the ES state very concisely the Inquiry's conclusions.  The Inquiry had to investigate allegations of the most serious nature including murder and torture [para 731].  The Inquiry concluded that the conduct of various individual soldiers and some of the procedures being followed by the British military in 2004 fell below the high standards normally to be expected of the British Army [735].  However, the vast majority of the allegations made, including all of the most serious allegations, were wholly and entirely without merit or justification and witnesses lied to the inquiry [737].  Sir Thayne commented at para 741:  "British soldiers responded to a deadly ambush with exemplary courage, resolution and professionalism."

The findings of the Inquiry have led to politicians calling for disciplinary action to be taken against some of the lawyers involved - Telegraph 17th December 2014.  For example, Dominic Grieve QC, a former attorney general, said: “The conclusion must raise issues as to how this case was handled by the representatives of the claimants. The background clearly raises important issues of professional conduct which need to be investigated.”

It is reported - Law Society Gazette - that the Solicitors Regulation Authority is to look into the role played by the lawyers.   I note that a comment by James Montgomery states:   "So, when prosecutors publicly apologise to acquitted defendants, then perhaps that is the time for HMG to get on its high-horse and demand that defence lawyers apologise for making allegations which turn out to be untrue. Until that great day arrives, defence lawyers should be held to the traditional standard of acting in good faith within their instructions."  With that, I agree.

Notes 21st January 2016: 

1. Originally the Inquiry maintained its own website and links to that were provided in this post.  I have now edited the post to the latest available link to the inquiry's reports).

2. Leigh Day is one firm of solicitors which handled Iraq matters.  The Solicitor's Regulation Authority has referred the firm to the Solicitor's Disciplinary Tribunal - see the SRA statement 6th January 2016 and their earlier statement 15th January 2016.  The referral to the tribunal arises from the Al-Sweady Inquiry. The original Al-Sweady Inquiry website has been taken down but the inquiry report is available via the UK government website.  Of particular interest are the Inquiry's conclusions - see Conclusions para 5.196 to para 5.202.


  1. Al-Sweady, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Defence [2009] EWHC 2387 (Admin) (02 October 2009) (View without highlighting) [100%]
    ([2009] EWHC 2387 (Admin), [2010] HRLR 2, [2010] UKHRR 300; From England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions; 54 KB)
  2. Al-Sweady, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Defence [2009] EWHC 1687 (Admin) (10 July 2009) (View without highlighting) [91%]
    ([2009] EWHC 1687 (Admin); From England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions; 54 KB)
  3. Al-Sweady, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Defence [2009] EWHC 1667 (Admin) (10 July 2009) (View without highlighting) [90%]
    ([2009] EWHC 1667 (Admin); From England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions; 21 KB)

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