Solicitor of the Year turned ‘army ambulance chaser’ is struck off

The ultimate fall from grace

lead1

Phil Shiner, a former law firm partner dubbed an “army ambulance chaser” by the press, has been struck off today.

This morning, the ex-Public Interest Lawyers solicitor was found to be dishonest on five counts by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) following a two-day hearing. It also ordered him to pay interim costs of £250,000. He will have 21 days to appeal the decision after it is published.

His striking off won’t come as a shock to the disgraced human rights solicitor. The University of Birmingham graduate fully or partly admitted 18 of the 24 charges brought against him by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) back in December. At the time, Shiner said he knew he was going to be booted out of the profession for his conduct.

So where did it all go wrong?

There’s no doubt Shiner — who Legal Cheek understands is still a professor at Middlesex University — was once a well-respected human rights lawyer. He was crowned Human Rights Lawyer of the Year by Liberty in 2004, and Solicitor of the Year by the Law Society in 2007. A quick scan of Shiner’s profile on Kent University’s ‘Congregations’ page shows just how far the “uncompromising” lawyer has fallen. Somewhat eerily, the final paragraph in his profile states:

‘I don’t ever want to retire’, he says. ‘I’ll carry on doing what I do until I can’t do it any longer.’

This past week, the true extent of Shiner’s behaviour has been laid bare in one of the most expensive disciplinary proceedings ever brought.

Shiner admitted paying a middleman to find potential human rights claims for him to pursue in the United Kingdom. This middleman, Iraqi human rights campaigner and fixer Mazin Younis, sought out people who had survived or witnessed the 2004 so-called Battle of Danny Boy between British troops and Iraqi militants. This was so even though, according to the SRA’s barrister Andrew Tabachnik, he was well aware this practice was in breach of professional rules.

As well as this, Shiner said Brits had tortured and executed a number of innocent Iraqi civilians during the battle. He even described it as the “UK equivalent of My Lai” (the infamous massacre of between 350 and 500 civilians in Vietnam by US troops). However, a £25 million inquiry in 2014 found his claims were “wholly baseless”.

39 Essex Chambers’ Tabachnik noted Shiner was not in attendance at the tribunal and, reports legal newsletter The Brief, said:

He is in a state of avoidance in relation to the proceedings. It is most unfortunate that having pursued allegations of a cover-up by the British Army that Professor Shiner has been caught engaging in his own cover-up.

A separate inquiry into his now defunct law firm, Public Interest Lawyers, found it had made allegations based on “deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility”. The outfit is understood to have brought approximately 200 claims against the Ministry of Defence.

Leigh Day, another human rights and personal injury firm, has also been caught up in this saga. Shiner has been accused of planning to pass cases to this firm so it could bring damages claims, from which he would take a financial cut. The firm will face a three-month tribunal hearing in March.

For all the latest news, features, events and jobs, sign up to Legal Cheek’s weekly newsletter here.

33 Comments

Anonymous

His greed has done so much damage to the cause of human rights

(16)(0)
Anonymous

I’ve never liked human rights lawyers anyway. Good riddance.

(25)(13)
Jim Slip

interim costs of £250,000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WTF goes on with SRA costs?!

(16)(0)
Anonymous

I think he stole those red glasses from a small child….

(9)(0)
Anonymous

There was always something suspect about him. Anyone with a visiting or honorary professorship who actually uses the title in his non-academic professional activities is invariably dodgy.

(19)(0)
Anonymous

His sentence ought to be a ceremonial underfoot smashing of his awful glasses.

(3)(0)
Bob

You neglected to mention the MOD paid him to stitch up their own people.

(2)(8)
Two-penny Nostradamus

Never trust a man with tiny red spectacles

(8)(0)
HUMAN RIGHTS AMBULANCE

NEE-NAW! NEE-NAW!

WANT SOME QUICK CASH?

HAD YOUR FEELINGS HURT, OR BEEN IN A SITUATION WHERE IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE ACCUSED TO DISPROVE YOUR VERSION OF EVENTS?

THEN JUMP ON BOARD!

DING DING!!!!!

(10)(2)
Lamia

“There’s no doubt Shiner — who Legal Cheek understands is still a professor at Middlesex University — was once a well-respected human rights lawyer. He was crowned Human Rights Lawyer of the Year by Liberty in 2004, and Solicitor of the Year by the Law Society in 2007.”

Rubbish. He was only respected by his fellow legal professionals and sundry ‘progressive’ politicians and journalists. Most ‘non-experts’ saw him for what he was easily enough.

Even when Shiner himself finally came under scrutiny, this treacherous weasel was still defended by ’eminent’ establishment figures such as Baroness Kennedy who characterised the government as totalitarian.

So the question to the ‘expert’ legal profession – and its media friends at the BBC, Channel 4, Guardian and Independent, which for so long lionised and ran cover for this creep is: Were you just being extremely thick, or are you as dishonest and conscienceless as Shiner himself?

Every legal professional in the country ought to feel embarrassed today. Do you really wonder why the public has such a low opinion of you when for so long you tout people like Shiner as the cream of your profession?

(14)(7)
Anonymous

I saw this guy speak for the first time at the Law Society in 2010.

It was an angry speech, basically saying how awful British personnel were in Iraq. Now we know for sure the speech was all lies.

I went with a girl who I wanted to get with. I was a bit lefty at the time, she was ultra lefty. I slagged him off after the speech, as I think I saw through his faux outrage. She wasn’t having any of that, and I never got with her.

Who’s laughing now, eh, woman?

(11)(5)
Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(0)
Stella Lagerosi

How very convenient and politically expedient.

I bet there’s more to this than meets the eye.

(6)(7)
Anonymous

Are you saying the tribunal was corrupt?

You better give the details if so.

(5)(1)
Anonymous

Think they should have looked further into his touting for business

(3)(1)
Anonymous

Hmm… wonder how Leighton Day got caught up in this? Previous employees from PIL working there too who helped with these fraudulent practices… the amount of stress and pain our countrymen have gone through and for what…to line his pockets!

(7)(2)
Someone must be worried

Wonder what the cost will be for the Leigh Day proceedings? £1M? More?

(2)(0)
Anonymous

What…no prison sentence? Is that because he faked illness…

(6)(3)
Un Confrere d'inquisitión del SRA

Costs should be around £7.5 million for the Leigh Day hearing.
And the SRA will employ crushing with heavy weights Peine dur et forte.
The sentence will be impalement by greasy stake per anus at Tyburn public execution ground, their privy members first being severed and burnt before their eyes.

Their heads to be displayed on Tower Bridge and their bodies hung in iron caskets on Blackfriars bridge

(5)(0)
Anonymous

Privy member severed? So that’s what happens at
the privy arbital court. If Shiner and Slackbladder pay up, it will be champagne every day at the SDT.

(3)(0)
Anonymous

I doubt it. Huge difference between PIL and Leigh Day. PIL was one guy’s vanity project who ended up unrepresented at the final hearing. Leigh Day is a firm of 50+ partners who have been hugely successful in other fields, like the Uber litigation.

(1)(0)
Executioner

Hopefully more charges will come out via Leigh Day, solicitors tend to stick together like thieves, lets not forget how much money this man has taken out of the tax payers money for lavish holidays, property and fancy lifestyle people…

(9)(0)
Anonymous

Glad this idiot was struck off…no more fancy houses or lifestyle for him…maybe he’ll sign on and do it the more honest way…

(1)(0)

Comments are closed.