Legal profession’s defence of Phil Shiner dries up as ‘ambulance chasing’ lawyer admits misconduct

Human rights solicitor accepts tribunal “must strike him off”

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A former law firm partner dubbed an “army ambulance chaser” by the press has admitted — fully or partly — 18 of the 24 Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) charges brought against him.

In one of the biggest solicitor disciplinary cases ever brought, Phil Shiner admitted to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) yesterday he acted without integrity and paid a middleman to scout out clients in Iraq.

He did not, however, admit charges claiming he authorised and approved payments he knew or suspected to be improper, among others. A full list of SRA charges and Shiner’s responses to them can be accessed here.

University of Birmingham-educated Shiner’s reputation has really been dragged through the mud in recent months.

Right-wing media had a field day when an inquiry into his now defunct human rights law firm, Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), found it had made allegations based on “deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility”. The firm is understood to have brought about 200 claims against the Ministry of Defence.

Though lawyers were quick to rally around PIL when the “sad news” of its closure came in in August, the sympathy does not appear to have extended to Shiner himself.

The legal twitterati fell silent as the true extent of Shiner’s actions came to light, while family law specialist Philip Marshall QC described the whole saga as “worrying”.

Though the contested allegations are scheduled to come to trial at the end of January, it’s understood Shiner already knows he will be struck off for his conduct.

Andrew Tabachnik, from 39 Essex Chambers and acting for the SRA, is reported to have said:

Even on the basis of his own admissions, Professor Shiner accepts this tribunal must strike him off at the end of this case.

Solicitor-advocate Jayne Willetts told the SDT case management hearing her client Shiner will likely face next year’s trial unrepresented as her retainer is coming to an end. It’s understood the case has cost nearly half a million pounds to bring so far.

44 Comments

Kevin

Perhaps Siner is a patsy – PIL set up as a David to the establishment’s Goliath only to be torn down and used as an example why asserting human rights is truly the last refuge of the guilty.

(9)(27)
mdg

I’ll put this as eloquently as I can.

‘Nah- he’s just a cunt.’

(64)(2)
Anonymous

Kevin, you’re as bad a fantasist as Shiner. Your comment is bullsh it.

(8)(2)
Trumpenkrieg

You are a tin foil hat crank. Maybe, just maybe, the human rights lobby simply isn’t as virtuous as you like to believe.

(14)(5)
Anonymous

very Daily Mail type of comment, trust you are NOT representing people

(2)(4)
Kevin

I didn’t think I was commenting on the character of Shiner himself, rather the fact that the Human Rights Act is itself under attack by the right and as such the Shiner case gives them a good stick with which to beat it even further. In my opinion, the HR Act is good law and the mark of a civil society – but like any law it is open to abuse. Please don’t assume from my original comment that I am condoning Shiner’s behaviour in any way or that I blithely accept the dogma from either extreme of what passes as current political discourse.

(6)(6)
Anonymous

Come on, Donald, aren’t you supposed to be preparing to run America ……..

(0)(0)
Trumpenkrieg

There are certainly grim times ahead for leftwing parasites like Phil Shiner on that side of the pond once God Emperor starts to #DrainTheSwamp.

(6)(2)
Anonymous

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

(0)(1)
Not Amused

Are you implying that the virtue signallers often pay scant attention to the detail of who they are endorsing?

A shocking suggestion. Next you’ll be saying they don’t actually know anything about the EU …

(13)(13)
Without Virtue

Is there any more irritating phrase than ‘virtue signaller’? I do wish everyone would just stop using it – it appears to simply mean ‘person with whom I disagree and whose opinions irritate me’.

(6)(13)
Jane

It means declaring or doing something with the primary intention of appearing virtuous, e.g. a social media post of ‘We need to help refugees!’ being less about actually helping refugees and more about making people you know think you are very altruistic.

(22)(1)
Trumpenkrieg

#RefugeesWelcomeButNotInMySpareBedroom, sort of thing.

(10)(1)
Anonymous

To be against the idea of, and the phrase, ‘virtue signaller’ really is fucking odd.

Are you also against the use of ‘hypocrisy’, ‘insincerity’, ‘modish’ and ‘posturing’?

(3)(1)
Lord Keith Of Kinkel

Anyone with half a brain could see that the bloke was an utter charlatan.

For a start, for a man of 60 to wear absurd tiny red spectacles the likes of which you would find in under 5’s ‘party bags’ should have set alarm bells ringing.

I’m waiting to read the grovelling apologies in the LSG from the likes of journo John Hyde, who not so many months ago was still writing glowing words of praise about the clown.

(34)(5)
Disgusted of Hill Dweller

He was right to pursue these claims in the wider interests of fighting racism.

Everything British is racist.

Britain is founded upon racism.

British soldiers are racist.

Therefore going after them is fighting racism, whether or not the

(2)(26)
Anonymous

the Daily Mail school of limited intellect and prejudice, God help us if you practice law with your myopic prejudices based on how a persons looks

(1)(3)
Pat Murphy

2 Solicitors murdered in Norther Ireland , that forgotton part of the UK
1. Patrick Finucane (1949 – 12 February 1989) was an Irish human rights lawyer killed by loyalist paramilitaries acting in collusion with the British government intelligence service MI5.

2 .Rosemary Nelson (née Magee; 4 September 1958 – 15 March 1999) was a prominent Irish human rights solicitor who was assassinated by an Ulster loyalist paramilitary group in 1999. A bomb exploded under her car at her home in Lurgan, Northern Ireland; the Red Hand Defenders claimed responsibility. Allegations that the British state security forces were involved in her killing led to a public inquiry. It found no evidence that state forces directly facilitated her murder, but could not exclude the possibility that individual members had helped the perpetrators. It said that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) failed to protect her and that she had been publicly threatened and assaulted by officers, which helped legitimize her as a target.
No wonder the Tories want rid of the Human Rights Act.

(3)(6)
Lamia

Phil Shiner was for many years the toast of the legal profession and the ‘Human Rights’ industry.

He won both the Law Society’s solicitor of the year and Liberty and Justice human rights lawyer of the year awards. He was lionised by the Guardian, the Independent, the Law Gazette and Legal Voice. His friends and defenders included Baroness Chakrabarti (then of Liberty), Dame Helena Kennedy, Bill Bowring, professor of law at Birkbeck College, London, and Gordon Nardell QC, chair of the Bar Council’s EU Law Committee.

His critics were categorised as demagogues, anti-human rights, proto-Putinites etcetera. So long as Phil was undermining the British armed forces, he was a hero of the metropolitan liberal-left.

Now, what was blatantly obvious to many ordinary people – that he is a traitor and crook who has ripped off the British tax payer for eyewatering amounts of their money – is now undeniable even to the legal profession itself. Cue: uncharacteristic silence.

Apparently, there are many in the legal profession who wonder why they are not given sufficient respect by the public. When Shiner is one of your standard bearers, why, really, are you still wondering?

‘Legal cheek’ indeed.

(34)(6)
Trumpenkrieg

It should tell you all you need to know about Chakrabarti, Helena Kennedy, Bill Bowring, et al.

Birds of a feather an’ all that.

(13)(2)
Anonymous

Lots of people who get caught doing underhand things were given bright shiny baubles before being found out. Seems to happen on such a regular basis that I can’t help but think that, if you do win solicitor of the year or similar, you should immediately be investigated.

(4)(2)
Anonymous

This wretched episode just shows why nobody should attach themselves to causes or ideas unconditionally. Cheerleading for people *just because* they challenge ‘the establishment’ or purport to be progressive will go wrong sooner or later – just as it does for uncritical defenders of convention.

The difference is that Shiner and his supporters boast about being on the moral high ground. They look especially bad when unattractive conduct in pursuit of their ‘ideals’ is exposed.

(8)(2)
Anonymous

but don’t forget that the liberal left OWN the moral high ground and common decency too

(0)(0)
Anonymous

It is truly sad that a lawyer of such ability has fallen foul of the high standards expected of his profession. No doubt he will have time to reflect on his behavior over the coming years.

(5)(3)
Anonymous

in jail hopefully with his family blaming him for their new found poverty

(0)(0)
Anonymous

Phil Shiner – odious, sanctimonious, self-serving – and, by his own admission, not fit to be a solicitor. The profession is certainly much better off without him and others of his ilk.

(14)(2)
Lamia

“The profession is certainly much better off without him and others of his ilk.”

Indeed. But how curious that Shiner was for so long the hero of a profession that contains, so we are assured, so many fine minds and heroically principled people.

I suppose it’s a mark of their cleverness and decency that lawyers almost uniformly failed to see what was plainly obvious to the mere public

(5)(0)
Anonymous

Thank goodness the government cottoned onto his underhandedness… needs to be struck off

(16)(0)
Anonymous

He should pay back the amount of money he has fleeced for winning cases and personal apologies to the soldiers

(18)(0)
UK Tax payer

It will all be in a trust fund for his nominated beneficiary (his family).

That is why it has taken so long to bring him to account…..the legal prostitutes look after their own.

(7)(0)
Anonymous

Deception, fraud, nasty money grabbing villain… he should be struck off as well as locked up for his crimes

(12)(0)
Joe Bloggs

Leaching off the taxpayers… righteous scumbag! Send him down and make him pay!

(7)(0)
Anonymous

Self righteous scumbag… finally brought to account for taking eye watering amounts of taxpayers money… straight to jail for you… learn the meaning of the word justice!!!

(3)(0)
Anonymous

Being struck off is not enough for this idiot… for fraud and all the money hes taken, plus the amount of people working for him who probably also touted oversees for business too… think it should be at least community service or jail…

(2)(0)
Anonymous

Never met him, but on many accounts very full of himself. But he was also a very good and committed lawyer who was operating in very difficult circumstances. The comments on here, by a group of people whose sole contact with the law is a parking ticket or two, are pretty pathetic

(0)(4)
Toryhere

It seems from the evidence that he was not a good lawyer, but that he got good press because he conducted a vendetta against an institution that the left-wing cadres in the legal profession and the media cannot abide, the army.

(0)(0)
Anonymous

Judging by the comments above its pretty obvious why the average man on the street is inclined to think that most lawyers are greedy self-serving cunts. Shame really, I’m sure there may be one or two nice ones.

(1)(0)

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