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Social media brims with anger at Leigh Day lawyers as their seven-week disciplinary hearing begins with explosive allegations

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Innocent until proven guilty?

Disciplinary proceedings against the human rights firm accused of mishandling Iraq war claims began yesterday. Expected to last seven weeks, the proceedings are forecast to be the longest and most expensive in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s (SDT) history.

Law firm Leigh Day and two of its partners (Martyn Day and Sapna Malik) are accused of spearheading legal challenges against the Ministry of Defence (MoD), which were based on false allegations. In the words of Fountain Court Chambers’ Timothy Dutton QC, acting for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA):

Over a period of more than seven years, Martyn Day, Sapna Malik and Leigh Day made and maintained allegations that soldiers in the British army had murdered, tortured and mutilated innocent Iraqi civilians. The allegations were false, and should never have been advanced in public.

The tribunal has heard that Leigh Day, which has offices in London, Liverpool and Manchester, failed to check out its clients’ stories, then carried on pursuing the claims despite realising the allegations were dishonest. The firm has reportedly earned nearly £10 million bringing these claims.

The two senior partners and the firm together face a total of 19 charges. Though Leigh Day is expected to fight all of these, social media seems pretty content to conclude the firm is in the wrong. A quick scan of Twitter throws up these messages:

Another tweeter referred to lawyers at the personal injury outfit as “utter turds”, while one questioned whether their actions were “close to treason”.

And, of course, the ever reasonable Mail Online commenters have been on hand to give their views. One, called ‘Matthew’, this morning said: “These people are guilty of Treason. Plain and simple.” ‘Oldtoosoon’ said the “defendants are beyond shame”, while ‘Jon Nemo’ went with: “Put a gun in their hands and send them off to fight isis”.

That said, there were also some more measured responses to the whole saga:

The disciplinary hearing comes weeks after lawyer Phil Shiner, formally of Public Interest Lawyers, was struck off for, among other things, paying an Iraqi middleman to find human rights claims for him to pursue in the United Kingdom.

During proceedings against Shiner, the tribunal heard he planned to pass cases to Leigh Day so it could bring damages claims, from which he would take a financial cut.

The hearing continues.

Previously:

Joshua Rozenberg: The Leigh Day vs Ministry of Defence showdown explained [Legal Cheek Journal]

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24 Comments

Anonymous

No doubt they’ll get a fine nowhere near the amount they benefitted from it. Get a slap on the wrist and move to a different area and do the same thing. The wonders of the toothless SRA, almost comparable to the UN ..almost. Chocolate fireguard springs to mind.

(2)(14)

Anonymous

Chris Kendall’s comment really shows what the effect of this whole horrid affair has had. Plenty of people really don’t believe enemy combatants should have human rights- hell, plenty of people seem to believe if you’ve committed any crime you should be stripped of your human rights (woe betide anyone who tries to explain that you don’t become any less human for being a criminal.)
These lawyers, and Leigh Day itself, should be very, very ashamed of themselves. Human rights law and its practitioners cop enough from the media and public without dishonesty and greed being thrown in. The same rhetoric of money-grabbing fat cat lawyers was thrown at legal aid lawyers for years, and look at it now. I hope there isn’t any substantial lasting damage for the field from this.

(16)(3)

Anonymous

How profitable is Leigh Day?

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Anonymous

Not as much as it’s brother, Jones, despite their attention being elsewhere most of the time.

(1)(0)

Scep Tick

Claimed over £100m in costs for the Trafigura case. Even though they settled the clients’ claims for £30m.

(2)(0)

Asmodeus

I don’t think that we need to worry about Daily Mail commenters…

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Actually you do need to worry about us!

We raised nearly a million quid to get Al Blackman out of jail after you scumbags did him up like a kipper
I fully expect his so-called defence team to be next on the list

It was us that got shiner struck off and his disgusting ‘firm’ of tank chasers closed down and hopefully he’ll soon be moving into Al’s old cell

You’re the ones who’ve been whining for years that British troops have to be held to the highest standards and punished if they do wrong – you hypocrites!

(4)(7)

Anonymous

I am a former army officer who is now transitioning to law.

1) Blackman was convicted because he only raised a mental health defence as part of his application to the CCRC. This was despite the fact he had no diagnosed mental illness prior to his CCRC application, and despite the fact his mental health was assessed at least twice, and found to be fine, on at least two occasions prior to his first trial. Indeed, Blackman maintained he suffered no mental illness until his CCRC application. His conviction was sound and secure on the evidence presented.

2) If a soldier in my platoon had executed an unarmed and wounded combatant – especially one from whom we had received no attacking fire and who had only been identified via remote imagery – while joking about it, as part of a peacekeeping/counter-insurgency mission, I would consider that solider a tactical and strategic risk and I would want him to face disciplinary action. As did members of Blackman’s platoon.

3) I have helped bring cases of (alleged) wrongful conviction to the CCRC several times. Each of them represented the collective work of students, post-grads, post-doctorals, and pro-bono barristers, who between them put in hundreds and hundreds of hours. None of them were remotely successful. There are genuine cases of wrongful conviction in the UK, particularly as regards the crime we would consider the most horrific – the historic sexual abuse of children in care. But these don’t have a legion of simpleton Daily Mail comment section contributors complaining about injustice, nor does the government care to risk appearing lenient to witches. Instead they prefer to grant clemency to murderers in uniform. This is not progress.

4) We should be gravely worried about Daily Mail comment contributors, for the reasons given above. They are irrational sentimentalists motivated largely by a false sense of persecution, and they have little respect for the opinion or argument of others. If any of these people genuinely cared about the welfare of soldiers or British justice, they would understand that the Ministry of Defence is a far bigger enemy to either of those things than Leigh Day. Find a serviceman who has something good to say about the MoD – apart from Navy officers who have been given desks in Whitehall and Filton Abbey Wood because there aren’t enough ships.

I’ll tell you something else, too. You didn’t need a million quid to get Blackman off. Why don’t you find out what happened to that money before mouthing off on here?

(21)(4)

Anonymous

Did you attend the RCJ for any of the hearings subsequent to the CCRC review?
I went to all of them

If you couldn’t be bothered then the court’s decision is publicly available

Of course, I fully accept that a Rodney who ‘now transitioning to the law’ has a far greater understanding of it than simpletons like myself or Lord Chief Justice Thomas, Lady Hallet et al but still I suggest you read it before mouthing off on here

God help anyone who gets you to defend them!

(2)(8)

Anonymous

Ah, the tactical situation on the ground is becoming clearer to me
So the Royals had received no ‘attacking fire’.
That’s fine then!!

Er, on second thoughts, what does that even mean?
Do the enemy often direct fire at us when they’re not attacking us?
Personally, I’d prefer it if they just texted me, or friended me on Facebook, if they need to attract my attention for some non-lethal reason

In any event, as the talib was apparently just innocently gambolling about the ulu like a spring lamb – not directing ‘attacking fire’ at anyone – then what was the justification for an Apache to perforate him with 35mm cannon shells?

Please refer to the Geneva Conventions

The talib was not a ‘combatant’ he was a civilian engaging in combat
There is a world of difference between the two

Most critical being that he does not then have ‘combat immunity’ for his actions and if he kills someone he can be charged with murder

I condemn the murder of combatants or civilians but the Law Lords said it wasn’t murder and that’s good enough for me

(0)(1)

Anonymous

If you’d read the post properly you would see that it doesn’t criticise the decision.

If you attended the RCJ hearings, then it doesn’t look like the experience taught you anything. And it doesn’t look like you will learn anything here either. As already mentioned, the case has attracted the passions of people who cannot be reasoned with and who care nothing for objectivity. Why on earth did you attend the RCJ?

PS no one calls the Marines the Royals and the rest of the second post directly above incomprehensible. There are plenty of people who cannot explain what they really think about these cases because they are responding on an entirely emotional level. Loudly beats the drum.

(6)(0)

Paul Widdecombe

Wow – just like WWI. Run up against the bloke with a machine gun, armed with a broomstick handle, or the posh bloke with the Eton accent will discharge a browning behind your ear & send your body home with a “Coward” tag.

Your sneering, condescending tone clearly marks you out as that guy. Or perhaps it was Harrow?

So which of the multitude of pointless military adventures have you sent our great young men in to risk their lives over, I wonder? Did you enjoy “The great game” of sending virile young flesh off to risk it all for some pointless godforsaken hellhole, knowning all the while that your excellent admin skills had your, no doubt well groomed, arris, completely covered? The ROE are about as retarded as possible; any “Daily Mail” reader with half a brain can see that. As is the general strategy of “fight them over there, so we don’t have to fight them over here” whilst importing as many of “them” as possible.

War is a spiritual pursuit. Law is an earthly (satanic) one. Hope your new profession brings you what you seek.

As for me, I should prefer that our warriors were either sent into meaningful situations, and/or were supported by a “Military Covenant” that means more than plush clubs for officers who maintain a veneer of plausible deniability over the filth they send their men to wade into.

As for the ineffectiveness of CCRC; that’s because us Brits are plagued by some antiquated cult-worship of a quaint, but centuries outdated system of trial by 12 average morons, on the basis of zero ability to critically study, or review the thought processes & reasoning used by the “Jurors”. The “trial by jury” system, once considered the envy of the world, is hopelessly antiquated in modern technologically advanced society. Its “checks and balances” serve only to preserve the money, power and privileges of those who already possess them. CCRC, for some reason, tremble at challenging this “Gold Standard” of British Justice, lest we accuse them of organising some belated wig wearers monarchist uprising.

The concept of “British Justice” itself is rapidly becoming a joke, as our ancestral heritage is being mortgaged away, for a few grubby shekels here & there & our descendants are being saddled with civilisation crippling debt, whilst boomer-cucks import ship loads of said “non-uniformed combatants” to wipe the drool from their virtue signal flapping mouths.

“Uniformed murderers” ye say, hmmmm, brigadeeer…? How many did you kill in active duty, then? Did you get all your forms filled in beforehand? Get the 2/2015DIN07-113 forms countersigned & stamped by the platoon commanders? Or are you the kind who would make emotionally charged accusations for the benefit of his own ego, perhaps?

(1)(6)

Paul Widdecombe

4) We should be gravely worried about Daily Mail comment contributors, for the reasons given above. They are irrational sentimentalists motivated largely by a false sense of persecution, and they have little respect for the opinion or argument of others. If any of these people genuinely cared about the welfare of soldiers or British justice, they would understand that the Ministry of Defence is a far bigger enemy to either of those things than Leigh Day. Find a serviceman who has something good to say about the MoD – apart from Navy officers who have been given desks in Whitehall and Filton Abbey Wood because there aren’t enough ships.
————————————————————————–

This one is too good. There is an insight into the kind of person you are in there, so I will hold a mirror up to it so that you can observe, should you so wish…

“We should be gravely worried about Daily Mail comment contributors, for the reasons given above.”

The only reason given above was that of witch hunting peedoes. Which is probably fair enough – there is a ring of truth to that. However, your suggestion that DM readers are the only ones that respond with feelz is observably false when you read the comments sections of Komment Macht Frei at the Graun, for example. The hand-wringing lefty Islington elites are as well known for their instinctive support for peados & pervs, as your average DM readers instinctive revulsion for the same. Im not convinced that either side differs when it comes to the rule of law for things they dislike. From support for PIE and NAMBLA, to the Islington care homes, to the current day trans fetish, to “I’m a pedo – not a monster!” type articles in Salon.

I dunno – perhaps the butthurt is just recovered memories of your peripatetic music lessons after posh school…

“They are irrational sentimentalists motivated largely by a false sense of persecution, and they have little respect for the opinion or argument of others.”
This is a gem – it really is. No, I have no respect for your opinions. None is owed, either! As you can see from the point above – I will respect arguments where based in fact, but nobody owes your opinions any respect. Grow up, Timmy!

I should like to know what you would consider what level of persecution we need to get to before you consider their collective butthurt legitimate, though. I mean, I suspect you don’t have to wander into a Greggs unless you are feeling a bit nostalgic for a bit of cooks old spotted dick (don’t bother – they don’t make it there) but how about your top hatted pals in the city printing off a half a trillion quid for “Quantitive Easing” and then our European overlords splashing around in another half trill Euro? Or having your collar enthusiastically felt by the police, for the thought crime known as “hate” when you express your frustrations at the same police forces unwillingness or inability to deal with certain more serious crimes?

“If any of these people genuinely cared about the welfare of soldiers or British justice, ”
Rich, coming from the guy who just said he would serve up his own men if they made his spreadsheet look bad. I must confess – I am not as kind as Sgt Blackman; I would have let the guy live.

“They would understand that the Ministry of Defence is a far bigger enemy to either of those things than Leigh Day. Find a serviceman who has something good to say about the MoD – apart from Navy officers who have been given desks in Whitehall and Filton Abbey Wood because there aren’t enough ships. ”

Whaar-haaar – bit of a dig at the old buggers in the Navy, eh! Raaah Raaah!
Seriously, though – you hit on something there. Absolutely true – the treatment Sgt Blackman got from the top brass was horrendous. The best that Gen Sir Mike Jackson could manage was that he was “Sad”. Perhaps he should get a Twitter account, so that he can tweet emojiis in future? I think the only good response was from the CO Col Oliver Lee, who had the dignity to resign. (a rare breed in this day and age…)

But here’s the thing – you allude to the woeful bumbling & underresourcing with your comment about a lack of ships. Well, most of us already feel that the whole shitshow is already massively OVERresourced. That there are too many crappy wars for Israel or whoever feels like we should step up over whatever. If there were a meaningful conflict, the British people would pull together & the right materiel would appear, as if by magic. There’s too much money and blood being wasted on this pointless rubbish & we are not interested in any of it, really. Especially when politicians and churnalists at home run the country into the ground economically, demographically, materially & spiritually.

So pop that into your corn-cob pipe & smoke it, next time you are perusing the smelling salts section of the Guardian.

(0)(6)

Anonymous

‘Utter turd’ made my day.

(1)(0)

Mrs Peacock

Why these ghastly people on LC (Legal Coprophilia) wallow in the turdescence of the twittertards is quiet unfathomable.

“Utter Turd” would make their day. Unspeakable grossness of this coprophilic site.
There’s enough material here for an entire convention, just like Friedrich and Heinrich say.

(0)(2)

Anonymous

Makes Irwin Mitchell look decent.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

They all should be barred from profession and jailed all monies should be recouped and given to the RBL

(1)(0)

Anonymous

If you love ‘enemy combatants’ so much get yourselves kitted out at Silverman’s and get over to Afghan
When they catch you don’t forget to explain your human rights as they’re flaying you alive

If you actually knew anything about the law you’d know that they are not ‘combatants’ as defined by GC III but civilians as defined in GC IV

(0)(3)

Anonymous

Didn’t know the ALS attracted Walts.

(0)(0)

I was on the Main Gate when you were on Cow & Gate

The guys sitting in Abbey Wood etc Anon at 0131A (see what I did there) were in uniform when you were in liquid form. In the main engineers procuring stuff with a limited budget to keep people safe. Admittedly the RN was mistaken to let the binbags in the Wardroom in 1873, but on the whole a fine bunch of overall wearing spanner wielders. Oh except for the weapon engineers who wear mattresses. This is not to decry your service, but pointing at others to suggest they make less of a contribution not particularly good form.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

I guess if they lose Leigh Day shuts down

(0)(0)

I was on the Main Bate etc

Anon at 1525A.

Fingers crossed.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Yeah lets hope they get struck off…. I used to work for that firm and they were utter pigs…. even drove me out of my job there!!!!! Crooks!!!!!

(0)(1)

Christopher Robertson

All charges dismissed!

Perhaps David Cameron, Michael Fallon and Stewart Jackson (those ‘immoral, thieving and and ambulancing chasing’ lawyers) should conisder apologising.

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Comments are closed.