Law Review: Chilcot and Geeklawyer… but not in the same context

Philippe Sands QC, a member of Matrix Chambers and professor of International Law at University College, London, suggested on Newsnight that following evidence about the legality of the Iraq war, Tony Blair may have to choose his travel destinations carefully. I won’t make any further comment on that for the present. (Apologies for typo in tweet as to spelling of Philippe)

Sands is the author of a book, Lawless World, in which he accused US President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair of conspiring to invade Iraq in violation of international law.

I commented on yesterday’s proceedings at the Iraq Inquiry below: Breaking News: What will Jack do now? and Chilcot Special: The government did not like the advice of government lawyers

Today, former Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith appears before the Iraq Inquiry. On Friday, Tony Blair appears. I plan to do a podcast with ex-government lawyer Carl Gardner who is now author of the Head of legal blog tonight.

The invasion of Iraq was lawful

by Carl Gardner on January 27, 2010

“This blog didn’t exist when US and British forces, with others, invaded Iraq in 2003. I’ve never written directly about the legality of the war. But with Sir Michael Wood and Elizabeth Wilmshurst having given evidence to the Iraq inquiry yesterday, and Lord Goldsmith due to appear today, I think it’s time for me to address the issue.”

Press coverage: Guardian –  Lord Goldsmith got taxpayer help for Iraq war inquiry legal advice Chilcot inquiry: Lawyers expose pressure to give green light for war | Times –  Lord Goldsmith to face pressure over legal U-turn on Iraq war | Telegraph –  Government knew ‘no leg to stand on’ legally to go to war in Iraq | IndependentInvade and be damned: Foreign Office lawyers say advice on legality of war was ignored

As a postscript to yesterday’s testimony before the Iraq Inquiry, The Telegraph notes “Margaret Beckett, Mr Straw’s successor as foreign secretary, risked outrage by saying that Dr David Kelly, the government scientist who committed suicide after being accused of leaking secrets about the “sexing-up” of intelligence, would have agreed that Saddam Hussein was seeking to stockpile weapons.”

Tony Blair is due before the Iraq Inquiry on Friday.  Matthew Norman has an interesting piece in the Independent this morning

Matthew Norman: Irrespective of Chilcot, Blair will always remain a pariah

The former PM will never escape the verdict of the court of public opinion



Frances Gibb, writing in The Times, reports

Gilderdale case prompts fresh calls to clarify the law on assisted dying

“One devoted mother who helps her sick daughter to end her life with tablets and morphine walks free from court with a suspended sentence. Another is jailed for murder, to serve a minimum of nine years, after injecting her brain-damaged son with a lethal dose of heroin. The two contrasting cases have reignited the debate over “right to die” and whether those who assist a loved one to end their suffering should be subject to criminal law. Both involved a loving parent who could not bear to see a child suffer. Both, therefore, were acts of mercy. But there were key differences: Frances Inglis’s son, Thomas, 22, who had brain damage, had never indicated an intention to die. His mother believed him to be in pain and could not accept an encouraging medical prognosis.”

I commented on this legalo-ethical debate in Law Review: Assisted dying, Barristers modernise (?) and standards in legal education. yesterday.

Victims’ families demand Edlington boys be named

The Times reports: “Pressure was growing on the Government last night to release the full findings of a confidential inquiry into the Edlington torture case. The Conservatives stepped up demands for the publication of the 150-page report and the Liberal Democrats are considering tabling an amendment to a Bill that would require the findings of all serious case reviews to be made public.”

It is easy to understand the anger of the families and the public in this shocking case. Mr Justice Keith rejected applications to lift the ban that prohibits identification of the two brothers and their family. He said that naming the boys could adversely affect their rehabilitation.  Was he right to do so?  Difficult though it will be for many, I think he was right to do so.  The children involved in this appalling and mindless, sadism are are the product of their backgrounds and part of our justice system in terms of penal theory involves rehabilitation.  There is also the issue of ‘vigilante’ justice being meted out when the boys are eventually released.   There are, it is believed, plans to consider prosecutions against the parents.

OUT-LAW reports:

Sky wins landmark ‘fraudulent misrepresentation’ ruling, HP vows to appeal

Hewlett-Packard has vowed to appeal a ruling announced today by England’s Technology and Construction Court that is expected to cost it more than £200 million. The case is one of the longest-running and most expensive disputes in the technology sector.  The OUT-LAW article is well worth a read. The judgment of Mr Justice Ramsey (500+ pages, one of the longest ever, is due shortly)

Misrepresentation seems to be the flavour of the week this week…. Today, The Independent has a story about deceit on the leafy banks of the Thames : Court battle after ‘garden flooded 80 times’

“A financier who bought a £1.9m family home on the banks of the Thames is taking the previous owners to court, claiming they failed to warn him that the garden flooded as many as 80 times a year. Adrian Howd and his wife, Caroline, claim that, before buying the house – named Tide’s End – their solicitors had asked Bobby and Nicola Console-Verma’s lawyers: “Given its position, please confirm that the property has never suffered from flooding.” The couple’s lawyers responded: “Our clients confirm that the property has never suffered from flooding during their 14-year occupation.” Dr Howd and his wife argue that this response was untrue and fraudulent. However, the Console-Vermas’ barrister Michael King insisted that the question was “ambiguous” and that they had reasonably taken the view that “property” meant “bricks and mortar”, not the garden.” (Independent)

Often very fine lines of interpretation decide the events of history as the Iraq Inquiry is now revealing on the legality of war issues.  It seems that this case may also turn on a fine line.


Not a law blog – but Capitalists&Work is always worth keeping an eye on.

UK GDP Q4 2009; 0.1%

Wow, that is a poor number. So much for Labour going to call an election on the back of the ‘return’ to growth.

And crocodile tears for the BBC having prepared for weeks on the Government’s behalf a ‘we are out of recesion day special.’ (Love this headline, UK emerges from recession, repeat the BBC is not biased, the BBC is not biased….)

With all the talk of outsourcing work to lawyers in India, this post by Professor John Flood on his RATs blog is worth a look: Lawyering in India

John Bolch, Family Lore, looks at: Attitudes towards cohabitation

He notes: “I’ve just been looking at the press release for the British Social Attitudes (‘BSA’) 26th Report, which was published today. Along with the unsurprising news that fewer people in Britain feel an obligation to vote than at any time since the question was first posed on BSA in 1991, the Report has some interesting findings regarding attitudes towards cohabitation. Cohabitation, it seems, is becoming increasingly acceptable, with 45% of those questioned agreeing that it ‘makes no difference to children whether their parents are married to each other or just living together’, up from 38% in 1998. This rather contradicts those, particularly the Tories, who maintain that it is far better for children if their parents are married.”

Geeklawyer writes…Dear prospective advertiser number one million. Thank you for your interest

Geeklawyer thinks that the ambulance chasers will taint his blog! Geeklawyer is so fabulously rich from his practice at the Bar – he regularly taunts Criminal and Family practitioners about this on his blog and on Twitter  – in jest – that he doesn’t need advertisers.  He is in a fortunate position, indeed.  Thankfully, I am more than happy to allow advertisers to support our free resource projects on Insite Law – for otherwise it would not be possible to give all the comment on here and free resources on Insite Law away free.  I am not, unfortunately, as rich as CroesusLawyer!

Geeklawyer writes…

Dear Casabian,

I’d rather have my bol­locks chewed off by a bad tem­pered rot­tweiler with a taste for slow pain, than have a bunch of low-life ambu­lance chasers taint my site with their ads.

And just to show how appreciative I am that commercial organisations are for sponsoring the free resources on Insite Law  for students et al – I am delighted to say that Accidents Direct are supporting our project – so they can go on my header.  I am also appreciative of the support Wildy & Sons have given consistently over three years as I am to all the advertisers on Insite.  Lunch doesn’t come free in the world most of us live in and if barristers, solicitors, publishers, and other firms (as they are doing)  wish to help support the free legal web concept  – that is good for everyone and I am more than happy to assist them in return.

One thought on “Law Review: Chilcot and Geeklawyer… but not in the same context

  1. I have never been impressed by Mrs Beckett. However, for her to say that the late Dr David Kelly would have agreed that Saddam was stockpiling WMD was an appalling statement. She cannot possibly know whether he would have agreed or not. I don’t know what he would have said either but I would suspect that his answer would have been very carefully phrased along the lines of one cannot be sure. More to the whole point is that the sole purpose of the Weapons Inspectors was to confirm or deny those claims. They were not allowed time to complete their difficult and painstaking work. The US/UK political machinery clearly got impatient with them.

    We know that chemical weapons were used by the Iraq regime but that was prior to the 1991 Gulf War – e.g. Halabja. What happened to that weaponry has, as far as I know, not been cleared up. [Anyone know differently?]. However, stockpiles were not found prior to 2003 and, again as far as I know, have not been found since.

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