Earlier this morning, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found former Public Interest Lawyers solicitor Phil Shiner guilty of five counts of dishonesty following a two-day hearing. Mr Shiner, who has been the public face of the scandal surrounding his firm’s pursuit of torture and abuse cases brought by Iraqi citizens against members of the British armed forces, has been ordered to pay £250,000 in interim costs and will be struck off from the roll as a result of the SDT’s findings. The move will surprise few – Mr Shiner fully or partially admitted 18 of the 24 charges brought against him by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in December, and said at the time that he fully expected to be struck off as a consequence.
Among the charges that were proved against Mr Shiner was that he had made unsolicited approaches to clients and had paid a fixer known as ‘Z’ to change his evidence to the Government’s £31m Al-Sweady Inquiry. The inquiry, which ran the course of five years, eventually ruled in 2014 that allegations of torture and other misconduct levelled against British troops by Iraqi detainees were ‘deliberate lies.’ SRA chief executive Paul Phillip commented: ‘More than £30m of public funds were spent investigating what proved to be false and dishonest allegations,’ he said. ‘It’s important that solicitors can bring forward difficult cases, but the public must be able to place their trust in them.’ Mr Shiner will have 21 days to appeal the verdict once it is published by the SDT.