31 July 2013

Pressure intensifies for law firms to be named

Around 20 law firms in the UK could soon be named as users of private investigators in the latest instalment of the hacking scandal.

By Charlotte Mullen

Ms Warlow-Shill believes most firms and lawyers have not considered the potential consequences of using email Maksim Kabakou

A parliamentary committee is on the brink of disclosing that law firms are the biggest users of private investigators about a month after a document detailing law firms involved in the blue-chip hacking scandal was reportedly first circulated through the Leveson Inquiry. In recent weeks the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has been under increasing pressure to reveal the names of the law firms allegedly involved in the potentially illegal obtaining of information. So far it has refused to publish any names.The Financial Times reports that a committee is to reveal the types of companies included in SOCA’s list of 102 businesses who have used the rogue private investigators, after the list was given to the committee last week under terms of secrecy.

Parliamentary power

Committee chair Keith Vaz MP has called for parliament to be updated on the hacking scandal when it returns in September, with the committee potentially prepared to exercise parliamentary privilege to publish names. SOCA has written to the committee to assert that the inclusion of the 21 law firms, 9 insurance companies and 8 financial services firms on the list does not necessarily condemn them as criminally responsible.

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