Phil Shiners legal firm made £16m with improper fee deal over Iraq

first_imgA disgraced human rights lawyer accused of hounding British troops earned his firm more than £1.6m from an improper deal carving up fees from pursuing abuse claims against British troops, a tribunal has heard.Phil Shiner began taking on clients to win a public inquiry into alleged British abuses, but then cut a lucrative deal with another firm which pursued compensation claims for the same people.A professional standards tribunal heard the agreement broke a string of conduct rules. Phil ShinerCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley Phil Shiner The three-way deal to share fees with Leigh Day and an Iraqi agent was so lucrative that Mr Shiner failed to check its “legality or propriety”, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard.Mr Shiner also paid the agent, Mazin Younis, £500 for each client he could find alleging British troops committed murder, torture or mistreatment.The former Solicitor of the Year faces a string of professional misconduct charges over his role bringing some of the most serious abuse allegations faced by the British Army in decades. The Al-Sweady Public Inquiry Chairman Sir Thayne Forbes at the Inquiry in Finlaison House, Furnival Street, London EC4center_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Some of his claims led to the £25m, five-year-long Al-Sweady inquiry, which later dismissed the allegations and said they were based on calculated and deliberate lies by Iraqis.The central London tribunal heard that Mr Shiner’s firm, Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), signed the agreement to share fees from compensation cases for clients it had referred to Leigh Day.Leigh Day made a profit of £4.3m, in cases involving 95 clients, resulting in payments of more than £1.6m each to PIL and Mr Younis.Andrew Tabachnik, counsel for the Solicitors Regulation Authority, said: “This was a lucrative part of Phil Shiner’s business and others.”But he said the agreement was improper because it included Mr Younis who was working on fees contingent on success. It also wrongly included cases from before the agreement, and cases that were being funded with public money.Mr Tabachnik said: “Those agreements are accepted by Phil Shiner to be improper and in breach of the rules.”Mr Shiner has already admitted nine counts of behaving without integrity and a single account of acting recklessly, but faces more serious charges of acting dishonestly. He has acknowledged he will be struck off, the court has heard.Leigh Day face a separate tribunal, deny all wrongdoing and have claimed they are victims of political interference.Mr Shiner’s tribunal is being heard in his absence after he said he was too unwell to cope with the proceedings.But the three-person panel has heard he is in a “state of avoidance” and manoeuvring to try to avoid cross examination.A decision is expected early in February Some of Mr Shiner’s claims led to the £25m Al-Sweady public InquiryCredit:Julian Simmondslast_img

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