Who? Phil Shiner, 57, international and human rights solicitor at Birmingham firm Public Interest Lawyers.

Why is he in the news? His firm, along with the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, has submitted a formal complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) based on analysis of more than 400 alleged abuses of Iraqi detainees by UK military forces.

The 250-page factual and legal analysis covers the period from 2003 to 2008, and concludes that the alleged systemic abuse of detainees meets the criteria of war crimes.

The document urges the ICC to open formal investigations into those who committed the alleged abuse and to prosecute the high-ranking civil and military officials that the UK has so far failed to pursue.

Thoughts on the case: ‘Hundreds of thousands of documents were analysed for this report. It is not reliant just on witness or victim statements, but is evidentially based, with footnotes referring to, for example, Ministry of Defence training manuals on how to interrogate detainees. We are confident that the ICC will, at the very least, quickly begin an initial investigation.’

Dealing with the media: ‘Media interest is huge already and is expected to become even more intense after the official launch of the complaint, when we showed film footage of British troops abusing detainees.’

Why become a lawyer? ‘I have always had socialist and Christian principles and values. I wanted to use the law to confront those who abuse their power.’

Career high: ‘7 July 2011, when we won two judgments, Al-Skeini and Al-Jedda, in the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. The judgments extended the European Convention on Human Rights to times of war.’

Career low: ‘Six months into the coalition government, when it became apparent that austerity was an excuse to roll back the state and deprive the old, vulnerable, poor and sick of essential services.’