The Solicitors Regulation Authority has confirmed that a second firm has been referred for further disciplinary action over the Al-Sweady inquiry into alleged abuses by British soldiers in Iraq.
In a statement today, the SRA said the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal will decide in the coming weeks whether to accept the case, and if so when the hearing would be.
Although the details of the firm being prosecuted and the allegations against them have not been published, London and Birmingham-based firm Public Interest Lawyers has confirmed it is the practice in question.
In a statement, PIL said: 'It will in due course be for the SDT to consider whether or not there is a case to answer and if the matter should proceed to a hearing.
'As the SRA themselves have said today it is important to make it clear that these are presently only allegations, they are unproven at this point. All allegations are denied and will be robustly defended. PIL has fully co-operated with the ongoing SRA investigation, and will continue to do so.'
Claimant firm Leigh Day has already confirmed it has been referred to the SDT for its role in allegations of British army abuses in Iraq. The firm strongly denies allegations made by the SRA.
The SRA statement said: ‘Our investigation has involved the review of a huge amount of complex and detailed evidence contained in hundreds of thousands of documents.
‘We recognise the need to deal with these matters as quickly as possible and we have engaged leading counsel to oversee this work. We have now decided to refer a second law firm to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.’
The SRA insisted these are presently only allegations and are unproven at this point.
‘We should also make it clear that we would not normally confirm such a decision unless the Tribunal agreed that there was a case to answer.
‘It is only because others have put this information in the public domain that we have confirmed we will make a referral.’
Public Interest Lawyers, led by Phil Shiner, and Leigh Day was named following the five-year Al-Sweady investigation. Both denied any wrongdoing.
Speaking in parliament on 17 December 2014 after the publication of the Al-Sweady report clearing British forces of murdering detainees, the defence secretary, Michael Fallon, said that the SRA had begun an investigation into the conduct of Public Interest Lawyers and Leigh Day.
The investigation is understood to include a probe into allegations that the firms acted improperly in recruiting claimants in Iraq.