Philip Joseph Shiner

• Application 11510-2016

• Admitted 1981

• Hearing 23 January - 2 February 2017

• Reasons 21 March 2017

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll. The respondent had encouraged and authorised the making of unsolicited direct approaches to potential clients, in breach of paragraphs (d), (g), and (h) of the Solicitors Publicity Code 2001, rules 1(a), 1(c) and 1(d) of the Solicitors Practice Rules 1990 and rules 1.02, 1.04, 1.06 and 7 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007.

He had improperly authorised and procured Public Interest Lawyers Limited (PIL) to enter into an agreement providing financial benefits to Y in order to cause or persuade him to change his evidence, in breach of principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. In so doing, he had acted dishonestly. He had improperly presented that changed evidence to the SRA without explanation as to the circumstances in which it had been obtained, in breach of principles 2, 6 and 7. In so doing, he had acted dishonestly.

He had improperly sanctioned and approved the creation of emails which did not disclose the true reason for the agreement with Y, in breach of principles 2 and 6. In so doing, he had acted dishonestly. He had authorised, procured and approved the payment to Y of prohibited referral fees, in breach of rules 1.04, 1.06, 8.02 and 9.02 of the 2007 code.

He had authorised, procured and approved:

(i) improper contingency fee-sharing arrangements with Y, in breach of rules 1.06, 8 and 9.01(4) of the 2007 code;

(ii) improper referral fee-sharing arrangements in respect of historic cases with Y, in breach of rules 1.06, 8, 9.01(4) and 9.02 of the 2007 code; and

(iii) improper referral fee-sharing arrangements in respect of publicly funded cases with Y, in breach of rules 1.02, 1.06, 8, 9.01(4) and 9.02(h) of the 2007 code.

He had authorised, procured and approved the payment to Y of £25,000 in prohibited referral fees, in breach of rules 1.02, 1.06, 8, 9.01(4) and 9.02 of the 2007 code. He had provided the SRA with misleading and incomplete responses to certain questions in a section 44B notice, in breach of principles 2, 6 and 7 and outcomes 10.1 and 10.9 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011. In so doing, he had acted dishonestly.

He had failed to provide the SRA with a timely response to certain questions in a section 44B notice, in breach of principles 6 and 7 and outcomes 10.1, 10.8 and 10.9 of the 2011 code.

He had failed to establish and maintain proper and effective arrangements with LD (a firm of solicitors) for the sharing of information and documents held by PIL and LD, in breach of rules l(c), (d) and (e) of the rules, rules 1.01, 1.04, 1.05 and 1.06 of the 2007 code and principles 1, 4, 5 and 6.

He had failed to comply with his duty of candour to the court and had failed to take proper steps to ensure that the relevant clients complied with their duty of candour to the court, in breach of rules 1.01, 1.04 and 1.06 of the 2007 code.

He had failed to comply with his duty of full and frank disclosure to the Legal Services Commission, and had failed to take proper steps to ensure that the relevant clients complied with their comparable duties, in breach of rules 1.01, 1.02, 1.04 and 1.06 of the 2007 code.

At a press conference on 22 February 2008, he had made and personally endorsed allegations that the British Army had unlawfully killed, tortured and mistreated Iraqi civilians, including his clients, who had been innocent bystanders at the Battle of Danny Boy, in circumstances where it was improper to do so, and had thereby breached rules 1.02, 1.03 and 1.06 of the 2007 code. In so doing, he had acted recklessly.

He had failed, in the period March 2013 to March 2014, to keep clients properly informed as to the progress of the Al-Sweady Inquiry, in breach of principles 4, 5 and 6 and had failed to achieve outcome 1.12 of the 2011 code.

The respondent’s motivation had been to secure clients and high-profile cases, which brought with it reputational and financial reward. He had been willing to disregard his professional obligations, in some cases dishonestly. The allegations made against the British Army, which were found to be false, had a significant impact on those individuals accused of carrying out atrocities. While the respondent was not responsible for the fact that the clients had lied in the first place, his serious disregard for his professional obligations had meant that the consequences of those lies were suffered by soldiers for several years.

The misconduct was at the highest level and the only appropriate sanction was a strike-off.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs to be assessed, and to make an interim payment in respect of costs of £250,000.