Military families hopeful

IssueDecember 2005 - January 2006
News by Albert Beale

On 24 November, six members of Military Families Against the War applied at the High Court in London for permission for a full judicial review of the government's refusal, last May, to order an investigation into the legality of the 2003 attack on Iraq and the subsequent UK military action there.

At the hearing - for which they had had to appeal for donations because they were refused legal aid (see the front page story in the November PN) - Judge Collins reserved judgement until some time in December. The six have all had relatives killed in Iraq.

Reasonably confident

A spokesperson for Military Families Against the War (MFAW) told Peace News that they were reasonably confident that a full judicial review hearing would be granted. The hearing would mean government lawyers having to justify the lack of an investigation into the war's legality - an investigation which the families say is essential in order to discover the real cause of their relatives' deaths.

An arguable case

If permission for the full judicial review is granted, then the fact that a judge accepts that there is an arguable case will add strength to the family members' attempts to get Legal Aid. But if this were still to be refused, then MFAW would need to raise a substantial sum to cover the cost of a court case which could run for some days.

According to Phil Shiner, the solicitor acting for Military Families Against the War, it is a legal requirement that there should be an independent inquiry to establish how British soldiers died in Iraq, and an inquest alone would have too narrow a remit to deal with the underlying reasons for the deaths.

Topics: Iraq, Armed forces