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The Case Against War

Reviewed in the Solicitors Journal

15.10.2004 Vol. 148 No. 39

Nothing quite like this has happened since the trial of King Charles.  Our then leader was put on trial for making an unlawful war.  Cromwell the conservative joined with a radicalised soldiery to remove his head.

The Legal Inquiry Steering Group has no such hopes of Michael Howard.  But this book shows how close they have got to lodging an indictment.  Which, many thanks to the High Court, is not very close at all.

The book provides accounts of real and acted-out litigation in official and unofficial courts - an unusual but effective double-pronged attack.  We start with committal proceedings before a Citizen's Inquiry.  The case against the government is presented by Rabinder Singh QC and Janet Kentridge, Julian Knowles defends.  Professor Colin Warbrick commits for trial.

The government is then prosecuted in the High Court, but Lord Justice Simon Brown will have none of it.  The decision is appealed to shadow 'judicial review' (courtesy of the Today Programme) which upholds the prosecution.

There then follows a series of real legal opinions and government statements culminating in a real letter before action delivered in January 2003.

Government may take comfort: no citizen's arrest, just this book.  But since January 2003, no new evidence has appeared to support the WMD theory.  The continuing deficit may prove decisive in the court of public opinion, the court that the authors really mean to persuade.

Legalistic though this book is, anyone interested in the issues it deals with will find its clear exposition of principle illuminating.  It contains models of draftsmanship as skillfully crafted as lawyers and law students might ever meet.

As King Charles found out, unofficial courts sometimes exercise real power. If the vision of rolling heads appeals to you, you'll find it irresistible.





Published September 2004 

Price: 10.00 

ISBN: 978 0 85124 692 5

pages 280


















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