Attorney-General’s advice on legality of war to remain secret

The Attorney General’s advice on the legality of going to war with Iraq will remain secret after his lead counsel, top human rights barrister David Perry QC, defeated an application by Greenpeace for its disclosure.

Greenpeace’s counsel, Tim Owen QC, of Matrix Chambers, had sought disclosure as part of a defence relating to charges brought against 14 volunteers who occupied tanks at Marchwood military base in the run up to the war.

However, Perry’s argument that Lord Goldsmith’s advice was privileged prevailed. Owen had argued it was essential to guaranteeing the defendants a fair trial.

Greenpeace was also denied a witness summons of the former deputy legal adviser at the Foreign Office, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, who had previously said she would not resist taking the witness stand.