20 Essex Street duo plays part in Guantanamo detainees’ victory

20 Essex Street barristers Tim Otty and Sudhanshu Swaroop helped secure victory against the US government in a key challenge to detentions at Guantanamo Bay.

Otty, acting for the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association (CLA), and Swaroop, representing the Bar Council’s human rights committee, appeared to present amicus curiae briefs in the case before the US Supreme Court.

The barristers were instructed by Goodwin Proctor partner John Rich and counsel Steven Pollak.

On 28 June the court ruled by a five to three majority that the military commissions established for the trial of detainees at Guantanamo are unconstitutional. The court said military commissions do not conform to the law of war and are in breach of the Geneva Convention.

However, Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and the recently elected Samuel Alito disagreed, saying that the December 2005 Detainee Treatment Act meant the commissions are legal.