Blackstone Chambers has found itself at the centre of the BAE Systems controversy with member Lord Woolf set to lead the BAE independent ethics committee while some of Blackstone’s leading barristers lead the legal fight against the defence company.
As first reported on wwww.thelawyer.com (20 April 2007), a Blackstone team, comprising Dinah Rose QC and David Pannick is advising social group The Corner House and The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) as they try and bring BAE to account.
Blackstone is seeking a judicial review challenging the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Attorney General and Prime Minister Tony Blair for intervening and ceasing investigations into BAE’s alleged payments of £1bn to Saudi Arabia’s former ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan to ensure a £43bn defence deal went through.
Lord Woolf, who has yet to confirm his appointment into the panel, will be unable to examine any previous deals that are currently under corruption probes and will apparently steer clear of countries that are currently under investigation by the SFO. The panel will examine the way BAE does business.