BAE leak intensifies govt court battle

Confidential and legally privileged material belonging to the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) has been leaked to BAE Systems, ahead of CAAT’s court battle with the government.

On the advice of its legal team, CAAT yesterday made an application to the High Court to reveal the source of the leak. The Court has directed that CAAT and BAE appear before it at a hearing next Friday, 2nd February 2007.

The material has been received by BAE Systems, the company at the centre of the action, which concerns the allegation that the SFO unlawfully dropped an investigation into corruption at BAE Systems after pressure from the Government.

The material has been returned to CAAT voluntarily, but BAE has refused to state how it came into possession of the material.

As first reported on (18 December 2006), CAAT and environmental and social justice movement The Corner House have instructed a heavyweight team from on the action against the SFO, Attorney General and Prime Minister. The team includes Blackstone Chambers’ Dinah Rose QC and top judicial review silk David Pannick QC, and Leigh Day & Co partner Richard Stein.

On Friday (19 January), CAAT and Corner House received the Government’s formal response to their proposed judicial review challenge (first reported on 22 January 2007).

The letter sent by the Government’s solicitors seeks to defend the decision, but the two organisations have said they are not deterred from their view that the decision was unlawful and is susceptible to challenge in the High Court.