Bevan Ashford partner Tim Hughes is jetting home to Tiverton to face the music after a 26-hour jaunt in Jordan with Saddam Hussein’s legal team.
Hughes, a family and criminal law partner at Bevan Ashford EPL’s Tiverton office, flew to Jordan on Thursday (1 July) after receiving an invitation from his personal friend, French lawyer Emmanuel Ludot, who is one of Hussein’s 20 defence advisers. He returned to the UK on Friday after a whirlwind 26 hours.
The firm described Hughes’s work in Jordan as “a fact-finding mission”, although Bevan Ashford EPL senior partner Simon Rous said Hughes was never formally instructed by Hussein and received no fees for his work. As the only English-speaking member of the defence team, he was called upon to deal with the media during his day in the Kingdom.
It is understood the footloose fee-earner bought his ticket on Bevan Ashford’s account but did not inform his partners of his travel plans. “We have 405 people working here,” said Rous. “I don’t expect everyone to tell me when they’re travelling overseas on such matters.
“He’s young and naive, and mixed up legal issues with personal academic interest. He’s made a fool of himself, but I don’t think he’s done any damage to the firm. This is a human interest story and a salutary lesson.”
The firm is set to launch an investigation into the matter and disciplinary action may follow.
“Tim has always had a personal interest in civil liberties and human rights,” continued Rous. “He was never instructed on behalf of Saddam Hussein or Saddam Hussein’s committee. He simply became embroiled in a media circus.”
Hughes was unavailable for comment.