Jean-Yves Gilg

Editor, Solicitors Journal

Iraq war families launch crowdfund for civil claim

Iraq war families launch crowdfund for civil claim


IFCG looks to raise £150,000 for legal advice before initiating claim against state officials

In what is described as 'the most important public interest case of a generation', the families of British military personnel killed in Iraq have turned to crowdfunding £150,000 for a legal costs against those responsible for the deaths of their loved ones.

Sir John Chilcot's long-awaited report into the UK's involvement in Iraq between 2001 and 2009 delivered a damning verdict on the actions taken by the UK government before and after the invasion, revealing a catalogue of mistakes and wrongdoing.

While the Chilcot inquiry was not asked to rule on the legality of the war or on whether individuals had acted unlawfully, the report has opened up the potential for future legal action to be taken against the then prime minister, Tony Blair, and the government, according to several legal commentators.

With the 12-volume report's findings not being referred to the International Criminal Court, leading campaigners argue that justice is still to be done. The families of those killed now plan to bring a civil action against those deemed responsible for the war.

The Iraq War Families Campaign Group (IFCG) is looking to raise an initial £50,000 to fund a full analysis of the 2.6 million-word report to determine whether such legal action can be brought. Once this has been completed, the group will look to obtain legal aid to take the case to trial.

Having worked pro bono for the families for the last year, Matthew Jury, managing partner at McCue & Partners, said: 'The report told us what went wrong and who was responsible but it was not a court of law. If they can, the families are determined to hold those individuals to account by bringing them to trial to answer for their actions.

'Not just for them or their loved ones, but to ensure that never again will our politicians act with such impunity in taking our country into an unjust war with such tragic consequences. This is the families' and the British people's only chance for justice.'

Julia Salasky, the founder of CrowdJustice, said: 'This may well be the most important public interest case of a generation. Crowdfunding it not only enables the claimants to access the law, but also gives the public a chance to play a part in history, and to seek accountability and justice both for the families and for the public record.'

Roger Bacon, whose son was killed in Iraq, said: 'Our determination to find answers has been redoubled by Sir John's excoriating view of the establishment's tragic and error-strewn display.

'We must now ensure every iota of the report is analysed in depth, to determine whether there are potential legal cases to follow up. And to help us, we ask the British public to take action.'

Reg Keys, who also lost his son in the conflict, added: 'The public support the families have received over the years has been unstinting. With the report's publication, we now have the evidence that may mean individuals could now face trial.

'We hope and trust the British people will take this unique opportunity to help us determine what legal actions can be taken and support the campaign to get justice for our loved ones and our country.'

John van der Luit-Drummond is deputy editor for Solicitors Journal