The High Court has today ordered BAE Systems to produce a sworn affidavit divulging how they obtained a confidential and legally privileged document belonging to Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).
The document in question contained advice from CAAT's solicitors on a planned judicial review of the decision to drop a corruption probe into BAE's dealings with Saudi Arabia.
CAAT spokesperson Symon Hill said:
"We are delighted. This is a victory not only for Campaign Against Arms Trade but for all who care about democracy. When Tony Blair ended the Saudi corruption inquiry, he implied that BAE Systems were above the law. But today BAE have been prevented from behaving as they like. We are a step closer to the day when BAE can no longer get away with calling the shots."
CAAT explained that judicial review proceedings could be severely prejudiced if BAE had access to CAAT's confidential legal advice. BAE Systems failed to convince the court that they had no obligation to give away the source of their information. BAE now have until 12th March to produce their affidavit.
CAAT and the Corner House - an anti-corruption and social justice group - will make an announcement shortly about their application for a judicial review.
1. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade.
2. On 14th December 2006, the Serious Fraud Office and the Government announced that they were suspending a corruption investigation into BAE Systems' dealings with Saudi Arabia. CAAT and the Corner House declared their intention to seek a judicial review of this decision.
3. On 2nd February 2007, CAAT and BAE appeared in the High Court at which CAAT applied for an injunction order requiring BAE to divulge how they came into possession of legal advice given to CAAT by their solicitors, Leigh Day & Co.
4. Today (26th February 2007) the court ruled that BAE should produce a sworn affidavit with this information by 12th March 2007.