BAE-Saudi Arabia-corruption judicial review

Since the 1980s, the UK has supplied Tornado fighter and ground attack aircraft and associated products and support services to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under a series of very high-value arms deals known as Al Yamamah (The Dove). The aircraft sold to Saudi Arabia under the Al Yamamah deals are all manufactured by BAE Systems, the UK’s largest arms manufacturer.
In 2004, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO, a UK government department that investigates and prosecutes complex fraud and is supposed to act independently of the government) began an investigation into alleged bribery and false accounting by BAE in relation to the Al Yamamah deals.
In November and December 2006, it was widely reported that Saudi Arabia had threatened to cancel a further proposed order for 72 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft if the SFO investigation was not halted.
On 14 December 2006, the SFO announced that it was ending its investigation into the bribery allegations because Saudi Arabia might withdraw diplomatic cooperation with the UK on security and intelligence if it continued.
The Corner House and Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) challenged this decision in the UK courts by asking for a judicial review of it on the grounds that the UK had contravened its obligations under the OECD’s Anti-bribery Convention and that the SFO Director had not upheld “the rule of law”.
On 10 April 2008, the High Court ruled that the decision was unlawful. On 30 July 2008, on appeal, the UK’s highest court at the time, the House of Lords, overturned the High Court ruling, stating that the SFO Director was exercising his legal discretion.
Most of the legal documents are posted on this website, but for more detailed information with links to other key documents, see the Timeline of the Legal Challenge; the "BAE Files" written by The Guardian newspaper; and the CAAT website.