Corner House Research and Campaign Against Arms Trade Skeleton Argument
For Permission Hearing for Judicial Review

by lawyers on behalf of The Corner House and CAAT

first published 7 November 2007


On 9 November 2007 at a hearing before two High Court judges, lawyers for The Corner House and Campaign Against Arms Trade presented this outline (or 'skeleton') of their arguments as to why a judicial review should be held of the Serious Fraud Office's decision in December 2006 to cut short its investigation into alleged corruption by BAE Systems in recent Al Yamamah arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

This skeleton argument outlines the Serious Fraud Office's decision, the basis for the legal challenge in Article 5 of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, and the Government's defence against the judicial review application.

It sketches out what our lawyers believe to be the jurisdiction of a UK court to interpret the OECD Convention; the breach of Article 5; and the tainted advice given by the UK Government to the Serious Fraud Office to terminate the investigation.

It assesses the reasons given by a High Court judge in May 2007 in refusing to grant a judicial review, and applies for a Protective Costs Order, capping CAAT's and The Corner House's liability if we lose the judicial review.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) submitted its own "Skeleton Argument", arguing why permission should not be granted for the judicial review.