Thursday, 1 February 2007

Games lawyers play

Oh dear. First (it appears) Tony tells his Attorney General Lord Goldsmith to spare long time pet BAE from prosecution over possible corruption in a Saudi arms deal -- and it turns out they are going to get their day in court anyway thanks to a different affair, this time in Tanzania. Then the cash for honours story rolls back into town with a vengeance raising questions yet again about Goldsmith's role in deciding on possible prosecutions for Tony and his friends in this matter. Finally even the constitutional affairs minster, the usually supine Harriet Harman, calls for the Attorney General's advice to the government be published as a matter of course. Let's just accept, shall we, that 500 years of precedent does not naturally produce the optimal structure in all cases. Just possibly having a single individual who is both a member of the government sitting in cabinet and advising on legal matters and chief law officer with ultimate responsibility for deciding on prosecutions might conceivably be a conflict of interest... As usual in these matters, you can't do much until the organisational structure is serviceable.

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