I was quite sniffy about the Campaign Against the Arms Trade’s judicial review challenge to the government’s decision to abandon its criminal investigation of BAe Systems and the Al Yamamah deal. Well, I’m not now saying I think the challenge will succeed, but the disclosure of a letter from Tony Blair to Lord Goldsmith apparently mentioning the risk to ongoing commercial negotiations is a breakthrough for the applicants, as if it does say what the reports suggest, it provides some material to support the claim that the government http://www.gooakley.com/ took into account matters it shouldn’t have under article 5 of the OECD anti-bribery convention, which says investigation and prosecution should not be influenced by considerations of national economic interest.

Disclosure has presumably been ordered as a result of the new, more flexible approach to disclosure in judicial review following this case. But what I don’t understand is how the media know about the letter, given that documents disclosed in proceedings can be used for no other purpose. Perhaps the letter has been read in court, or permission given, but that seems unlikely since the hearing of the claim isn’t till February. I can’t find anything today on the websites of CAAT, the other claimant, the Corner House, or of their solicitors, Leigh Day, claiming responsibility for the leak to the press. Is it contempt of court?

Even if it is, it’ll be politically impossible for the Attorney General to do anything about it.