Following a disclosure by the Inquiry on 30 June 2010, most of the evidence relating to the internal government advice on the legality of the war has been published but that there remains some evidence that has not been published. This page includes evidence published by the Inquiry and evidence published or leaked previously.
Hearing transcripts and witness statements
Testimony of Lord Goldsmith, former attorney general
Testimony of Michael Wood, Foreign Office legal adviser
Statement of Michael Wood, Foreign Office legal adviser, January 2010
Statement of Michael Wood, Foreign Office legal adviser, March 2011
Testimony of David Brummell, legal secretary to the law officers
Statement of David Brummell, legal secretary to the law officers
Testimony of Elizabeth Wilmshurst Foreign Office deputy legal adviser
Statement of Elizabeth Wilmshurst Foreign Office deputy legal adviser
Testimony of Ian Macleod, Legal Counsellor to the UK Mission to the UN
Statement of Ian Macleod, Legal Counsellor to the UK Mission to the UN
To date a number of pieces of legal advice on the legality of UK involvement in the proposed invasion have been published and/or leaked.
March 2002 legal background paper In early 2002 legal advice from the Foreign Office made clear that a war whose primary objective was regime change would not be legal.
Michael Wood letter to PS 26 March 2002 re: Iraq
Letter from Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith QC to Rt Hon. Geoffrey Hoon – 28 March 2002
Letter from Rt Hon. Geoffrey Hoon to Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith QC – 14 April 2002
Downing Street memo The memo, a minute of a meeting on 23 July 2002, quotes attorney general Lord Goldsmith as saying “that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action.”
Goldsmith note to Blair 30 July 2002
Extract about a meeting between Jack Straw and Lord Goldsmith 23 September 2002, from note from PS/Straw to Michael Wood 24 September 2002
Note from Michael Wood to PS/Jack Straw 4 October 2002 re: FAC Iraq: International law
Note from PS/Jack Straw to Michael Wood 15 October 2002 re: Iraq
Memo from Michael Wood to PS/Jack Straw, 15 October 2002
Memo from Michael Wood to Edward Chaplin with handwritten note from Chaplin to PS/Jack Straw, 17 October 2002
Note made by attorney general’s office of Goldsmith telephone conversation with Straw 18 October 2002
Note made by Foreign Office of Goldsmith telephone conversation with Straw 18 October 2002
Note made by attorney general’s office of Goldsmith telephone conversation with Jonathan Powell on 11 November 2002
Note from Michael Wood to Catherine Adams, Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers 9 December 2002
Note of meeting at 10 Downing Street 19 December 2002
Goldsmith’s draft advice 14 January 2003
Note from Michael Wood to PS/Jack Straw 24 January 2003
Note from Jack Straw to Michael Wood 29 January 2003
Goldsmith note to Blair 30 January 2003
Letter from Goldsmith to Straw 3 February 2003
Letter from Jack Straw to Lord Goldsmith 6 February 2003
Goldsmith draft advice 12 February 2003
Letter from Jack Straw to Lord Goldsmith 20 February 2003 (replying to note from 3 February 2003)
Relevant extract from letter from Sir Kevin Tebbit to Sir Andrew Turnbull 5 March 2003
Attorney General’s (long) advice 7 March 2003.
Government explanation of events from 7-17 March 2003. In 2006, in response to a freedom of information request, the government also published a chronological account of the events that took place between the two pieces of advice, but not the documents on which the account was based. Documents published by the Inquiry, set out below, have now shown this account both to be incomplete and to included events that did not happen.
Rycroft letter re: PM meeting with DPM, Defence Secretary, AG and CDS on 11 March 2003 (with redaction)
13 March 2003 Goldsmith diary entry
13 March Brummell note of conversation with Goldsmith
14 March 2003 letter from Brummell to Hemming
Note of Goldsmith/Straw meeting on 13 March dated 17 March. At this meeting Goldsmith told Straw that he thought he may need to tell the Cabinet that “the legal issues were finely balanced” but Straw dissuaded him from doing so.
Attorney General’s revised (short) advice 17 March 2003 Advice from Goldsmith stating unequivocally that the war would be legal was published as a written parliamentary answer on 17 March 2003. This was supplemented by a memorandum of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with the same date.
Elizabeth Wilmshurst early retirement request 18 March 2003
If you have any of these documents, please let us know.
Intelligence briefings to Goldsmith
According to the Butler Review: “The Attorney General was briefed on relevant intelligence issues in September 2002 and February 2003.”
Submissions from international lawyers
In June 2010 the Inquiry issued an open invitation to international lawyers to give their analysis of the arguments relied upon by the UK Government as the legal basis for the military intervention in Iraq. An extended deadline expired on 13 September but the Inquiry did not publish the submissions, despite having reserved the right to do so. A number of the submissions were subsequently put online by the Guardian and the Digest.
Submission from Philippe Sands QC
Submission from Dapo Akande, Marko Milanovic and others
Submission from Ralph Zacklin
Submission from Colin Warbrick
Submission from Alexander Orakhelashvili
Submission from Solicitors’ International Human Rights Group
Submission from Melinda Janki
Submission by Lionel Blackman
Submission by Nigel D White
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