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UK Iraq war legal advice disclosure called inadequate

[JURIST] In the wake of Thursday's release [JURIST report] by UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith [official profile] of a disclosure statement [text] outlining his actions in rendering advice on the legality of the Iraq war to the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair in the days before invasion, government critics and media have called for further action, describing the statement as inadequate. Labour Party MP Clare Short [BBC profile], a former Minister for International Development who resigned from the Cabinet in protest over the war and has since become a thorn in the government's side, has urged a "high-level judicial or parliamentary inquiry" and the release of e-mails showing how policy developed, which she suggested would show what kind of pressure was put on the Attorney General to find that the war was legal. The Independent newspaper which initially brought the complaint under the UK Freedom of Information Act [text] which led to the release meanwhile said Friday that the facts set out in the disclosure statement "fail to satisfy The Independent's request for all documents, e-mails, memos and minutes relating to the formulation of the Attorney General's advice" and that it would be appealing the order [PDF] of Information Commissioner Richard Thomas to the Information Tribunal [official website].

Goldsmith said in the disclosure statement that after expressing some reservations about the legality of the pending war against Iraq in an initial March 7, 2003 memorandum text] [text] he backed the use of force [text] in Parliament on March 17, 2003 "after further reflection, having particular regard to...discussions with...representatives of the US Administration." The Independent has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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