Why this story?
The UAE is home to the highest number of British lawyers outside of the UK and Hong Kong. It is a country with a questionable human rights record – where powerful clients are represented by the UK legal establishment, widely regarded as one of the most respected in the world. For British lawyers, the incentives are high: plentiful work and lucrative contracts. But at what cost?
Neil Gerrard is a British lawyer who, like thousands of other UK lawyers, went to work for the ruler of the northernmost emirate in the UAE. But his alleged actions have now brought the whole industry under scrutiny. He is currently facing multiple cases in the UK courts to answer accusations of wrongdoing stretching from fraud, corruption and hacking right through to complicity to torture, abduction and inhumane treatment. This is the story of one of those cases, what it reveals about London’s legal establishment – and just how far it is willing to go for its clients.