Human rights lawyers are not famous for their sense of humour. So it was something of a surprise to learn that the sour-faced solicitor Phil Shiner lists comedy as one of his hobbies.
For the past decade, Shiner has made a handsome living suing the British taxpayer — at the British taxpayers’ expense.
Shiner is head of the Birmingham-based Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) — not to be confused with the post-punk band Public Image Limited (PiL), put together by Johnny Rotten after the self-immolation of the Sex Pistols.
Rotten once starred in a movie called The Great Rock ’n’ Roll Swindle. If Shiner is ever immortalised on the silver screen it should be called The Great Human Rights Swindle.