Peter Gibson

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Sir Peter Gibson
Lord Justice of Appeal
In office
MonarchElizabeth II
Justice of the High Court
Personal details
Born (1934-06-10) 10 June 1934 (age 89)
Alma materWorcester College, Oxford

Sir Peter Leslie Gibson (born 10 June 1934),[1] is a former British barrister and Lord Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, and was a judge of the Qatar International Court. Gibson has also served, between April 2006 and December 2010, as the UK's Intelligence Services Commissioner, and was appointed by David Cameron in July 2010 to lead the Detainee Inquiry. He is an honorary member of the Society of Legal Scholars.[2]

Education and career[edit]

Gibson was educated at Malvern College and graduated from Worcester College, Oxford of which he was an open scholar and he is an Honorary Fellow.[citation needed][3]

He was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple in 1960 and was appointed the Chancery Treasury Counsel in 1972. He joined ad eundem Lincoln’s Inn of which he became a Bencher in 1975 and the Treasurer in 1996.[3] He was knighted and appointed to the High Court of Justice in 1981, serving in the Chancery Division.[citation needed] He served as a judge of the Employment Appeal Tribunal from 1984 to 1986, and as Chairman of the Law Commission for England and Wales from 1990 to 1992. From 1993 until 2005, he was a Lord Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales.[4] In 2006, he was made Intelligence Services Commissioner by Tony Blair, with his first term expiring in 2009.[5] In 2008 he was appointed by Gordon Brown to review the 1998 Omagh bombing intelligence and reported to the Prime Minister on it.[6] On 1 April 2009, Gordon Brown appointed him ISC for a second term,[7] though Gibson stepped down early, at the end of 2010, in order to chair an inquiry into "whether the UK was implicated in the improper treatment of detainees held by other countries that may have occurred after 9/11".[8] He was succeeded, on 1 January 2011, as ISC by Sir Mark Waller.[9]

Gibson was a judge of the Qatar International Court from 2006 to 2014.[4]


Detainee Inquiry[edit]

On 6 July 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Gibson to head the Detainee Inquiry, which would examine whether and if so to what extent the British Government and its agencies were involved in improper treatment of detainees held by other countries in counter-terrorism operations overseas or were aware of improper treatment of detainees in operations in which the UK was involved. 

In his letter dated 6 July 2010 to Gibson Cameron set out the parameters of the Inquiry. They included that the Inquiry was to be non-statutory, that it was of fundamental importance to protect national security and not to undermine international intelligence sharing undertakings and that there were limitations on what could be reviewed in public. Cameron said that the Inquiry could not start until the conclusion of police investigations into matters related to what the Inquiry was to examine but he indicated that the Inquiry could read into relevant material in the preparatory phase of the Inquiry.[10]

Human and civil rights and other advocacy groups criticised the Inquiry, alleging that it lacked independence, impartiality, openness that it failed to meet what it called the UK's stringent obligations under domestic and international law to comprehensively investigate claims of torture.[11] Some NGOs considered boycotting the inquiry.[12]

In 2012, the Government decided that because of the further indefinite delay before the Inquiry could commence it would bring the Inquiry’s role to an end, but it requested the Inquiry to report to the Prime Minister on the work it had done and to indicate what issues it might have wanted to examine. On 27 June 2012, the Inquiry delivered to the Prime Minister its full report and an open version of that report. That version removed those parts of the full report which for national security reasons it considered should not be made public. In the report the Inquiry referred to the 20,000 documents which it had received and collated and set out 27 issues for further examination.[13][14][15]

After a much-criticised delay,[16][17] the report of the Inquiry was published by the Government on 19 December 2013. It was announced that the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee would inquire into the issues identified by the Detainee Inquiry and report. [13]


Coat of arms of Peter Gibson
Fortem Posce Animum [18]


  1. ^ "Birthday's today". The Telegraph. 10 June 2013. Archived from the original on 9 June 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2014. Sir Peter Gibson, a former Lord Justice of Appeal, 79
  2. ^ "Honorary Members". The Society of Legal Scholars. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Gibson, Rt Hon. Sir Peter (Leslie), (born 10 June 1934), a Lord Justice of Appeal, 1993–2005; Intelligence Services Commissioner, 2006–10". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u17060. Retrieved 3 February 2024.
  4. ^ a b "Biographies of the Justices". Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre. Archived from the original on 9 May 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Intelligence Services Commissioner". Lords Hansard, Session 2005–06, Volume 680, Part 122, Column WS18. Retrieved 9 June 2013. The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): I am pleased to announce that my right honourable friend the Prime Minister (Tony Blair) has approved the appointment of the right honourable Sir Peter Gibson as Intelligence Services Commissioner under the terms of Section 59 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. The appointment will commence on 1 April 2006 and will run for three years.
  6. ^ Peter, Gibson (16 January 2009). "Review of Intercepted Intelligence In Relation To The Omagh Bombing of 15th August 1998" (PDF).
  7. ^ "Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioner". Commons Hansard, Session 2008–09, Volume 490, Part 59, Column 80WS. Retrieved 9 June 2013. The Prime Minister (Mr. Gordon Brown): In accordance with Section 59 of the same Act, I have also re-appointed the right hon. Sir Peter Gibson as Intelligence Services Commissioner from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2012.
  8. ^ "Treatment of Detainees". Commons Hansard, Session 2010–12, Volume 513, Part 27, Column 176. Retrieved 9 June 2013. "The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron): While there is no evidence that any British officer was directly engaged in torture in the aftermath of 9/11, there are questions over the degree to which British officers were working with foreign security services who were treating detainees in ways they should not have done. [...] So we will have a single, authoritative examination of all these issues. [...] It will look at whether Britain was implicated in the improper treatment of detainees, held by other countries, that may have occurred in the aftermath of 9/11. [...] I have asked the right hon. Sir Peter Gibson [...] to lead the inquiry." The other members of the three-member inquiry team were Janet Paraskeva and Peter Riddell.
  9. ^ "Intelligence Services Commissioner". Commons Hansard, Session 2010–12, Volume 521, Part 102, Column 54WS. Retrieved 9 June 2013. The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron): In accordance with section 59 of the regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, I have agreed to appoint the right hon. Sir Mark Waller as Intelligence Services Commissioner from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2013.
  10. ^ "Letter from David Cameron to Sir Peter Gibson" (PDF).
  11. ^ "The Report of The Detainee Inquiry, December 2013 para. 1.19" (PDF).
  12. ^ Ian Cobain (23 February 2011). "Torture inquiry is legally flawed, say rights groups as NGOs ponder boycott". Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Oral statement on the Detainee Inquiry by Kenneth Clarke, QC" (PDF).
  14. ^ "The Report of the Detainee Inquiry, December 2013 paras 1.1, 1.2, 1.7,1.8,1.9,1.23" (PDF).
  15. ^ "Press Release on The Detainee Inquiry by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, 19 December 2013" (PDF).
  16. ^ Stephanie Nebehay (31 May 2013). "Britain must investigate torture in Iraq, Afghanistan: U.N". Reuters. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  17. ^ Kate Allen (8 June 2013). "Torture: if David Cameron still cares about Britain's reputation, he must act". Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  18. ^ "Lincoln's Inn Great Hall, Ed56 Gibson, P". Baz Manning. 13 July 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2020.

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