Gerry Adams' successful appeal at the UK Supreme Court to overturn his convictions for attempting to escape from Long Kesh in the 1970s could "open the door" to a flood of compensation claims, former UK Attorney General Geoffrey Cox said yesterday.
Mr Cox spoke out as he endorsed a new report from think-tank Policy Exchange, titled Mishandling The Law.
"It exposes the government to the risk - or certainty - of numerous legal proceedings for false imprisonment, to which it will have no defence," the legal expert told the Mail on Sunday.
"This consequence of Gerry Adams' victory before the Supreme Court may itself warrant legislative intervention, as the authors argue, but more troubling still are the judgement's wider implications for how government is carried out."
The former Attorney General's warning yesterday has already been somewhat overtaken by events.
Fifty former internees, both republican and loyalist - are preparing to sue the British state for false imprisonment.
Their legal actions were sparked by the Supreme Court decision in Mr Adams' case, according to solicitor Kevin Winters, of KRW Law,
Mr Adams had been interned without trial, a policy introduced as violence raged in Northern Ireland.
The former Sinn Fein president's detention and convictions for attempting to escape from lawful custody were held to be unlawful, as the order for his detention was not considered personally by the then Secretary of State, William Whitelaw.
Nearly 2,000 people were interned over a four-year period in the early 1970s.