Ms Peirce, who is famous for her involvement with cases such as those of the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and the Tipton Three, is now working with relatives of some of the victims of the tragedy.

The Herald revealed yesterday that Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was among 270 people who died in the 1988 tragedy, and relatives of 10 other British victims were working with Ms Peirce to use human rights legislation to force the UK Government to allow a public inquiry.

Speaking to The Herald yesterday, Ms Peirce said she believed the relatives had been “cheated” by being denied access to the details of what happened.

“I have looked at the case and the transcripts and was simply appalled at the echoes of classic wrongful convictions – including the same methodology and same personnel in terms of forensic scientists,” she said. “I was quite shocked at how much of the case seemed blatantly wrong.

“It blazes out that this is a wrongful conviction. That is not to say that addressing the conviction and addressing the need for an inquiry are an exact equation, but if this is the basis upon which he was convicted, in my view the relatives have never had the true picture placed before them.

“They have not had their right under international law, where there has been an unnatural death, to have a proper, independent inquiry into what happened. It seems to me they have been cheated.

“In other cases where evidence has been questioned or demolished, it has been deemed appropriate to have far-reaching public inquiries. At the very least that is what the relatives of the victims of Lockerbie deserve.”

In October Dr Swire and 10 other relatives delivered a letter to Gordon Brown calling for a full public inquiry but they have had no response.

Earlier this year the Prime Minister told the victims’ families it would be “inappropriate” to order an investigation, and that all that was needed was a Scotland-based inquiry. However, the Scottish Government has already said it does not have the powers to examine the international dimensions of the case.

Lawyers say that under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which pertains to the right to life, there is also the right to an inquiry into how that life was taken.

Ms Peirce added: “If there was one unnatural death, particularly where the state may have had a role in adequately investigating the circumstances, they are responsible for correcting that and putting in place an adequate inquiry. The Fatal Accident Inquiry was completely circumscribed in what it felt it was allowed to look at. Its remit was very narrow because of the ongoing criminal investigation.”

Some of the British relatives believe a public inquiry offers the last realistic hope of finding out how and why their loved ones perished.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the bombing, was released on compassionate grounds four months ago because he is suffering from terminal cancer.

Fearless campaigner for human rights

REPRESENTING the British relatives of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing is the latest in a series of high-profile cases for civil rights solicitor Gareth Peirce.

In a career spanning more than 30 years, she has appeared for the Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six and the families of the victims of the Marchioness river boat disaster.

More recently she represented the family of Jean Charles de Menezes and UK detainees in Guantanamo Bay.

She attended Cheltenham Ladies’ College and studied at Oxford University before working in the USA. Returning to the UK, she took a postgraduate course at the London School of Economics and was recruited by the law firm run by Benedict Birnberg.

Birnberg said Peirce “transformed the criminal justice scene in this country almost single-handedly”.

The case of the Guildford Four was given the Hollywood treatment in the film, In The Name Of The Father, in which Peirce was played by Emma Thompson.