This week Foreign Secretary William Hague was accused in the courts of war crimes over Britain's alleged support for CIA drone attacks in northern Pakistan.
The claims were made by Pakistani national Noor Khan, whose father was killed in a drone strike on a meeting of the local jirga, an assembly of tribal elders, in Waziristan last year.
Malik Daud Khan was one of more than 40 people killed when a missile apparently fired from an unmanned drone hit the open-air meeting at Datta Khel on March 17 2011.
British intelligence services reportedly provide intelligence to support the CIA's drone-strike programme and it is this alleged support which has been challenged in the case brought by Mr Khan and backed by Leigh Day solicitors and legal action charity Reprieve.
The US claims that the lethal drone strikes target only "militants" but campaigners argue they have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians and had a severely damaging psychological impact on communities across the region.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has calculated that since 2004 US drone strikes have led to between 2,595-3,378 deaths, of which an estimated 474-885 were civilians and 176 were children.
In a written statement submitted to the court on Tuesday Mr Khan said: "The community is now plagued with fear. Drones hover over our skies day and night. All over NWA [North Waziristan Agency, Pakistan], but especially in Datta Khel, drone strikes continue to take place.
"The tribal elders are now afraid to gather together in jirgas as has been the custom for more than one century. We are scared that if we get together we might be targeted again.
"The mothers and wives plead with the men to not congregate together for fear that they will be targeted. They do not want to lose any more of their husbands, sons, brothers, and nephews."
Mr Khan has asked Mr Hague to spell out the government's position and challenged the legality of such intelligence sharing for strikes.
In particular it is argued that since neither Britain nor the US is at war with Pakistan, the use of drones is a grave breach of international law.
As the intelligence officers are British nationals they could be criminally liable under English domestic law, or their actions might constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity, it is argued.
Rosa Curling of Leigh Day & Co said: "This case is about the legality of the UK government providing 'locational intelligence' to the US for use in drone strikes in Pakistan.
"An off-the-record GCHQ source stated to a number of media outlets that GCHQ assistance was being provided to the US for use in drone attacks and this assistance was 'in accordance with the law.'
"We have advised our client that this is incorrect.
"The Secretary of State has misunderstood the law on this extremely important issue and a declaration from the court confirming the correct legal position is required as a matter of priority."
The Ministry of Defence this week announced that it will double the number of armed RAF drones operational in Afghanistan to 10, with the new aircraft to be operated remotely from Britain.
A spokeswoman confirmed that pilots based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire would fly the five recently bought unmanned aerial vehicles.
The hi-tech Reaper drones are primarily used to gather intelligence on enemy activity on the ground, the MoD said, but also carry 500lb bombs and Hellfire missiles for "precision strikes on insurgents."
Up to the end of September 2012 Britain had carried out over 300 drone strikes in Afghanistan.
In a damning report earlier this month charity Medact published evidence that in addition to the number of deaths and injuries of innocent civilians caused by their use, there is increasing evidence of the psychological damage to people living under the constant threat of drone attack - and to the drone operators themselves.
Considering drones from a public health perspective reveals the human cost of their use, the moral and ethical issues raised by "targeted killings" and their dubious legal status, the charity argues.
The MoD has repeatedly refused to give details about the circumstances in which Reaper drones launch their weapons and says the information is classified.
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