The City of London Corporation, HM Courts and Tribunal Services (HMCTS), the Ministry of Justice and senior judges are backing the plan to build a specialist court which will principally focus on the rising “new age” crimes of cybercrime and financial fraud in all its variations. The court will also hear criminal and civil cases that are, at present, heard at the various City of London courts.
The new major complex will be built close to Fleet Street and comprise of 18 court rooms and will represent a significant investment costing many millions to create. The project will achieve a number of objectives however, initially it is hoped that it will strengthen the City of London’s reputation and long history as both a legal and financial centre of excellence after Brexit. It will focus legal expertise in a concentrated area of London incorporating The Royal Courts of Justice, the Rolls Building (the vast majority of commercial case are heard there), the Central Criminal Court (The Old Bailey) and the Inns of Court. In addition it is the intention to bring the justice system into the modern age by use of digital services the HMCTS intends to channel high volume cases into a digital system in an attempt to move away from a paper based system making the new court part of the planned £1billion renovation and digitalisation of the legal system.
A significant number of the workforce in the City of London are in legal services, amounting to around 44,000 jobs. The uncertain waters which will inevitably follow in the wake of Brexit compels the government to do all it can to maintain London’s global status as a leading edge financial and legal centre.
Inevitably, not everyone will be happy, as outside the capital a considerable number of historic courts have shut their doors in the drive for centralised efficiency. The necessity of retaining and enhancing London’s reputation will supersede the desire to cling to heritage sites.
With leading legal players commenting thus in the Guardian today:
Catherine McGuinness, head of policy at the City of London Corporation, said: “Our legal system has been an example to the rest of the world.
“This proposal will make sure London continues to set the highest legal standards domestically and internationally. Our rule of law is one of the many reasons why London is the number one financial centre in the world and this new court will add to our many existing strengths.”
The justice minister Dominic Raab said: “This new flagship court will build on UK legal services’ unique comparative advantage by leading the drive to tackle fraud and crack down on cybercrime. By reinforcing the City’s world-leading reputation as the number one place to do business and resolve disputes, it’s a terrific advert for post-Brexit Britain.”
Susan Acland-Hood, chief executive of HMCTS, said: “The court will be fully equipped with 21st-century technology, and will be a world-leading centre for economic and cybercrime, as well as working across other activity and jurisdictions.”
The lord chief justice, Sir Ian Burnett, said: “I’m delighted by the City’s announcement today, which underlines its commitment to delivering justice in the City ... The judiciary looks forward to working with the City and HMCTS to make this a reality.”
Giambrone welcomes any innovations that enhance and improve the possibility of successfully pursuing financial fraud in the courts.
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