New Lord Chief Justice ‘delighted’ by news, that will see number of existing courts shut down
It’s looking increasingly likely a host of City of London courts will be shut down and replaced by a multi-million pound megacourt, located right by the Inns and the Rolls Building.
The proposals would see the closure of the City of London magistrates and county courts located on Queen Victoria Street — a main road near Bank station that’s also home to the Church of Scientology of London and the Salvation Army’s headquarters. Court closures have become far from uncommon in recent history, the Ministry of Justice just last year announcing 86 courts would be shutting their doors.
However, with these latest planned closures come the proposed creation of a new court in the Fleet Street area (about 15 minutes’ walk from Queen Victoria Street). Fleet Street is close to the Royal Courts of Justice and the Inns of Court.
Details on the new court are thin on the ground, but the plan is it will include current magistrates and civil court services. Its speciality will be fraud, economic crime and cyber crime — this demonstrating the interconnectedness of financial and legal services. Both services have been hot topics in the Brexit debate. It’s also understood the new court will have 18 courtrooms. By comparison, the Rolls Building has 31.
The latest big news is that the City of London Corporation has now backed the proposals. Next steps include the completion of a feasibility study to analyse cost implications, though it’s already being anticipated the project will cost tens, maybe hundreds, of millions of pounds.
Despite this, the news has been well-received by both the judiciary and the government. Representing the former, new 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.
Conservative Party politician and Justice Minister Dominic Raab spoke highly of the plans too. He believes the court reinforces “the City’s world-leading reputation as the number one place to do business and resolve disputes”, and is “a terrific advert for post-Brexit Britain”.
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