A new flagship court specifically designed to tackle cybercrime, fraud and economic crime will reinforce the UK’s reputation as a world-leading legal centre, the Lord Chancellor has announced.
Developed in partnership with the City of London Corporation and the judiciary, the cutting edge, purpose-built court – which will also deal with business and property work as well as civil cases – will hold 18 modern courtrooms and replace the ageing civil court, Mayor’s and City of London County Court and City of London Magistrates’ Court. Also included in the court will be a new City of London police station.
A feasibility study to look at whether a court might be built was announced last October, and now the plan has been given the go-ahead. Speaking to members of the senior judiciary at the Mansion House on July 4, the Lord Chancellor, alongside the Lord Mayor, Charles Bowman, and Lord Chief Justice, revealed that the court will be built on the site of Fleetbank House in the heart of the City.
English law is currently used in 40% of all global corporate arbitrations and more than 200 foreign law firms currently have offices in the UK. Revenue generated by legal activities in the UK was worth £31.5bn in 2016 and the top 100 UK law firms generated more than £22bn in 2016/17. Built next to some of the world’s leading legal, business and technology firms in the heart of legal London, this court will be a sign to the world that the UK remains the global centre for law and finance.
Lord Chancellor David Gauke said: “The flag of English law is flown in countries across the globe and London already leads the way as the best place to do business and resolve disputes.
“This state-of-the-art court is a further message to the world that Britain both prizes business and stands ready to deal with the changing nature of 21st century crime.
“The City of London is the world’s financial centre, hosting an unparalleled cluster of financial, professional, and business services. The City’s legal services offer, clustered around the Temples in the West of the Square Mile, which plays host to more than 17,000 solicitors, is a vibrant centre for international law firms serving their clients across the world.”
Commenting on the announcement Policy Chairman of the City of London Corporation Catherine McGuinness said:
“This is a hugely significant step in this project that will give the Square Mile its second iconic courthouse after the Old Bailey.
“Our rule of law is one of the many reasons why London is the world’s most innovative, dynamic, and international financial centre, and this new court will add to our many existing strengths.
“I’m particularly pleased that this court will have a focus on the legal issues of the future, such as fraud, economic crime, and cyber-crime.
“Fleet Street may historically be known for hosting newspapers, but I believe with this iconic project it will be seen as a world leading centre for legal services and justice for decades to come.”
The move has also been welcomed by industry specialists.
Commenting on the decision, Dan Pitman, Senior Solutions Architect at Alert Logic, said: “This is certainly a positive move. Cybercrime suffers from being perceptually segregated from traditional crime from the viewpoint of the public and victims often don’t even contact legal and law enforcement organisations when affected. “Specifically calling out Fleetbank House’s new role in that space will drive home that cybercrime is just that – crime.”