One of Temple and Farringdon Together‘s key election pledges was to press for new and better Court facilities in the Square Mile.
Today’s announcement has brought that ambition closer to reality.
The proposed new combined court will see a new, state-of-the-art, multi-purpose replacement court for the historic civil court, the Mayor’s and City of London County Court, and the City of London Magistrates’ Court.
Located in the Fleet Street area of the City, the court would create space for 18 courtrooms. The Court’s primary focus will be as a Crown Court hearing fraud, economic crime and cyber-crime cases, but it will also hear other criminal and civil cases, including the work of the City of the London Magistrates’ Court.
Temple and Farringdon Together’s Deputy Edward Lord, a member of the City’s Courts Sub-Committee and a Central London presiding magistrate said: “This is great news for the City and especially the legal practitioners in the Temple area, which will be right on the doorstep of this state of the art new facility.”
T&FT colleague and leading criminal silk, Oliver Sells QC CC, added: “Bringing major fraud cases to be heard in the heart of the Square Mile is the right thing to do. Chambers in the Temple and nearby have the expertise to deal with these complex and contentious matters.”
The City of London Corporation owns and provides three courts in the Square Mile: the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey), Mayor & City of London Court (county court), and the City of London Magistrates’ Court.
All three buildings are increasingly tired and in need of a radical overhaul if they are to remain fit for purpose in the twenty-first century and all three present significant access issues for disabled court users.
Temple and Farringdon Together, recognising the importance of these facilities to stakeholders in our Ward, welcome the Corporation’s decision with HM Courts & Tribunals Service to invest around £30 million in refurbishing the Old Bailey, bringing its infrastructure up to modern standards.
The same now needs to happen with the county court and magistrates’ court, which require either significant spending on their current sites or a proposal to move them individually or together to a new location, possibly close to the Old Bailey where some facilities might be shared. In any event, all three courts must be made fully inclusive to all who need to gain access to them.
Temple and Farringdon Together‘s Edward Lord, who sits as a Justice of the Peace at the City Magistrates’ Court and hearing appeals at the Old Bailey, commented:
“The City’s Courts are in a fairly dismal state and need a great deal of care and attention to bring them back up to the quality that the judiciary, advocates, staff, and other court users expect, especially of the nation’s premier criminal court.
We are delighted that the City is addressing some of the challenges at the Old Bailey and will be lobbying hard to see improvements at the other two courts, or possibly even a move to new state of the art premises.”