City of London Corporation backs new Square Mile judicial centre

City of London Corporation backs new Square Mile judicial centre

The City of London Corporation has today (Monday 9 October) backed a new court to be built in the Square Mile, replacing all the City’s current court services, with the exception of the Old Bailey.

The proposed new combined court would 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 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 on fraud, economic crime and cyber-crime, but it will also hear other criminal and civil cases, including the work of the City of the London Magistrates’ Court.

The court’s close proximity to some of the world’s leading technology, financial and professional services firms in the Square Mile will enable the judiciary to be at the forefront of tackling criminal activity and resolving disputes. It would also benefit from its position near the Rolls Building, the Royal Courts of Justice, Old Bailey and Inns of Court.

The plans for the court, which are being developed in partnership with HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) and the judiciary, will help cement the City’s position as a preeminent legal cluster and the leading global financial centre. Employment in legal services currently accounts for 9.1% of the Square Miles’s workforce (44,000 jobs) and one in eight workers in the legal sector are based in the City of London.

This interconnectedness between financial and legal services is demonstrated by the fact that financial services firms makes up 17% of the total demand for legal services in the UK or £2.8bn. Legal firms’ demand for financial services amounts to £793m or 8% of its total input

The next steps will see the City Corporation commission a feasibility study to analyse the cost implications and identify possible funding sources. This is expected to complete in early 2018. The exact location of the court will be announced in due course. The City will also commission a study to quantify what the economics benefits would be to London as a legal services centre.

The new court would include current magistracy and civil/county court services. HMCTS are investing over £1bn to reform courts in England and Wales to deliver swifter justice that is modern, more accessible and better meets the needs of people and businesses.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said:

“Our legal system has been an example to the rest of the world. Playing host to some of the world’s leading regulators, financial services and tech firms, the City is a natural choice to house this modern judicial centre.

“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 City looks forward to working closely with the Ministry of Justice and HM Courts & Tribunals Service in the coming years in getting this ground breaking project off the ground.”

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 cyber-crime.

“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, HM Courts & Tribunals Service, said:

"The development of a state of the art court in the City of London will represent a major step forward in our wider programme of reform to deliver a modern justice system.

"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. HMCTS looks forward to working in partnership with the City of London Corporation to make these plans a reality."

Sir Ian Burnett, Lord Chief Justice, said:

“I’m delighted by the City’s announcement today, which underlines its commitment to delivering justice in the City.

“The new court’s primary focus will be on fraud, economic crime and cyber-crime, but it will also hear other criminal and civil cases, including the work of the City of the London Magistrates’ Court. The judiciary looks forward to working with the City and HMCTS to make this a reality.”

As part of an overarching six year project to digitise many of its services, HMCTS will use the new building to shift many of its high volume, paper based processes to digital channels.


Notes to editors

  1. About the City of London Corporation

 The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:  

  • We support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, makes grants of around £20 million annually to tackle disadvantage across London.
  • We also help look after key London heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, the Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important commons in London.
  • We also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies, all reflecting a long-term approach.

See for more details.