London to get new ‘state-of-the-art’ £3oom court for fraud, cybercrime and economic crime cases.
The flagship 18-courtroom legal centre will also deal with business and property work as well as civil cases. It will replace the Mayor’s and City of London County Court, and City of London Magistrates’ Court, and will include a new City of London police station.
Partner Peter Binning commented:
“It is the first announcement of serious investment in the fabric of the criminal justice system for decades.
“It suggests that the City of London Corporation at least is keen to send a message to the City that commercial crime and in particular cybercrime will be dealt with seriously in the future. It says far less about the Government’s true commitment in this area and begs serious questions as to how this new court will be used if inadequate resources are devoted to the investigation and prosecution of serious and complex fraud. If ever there was a time for a real vote of confidence by ministers in the form of future investment in both the CPS and the SFO, that time is now.”
Parter David Corker, who spoke at CDR’s recent flagship Summer Business Crime Symposium, added:
“The purpose-built court, which will also deal with business and property disputes, economic crime and civil cases,”
“The section of the UK judiciary which deal with criminal litigation has resolutely opposed the notion that economic crime or white collar crime cases should be regarded as distinct from other crime cases. The attempt by the SFO in 2010 in the Innospec case to create such a distinction was severely criticised. This is why for example, when the subsequent DPA regime was crafted, enormous care was taken to ensure that this form of lenience was not extended to any individual alleged to have committed a crime.
“The impression that economic crime cases can be bundled together with these other categories is likely therefore to meet with judicial caution.
“This bundling is dangerous for another reason; it paves the way to proposing that juries are an unnecessary and wasteful encumbrance in a criminal trial when fraud is the issue. That a judge-alone or a judge with experts tribunal would make sense.
“The rule of law is essential to a peaceful and just society. If the wealthy or powerful come to be regarded by the public as being treated differently when they are alleged to have committed crimes of the utmost harm and severity, it may be undermined.”