Commercial Court plans lack firm foundations

He may know a lot about wallpaper, but former Lord Chancellor Derry Irvine is no engineer.But having recently resigned, at least Irvine will not have to deal with the possibility that the new Commercial Court, planned to be built on the site of the Queen’s Building in the Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ), could fall down.

The Commercial Court working party, comprising Mr Justice Tomlinson, Mr Justice Colman, seven solicitors from top City firms and two barristers, decided on the proposed site at a meeting with Lord Mayor Gavyn Arthur QC in April.

It has now emerged that the foundations under the Queen’s Building, which the working party wants to knock down and replace with a new Commercial Court, may not support the development.

This is because the building apparently sits on top of a set of boilers that service the RCJ complex.

“We now don’t know whether a larger building on that site could stand up,” a lawyer close to the project explained.