Govt eyes Supreme Court site

Somerset House has emerged as the Government’s favoured site for the new Supreme Court, with the Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court and the old Prudential building in Holborn also under consideration.

Sources close to King’s College London, which owns part of Somerset House, told The Lawyer that the college has been made aware by government officials of its interest in taking over Somerset House.

Somerset House has been home to the Inland Revenue (IR) since 1873, but last week’s Budget stated that the IR is to be merged with Customs & Excise, which could provide an excuse to relocate it.

Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court in Westminster is likely to be the second choice if the IR refuses to move out, as the Prudential building is probably too large.

The project suffered a setback this month when peers voted to send Lord Falconer’s Constitutional Reform Bill, which introduced a framework to set up the court, to a select committee. Falconer has set aside a budget of £6m-£32m for a new Supreme Court, and has not ruled out building it from scratch.

A Department for Constitutional Affairs spokesman declined to comment.