Her Majesty’s Courts Service (HMCS) is to take more space in the Rolls Building to create London’s new Business Court after initially underestimating the amount of space needed.
It has acquired the fifth floor of the building, which will be shared by the Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ) and the Tribunals Service.
High Court director Stephen Fash, who is the senior officer responsible for the project, said the space was needed due to the increase in work passing through the courts.
“Our provisions are now more than prescribed under the court planning guidelines,” said Fash. “So we have the ability to expand if – though I’m not saying it is the case – in the future there’s a change in legislation to allow for more judges.”
David Greene, the president of the London Solicitors Litigation ;Association, welcomed the move, but added that it was overdue.
“They [HMCS] had initially miscalculated the space they needed and that led to substantial debate, particularly over the Chancery Division,” said Greene. “There were concerns that the Chancery Division would have to be split up, and that would have been extremely unsatisfactory.”
As part of the shake-up, HMCS is also proposing that low-value personal insolvency work, currently with the Chancery Division, should be redesignated to the County Court jurisdiction, with four bankruptcy registrars being based in the Rolls Building.
In addition, the extra space will provide facilities for the Chancery Division, the Admiralty Court, the Commercial Court and the Technology and Construction Court. Overall the building will offer 31 courtrooms, including three supercourts, plus 11 hearing rooms, 43 judicial chambers, 54 consultation rooms and staff accommodation.