Pollock’s record-length BCCI speech bettered by Stadlen’s 80-day rejoinder

As Day 167 of the Bank of Commerce & Credit Inter-national (BCCI) trial dawned last Thursday (3 March), w QC found himself in possession of a new record.

The Fountain Court silk who is lead counsel for the Bank of England in its defence of claims brought by the liquidators of BCCI has now been making his opening statement for 80 days.

That beats the 79-day record set in July 2004 by Gordon Pollock QC for the claimants, which was until now the longest opening statement in English legal history.

But although Stadlen has beaten Pollock’s record, he has still not concluded his statement, and the trial itself is likely to continue for some months.

Professor Gary Slapper of the Open University, who last year called for tighter management of courtroom submissions, said there was no surprise at the length of Stadlen’s opening and insisted that he was duty-bound to respond to Pollock in equal detail. But he added: “Outside of that case, nothing has happened. It’s a shame that there seems to be no sign of change coming generally.”

Meanwhile, it appears that court bundles in the case are now so vast that they are providing a physical barrier between the parties. The wall of files is so high that the liquidators’ team of Pollock, Matrix Chambers’ Clare Montgomery QC and Lovells are unable to see Stadlen and the bank’s solicitors Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.