Newcastle firms applaud Court of Appeal visit

Lawyers in the North East have applauded the idea for this week's visit of the Lord Chief Justice and the Court of Appeal to Newcastle.

And they say they would like to see a regional Court of Appeal made a permanent fixture.

The Appeal Court's criminal division is sitting for the first time ever in Newcastle when Lord Bingham makes the second of his regional visits. He will be sitting with Mrs Justice Smith and Mr Justice Hooper on Friday.

Before that, he will be sitting in the Crown Courts at Teeside and Newcastle.

Lord Bingham made a similar trip to Liverpool last year, which was greeted with enthusiasm by local practitioners.

Nick Chibnell, of the Lord Chief Justice's Office, said: 'The people in Liverpool were pleased with the experiment. The purpose is to get the Lord Chief Justice around the country.'

'It gives him the opportunity to meet the judiciary and the Bar and to see what their problems are at the coal face.'

Beatrice Bolton, a barrister at Broad Chare Chambers in Newcastle said of the visit: 'I think it's a good idea.'

She added: 'I would think it's entirely appropriate for an appeal court to sit in Newcastle once or twice a year.'

Chris McCurley, head of the criminal department at Newcastle firm David Gray & Co, said the visit was good news 'from a convenience point of view'.

Last year Newcastle received a fillip when a mercantile court was established in the city for the first time headed by former Clifford Chance partner, Christopher McGonigal.