BCCI saga forces judges to reform trial handling

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, has scheduled a summit meeting with commercial judges to plan groundbreaking reform of case management procedures, following the record length of the BCCI trial.

Phillips believes lessons need to be learnt from cases such as BCCI, which sensationally collapsed last November, and he will now meet the judges after the courts’ summer break.

At a seminar of judges and leading litigators last week (24 July), Phillips said: “I hope to put in place a procedure whereby any case that runs for a considerable length of time, whether it’s in the civil or the criminal jurisdiction, will be reviewed at the end of it to see what lessons can be learnt.” Phillips’ stance was supported by his predecessor as Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, who chaired the seminar.

Woolf was consulted by the BCCI trial judge Mr Justice Tomlinson over whether the case should continue midway through Gordon Pollock QC’s 80-day opening statement. However, the judges concluded that, in Tomlinson J’s words, “nothing could usefully be done” to stop the case.