If the courts were privatised, as some suggested they could be, the taxpayer would save £1bn a year in staff and running costs.
Projects like the £300m Rolls Building could pay for themselves with wealthy litigants such as Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich paying above the odds to have their cases heard by London’s top line judiciary. The little matter of a £9.5m loss caused by the closure of the Electronic Working System little more than a year after the court opened would be sucked up by a corporate owner, not us the taxpayer.
The MoJ may be denying privatisation plans for the time being but any tinkering by the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling will raise questions and eyebrows across the profession.
Many lawyers believe justice is already under attack by way of mammoth legal aid reforms, what would the privatisation of our court system means for those on lower incomes?
Many are already finding themselves locked out of justice because of cuts to the legal aid budget and the end of the no-win no-fee system (Lord Justice Jackson has just been appointed to hear appeals concerning his reforms) and now the prospect of taking the courts away from the independent HM Courts and Tribunal Service.
Surely this isn’t what former Justice Secretary Ken Clarke meant when he talked about making London the litigation capital of the world?
Elsewhere in litigation:
- Soho’s sex shops defied the might of Westminster City Council in the courts – and won.
- Read about how and why former Travers Smith trainee Katie Tantum decided to launch a pregnancy discrimination case against the firm
- And find out who has been appointed to the High Court bench this week