This is the 7 star Rolls Building in London which houses one of the classiest courts in the world. It is the home of our Commercial Court dealing with cases involving serious money.
Today the court has seen the judgment in the most valuable case in legal history. This was the battle of the Russian billionaires between Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich and his former partner Boris Berezovski. Berezovski was seeking damages of over £3b. They were represented by two of the most expensive QCs in the land. Abramovich’s silk Jonathan Sumption has been elevated to the Supreme Court since the case was heard and his fee was over £1m.
For those who are interested, Mr. Berezovski lost so that should leave Chelsea with plenty to spend before the transfer window closes tonight.
But all of this raises a wider issue. This wonderful court building costs £300m –
In other places around the country we have seen local courts closed in order to save money. So ordinary people have to travel to other cities in order to have their cases heard. As we all know Legal Aid is being withdrawn for most types of work as from next April. We have already talked this week about hard pressed legal aid lawyers being forced to work on a Sunday. Interestingly the savings from the Legal Aid cuts are about £350m. So this magnificent court building has cost the same as the entire Legal Aid budget cuts!
It really does say something about our priorities.
Local people see courts closed and their access to legal advice is cut.
Bit if you are a billionaire we will lay on a Rolls Royce service!