Anorak News | Courting Controversy

Courting Controversy

by | 23rd, December 2003

”’THERE have been occasions when people have been asked to leave because they have had too much to drink,” admits Doug Noon, the superintendent at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Scales of justice by day, turntables by night

”I think there is a dividing line between enjoying yourself when the amount of drink is too much and they become too loud and cause problems for other people.”

Well, no-one disapproves of a drunken judge more than us, but we can’t help feeling that Mr Noon is being a little harsh on the old boys. It is, after all, the festive season, is it not?

And after all, it’s not as if they’re rampaging about like a bunch of airline pilots on a stag night.

Turns out that Noon is not referring to milords at all, but to the unwelcome intrusion of modern economics upon the previously impenetrable world of the judiciary.

The Independent reports that the baroque courts in the Strand have become ”the hottest venue in town, bringing in £150,000 in desperately needed fees”.

Of course, £150,000 can buy quite a lot: a new wig, a decent-ish case of claret, to name but two things that may or may not be desperately needed.

Fortunately, the courts operate what the Indy calls a ”no riff-raff” policy.

All the same, these parties are a damned nuisance, and the paper says that security guards have had to eject drunken guests on at least three occasions.

The beaks are understandably put out by this unwelcome and disagreeable intrusion, but what can they do?

Lord Justice Mance, who is responsible for the Courts building, sets the scene starkly.

”At the end of the day,” he says, ”the Treasury must accept the fact that civil justice will never pay for itself. This is particularly true of the Royal Courts of Justice.

”It is no good muddling along from year to year and crisis to crisis. We need to achieve clearly defined long-term plans for the development of our court system.”

Phase one of this plan – a leisure complex complete with Garfunkels steak house and justice-themed amusement park is due to start in 2005, as soon as the main buildings can be demolished and prefab structures erected for use as court rooms.’

Posted: 23rd, December 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink