This week the City of London has unveiled plans for a new court to open within walking distance of the Royal Courts of Justice, the Rolls Building and the Old Bailey. The court is designed to help tackle the rise of fraud and cybercrime which are having a significant impact on the finance and banking community and will replace existing civil courts and the City of London magistrates’ court on Queen Victoria Street.
The proposed 18 courts will provide a focus on fraud, economic crime and cybercrime – as well as hearing various other criminal and civil cases.
This focus of the proposed new court is a sign of the times– cybercrime has become one of the biggest threats to business. Last year, the government estimated two thirds of large UK businesses had been victim of a cyber breach or attack and it seems hardly a day goes by without a high-profile company in the press succumbing to cyber criminals.
Specifically, for financial services companies, since June last year there has been a significant rise in the number of online offences reported including bank account fraud (2,256,000), non-investment fraud (1,028,000) and computer virus (1,340,000). There’s no escaping this is a big threat and a specialist court, with expert professionals focused on these cases, would provide comfort for businesses worried about defending their information, data and security – especially when, by its nature, cybercrime is complex and hard to identify, with many cases crossing international borders.
Moreover, these plans prove once again that London is an innovative legal centre and with Brexit, it’s more important than ever to highlight the UK’s reputation as a country where the banking and finance sector is heavily supported by a world-class legal system and top specialist judiciary.
Given the recent attempts by other European cities to take London’s crown as a financial centre (Paris and Frankfurt for instance), it is imperative for our capital to be seen to be in the forefront of the battle against the global cybercrime threat facing businesses.
In terms of next steps, the City Corporation is looking at the cost implications - a feasibility study is expected to be completed early next year.
Remaining innovative and listening to companies’ needs is essential for London to retain its crown and remain an attractive place to do business in post-Brexit Britain. This new court should be welcomed as a step in the right direction.