9 October 2017
Britain is to establish a new court for economic fraud and cybercrime cases in London’s City district, which is home to leading technology, financial and professional service corporations.
The proposed new combined court, which will also hear other criminal and civil cases, would see a replacement court for the historic civil court, City of London County Court and Magistrates’ Court.
Authorities envisage the proposals will help cement the City’s position as “a preeminent” legal cluster and the leading global financial centre.
The development will “build on the UK legal services’ unique comparative advantage, by leading the drive to tackle fraud and crack down on cyber-crime,” said Justice Minister Dominic Raab.
“By reinforcing the City’s world-leading reputation as the number one place to do business and resolve disputes, it’s a terrific advert for post-Brexit Britain.”
City of London Corporation, which provides local government and policing services for London’s financial hub, welcomed the proposals.
Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said: “Playing host to some of the world’s leading regulators, financial services and tech firms, the City is a natural choice to house this modern judicial centre.”
London, like most leading economic hubs, is challenged with tackling financial fraud and cybercrime.
Identity theft has reached epidemic levels in the UK, with incidents of this type of fraud running at almost 500 a day, according to the latest figures from fraud prevention organisation Cifas.
Fraud is the single, largest crime type and “therefore we welcome plans to launch this new fraud, economic and cybercrime focussed court in 2018,” said Cifas’ Simon Fell in an emailed statement.
“While we support this move, the courts can only prosecute those that have been arrested, for that reason response from law enforcement needs to be commensurate with the scale of the problem, otherwise you risk losing the public’s trust.”
In recent years, British enforcement agencies have stepped up partnerships with the banking sector to jointly combat money laundering and fraud, however observers say more needs to be done.
– Irene Madongo