This clause seeks, as part of a new structure for providing court buildings in the City of London, to remove an obligation in statute requiring the City of London Corporation to provide county court capacity at its current location in the Mayor’s and City of London court. Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service and the City of London Corporation have reached an agreement on a scheme where the ageing Mayor’s and City of London court, and the City of London magistrates court in clause 44, will be replaced by a new, purpose-built 18-room courthouse on Fleet Street. The new courthouse will significantly improve the quality of court provision within the square mile and strengthen our justice system. The new court is scheduled to be operational in 2026; in the meantime, the existing courts will continue to operate and business will not finally transfer until the new court is fully operational. The existing duty to provide the Mayor’s and City of London court would be removed and replaced by obligations under a contractual lease arrangement. I hope that that reassures colleagues, particularly my right hon. Friend the Member for South Holland and The Deepings, that we are bringing forward new court rooms.
I used to attend Mayor’s and City quite often and, in previous years, the City of London magistrates court. They were extremely well appointed and rather luxurious by the standards of most of the courts of state. I hope that will be replicated in the new court.
I am happy to say these will be state-of-the-art courtrooms with very high eco ratings, which I am sure the hon. Gentleman will agree is extremely important. They will bring on stream new additional Crown court rooms, which is particularly important in the context of the backlog.