Legal Business

Not ‘looming’, the judiciary is already in crisis

If there was much to celebrate amid the continued rise of London as an international disputes centre at Legal Business‘ second Commercial Litigation Summit on 24 May, the cloud on the horizon was apparent: the mounting conviction that the UK judiciary is near crisis.

Growing administrative burdens, earlier retirements, cuts to judges’ pensions and court funding – not to mention far higher earnings on offer for commercial silks. Chairing our debate on the state of the judiciary, Sir Bernard Eder remarked: ’80-100-hour working weeks are nothing to commercial judges.’ Ashurst partner Ed Sparrow picked up the theme, highlighting terrible morale in the 2014 judicial attitudes survey – a report which the veteran litigator branded a ‘terrifying document’ for those concerned with the reputation of the London courts. Sparrow added that thanks to the loss of kudos for judges in austerity Britain: ‘Judges feel that they are treated like assets and I would say sweated like assets.’