Lord Chancellor will review the cost and efficiency of Judges Lodgings

by Steve Wedd

‘The mansions, penthouse flats and historic residences used by the judiciary when at trials away from home are to be reviewed by the new justice secretary.’

We know what will happen.

2016 – £5 million worth of real estate will be sold off to hotel developers for £2 million.

2017 – Public Accounts Committee declares it a disgraceful waste of public money.  State assets sold for a pittance.

2017 – Judges on circuit will then be required to live in hotels near the Crown Court. The cost of the hotels and the special security needed for the judges temporary accommodation will amount to more than the maintenance costs of the original freeholds.

2017 – One High Court judge dealing with a sensitive or terrorism case will be doorstepped by the paparazzi, causing concern about the conduct of the trial.

Special Branch will need to be employed to provide security for her. The cost of Special Branch cover around the clock will be eight times the cost of the current housekeepers, who know the ground and know their territory and know their judges.

2019 – Judges hotel lodging allowances cut by 20%, leading to increased dissatisfaction amongst the judiciary.

2022 – Special Branch removed from round-the-clock security cover and replaced by Serco.

2022 -Defendants brother found sitting bedside with the Judge. Serco staff out nightclubbing.

2025 – PAC finds that the cost of running the existing freeholder lodgings was a bargain compared to the new cost of £15 million a year for hotels, Special Branch/Serco, et al.

2026 – New judges lodgings acquired at the cost of £30 million.

2018 – Permanent Secretary knighted for services to the Judiciary.