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Lawyers applaud 'brave effort' to boost TCC

CONSTRUCTION lawyers have welcomed moves to strengthen the Technology and Construction Court with the appointment of a permanent High Court judge.

Lord Chief Justice Woolf unveiled the changes last week as an interim measure pending a full review of the TCC.

The TCC's presiding High Court judge, Justice Rupert Jackson, will concentrate on the court full-time and be able to appoint from a pool of other High Court judges to try particularly complex cases.

Most cases in the TCC are currently heard by senior circuit court judges.

But the move is designed to counter a lack of confidence in the TCC following severe criticism of one of its judges, Judge Richard Seymour, by the Court of Appeal last year.

Roberta Downey, a partner at construction law specialists Lovells, said: 'This is a brave effort to increase the stature of the TCC. Most tort and contract law in this country comes from construction disputes and the influence of TCC judgements goes far beyond the confines of the industry.

'Given its influence, it's odd that most cases in the court have not been heard by High Court judges.'