Scale of cyber crime behind new London cyber court plans, say lawyers

Out-Law News | 06 Jul 2018 | 11:11 am | 2 min. read

Plans to open a new court in London to specialise in resolving cases concerning cyber crime, fraud, and economic crime have been welcomed by legal experts, who believe the move reflects the scale of cyber-related crime businesses are dealing with.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Justice and HM Courts & Tribunals Service announced that a new 18 courtroom premises on the site of Fleetbank House in London is to be built. Planning permission is still to be obtained and funding arrangements finalised, but the court is due to be completed in 2025.

Lord Chancellor David Gauke said the new court would send "a further message to the world that Britain both prizes business and stands ready to deal with the changing nature of 21st century crime".

David McIlwaine of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, an expert in cyber and IT disputes, said: "This gives a clear indication of the expected increase in claims that will arise, presumably in response to the heightened prevalence of cyber attacks and the augmented amount of regulation through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Network and Information Security (NIS) Regulations."

McIlwaine said that the new specialist court may offer a more attractive forum for resolving cyber matters than the existing Queen's Bench Division Media and Communications List of the High Court and arbitration.

"It will be useful to have matters before judges who are already across all the issues and don’t need to be educated on issues such as ransomware, malware, exfiltration, extortion and the GDPR, for example, which are often involved in cyber claims," McIlwaine said. "It may also make gaining injunctions against 'persons unknown' – cyber criminals – more straight forward. These can then be used to make 'take down' requests from social media providers which may be being used unwittingly to publish exfiltrated data."

Organisations should also be able to track case law more easily with the introduction of the new court, he said.

McIlwaine also said that it is likely that there will be "an increase in class actions from data subjects affected by data breaches, as these are more easily facilitated under GDPR" and said that it "will be interesting to see the new court's involvement in these".

Civil fraud and asset recovery expert Jennifer Craven of Pinsent Masons also welcomed the fact that a new court is being designed to hear cases of cyber fraud.

"Its launch is no doubt a response to the sheer scale of cyber fraud and the huge cost of it to UK businesses who continually suffer losses at the hands of cyber-attacks such as hacking, business email compromise and theft of crypto-currencies," Craven said. "Fraud impacts on every business and individual, and its toll and global reach continues to grow at an exponential rate, making the fight ever more important. Having a central forum, the first of its kind, challenged to host the new types of cyber frauds that our clients are encountering is therefore an important step in tackling this issue."