A senior judge at the Technology and Construction Court has been moved as part of a shake-up at the institution.
Judge Seymour caused uproar two years ago in the case of Co-op Group vs International Computers, when he dismissed the Co-op’s case as “bordering on the nonsensical”. The Court of Appeal later overturned the judgment, calling his remarks “wounding and sarcastic”.
A spokesperson for the Royal Courts of Justice confirmed that Seymour would now be sitting as a senior circuit judge on the Queen’s Bench with effect from 7 June. He refused to confirm the reason for the redeployment.
Nicholas Lane, a construction lawyer at solicitors Travers Smith, said: “There was obviously a perception that changes were required and the reputation of the TCC needed enhancing. So the powers that be have done something about it.”
The disclosure of the change in personnel follows news last week that the High Court judge in charge of the TCC, Mr Justice Jackson, would be given a permanent role at the TCC and that High Court judges would be appointed to hear the most serious cases.
It is understood that this has caused some concern that senior circuit judges working in the TCC will be marginalised, although Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, has indicated that “the majority of cases” would remain with TCC judges.
The panel of High Court judges has now been confirmed as Mr Justice Christopher Clarke, Mr Justice Elias, Mr Justice Field, Mr Justice Ouseley and Mr Justice Simon. Clarke was counsel to the Saville inquiry into the deaths of 13 people in Londonderry on 30 January, 1972 – otherwise known as “Bloody Sunday” – before joining the judiciary in December.