Court sketch

You have to feel sorry for Justice Jackson. Monday was going to be his crowning moment - striding into court 7 to hand down a verdict to those wretched little contractors that had been cluttering the place up for the past month.

Alas, it was not to be. The court rose at 10am sharp for his entrance and remained risen for a good few minutes while the crippled judge shuffled in on crutches.

Mr Jackson said he had suffered an Achilles' injury and "was not pretending to be a footballer". I found this quite disappointing. It would have been interesting if he had delivered his verdict in the style of David Beckham, squeaking about a case of two halves and looking like a hurt schoolboy whenever counsel employed long words.

Instead, Jackson delivered Multiplex's triumph sedately, ruling point-by-point on 10 issues. This was upsetting at first, since none of the journalists had brought a copy of the issues for reference.

One slightly bizarre revelation was that Chinese authorities had suspected a smuggling operation when rising costs caused CBUK to recall steel it had sent to be the country for fabrication. Jackson said: "The Chinese authorities were puzzled as to why a large quantity of steel was shipped halfway round the world, only to be sent back to the UK."

The gallery was strangely empty: few journalists, it seems, have the capacity for construction-related legalese. This probably upset the court staff: a sign on the door advertised a whole other room into which they'd intended to pipe the judgement, Pop Idol style, if only there had been demand.

After all was over, the lawyers were anxious to get out into the sunshine. But in a final attempt at authority Mr Jackson had other ideas. "I want none of you to leave this court until you have agreed any revisions to the transcript," he told the parties.

CBUK QC Hugh Tomlinson was distressed at the prospect: "With all respect my lord, I think that is in breach of our human rights." "I rather think you'll agree to it anyway," was the judge's unsympathetic response. And he said Multiplex was ruthless.