The media circus has descended on the workaday Technology and Construction Court for Multiplex vs Cleveland Bridge and the court clerks have their hands full.
On arriving at the Technology and Construction Court on Tuesday, it was immediately apparent that something big was afoot. And this was not just because of the army of photographers outside waiting to get a shot of Multiplex and Cleveland Bridge supremos without a clue how to recognise them.
No, the real sign that this was a special day for the court was the slightly bewildering increase in entrance security. On every previous visit I've made, I've been able to walk through the airport-style gates unchallenged, despite their angry beeping.
Not on Tuesday though, oh no. The one day I actually wanted to get into the place without dawdling, a security guard leaps out from some hidden corner and proceeds to body scan me with a fervour of which the prime minister's private bodyguard would be proud.
Unfortunately, the length of this experience - which culminated in the security man launching an unnecessarily harsh verbal assault on the fact my shoes contained metal - meant that I almost missed the start of the trial itself. In a slightly flustered state, I took a lift to completely the wrong courtroom. I spent ten minutes eagerly awaiting a trial involving hi-lo scaffolding before realising my error - some better signing would have been appreciated.
Finally arriving at court seven, I was enthusiastically greeted by Stephen, a court clerk whose joy in life seems to have improved tenfold since the start of the case. He eagerly ushered the assembled journalists into the court, promising us that the start may be "a minute or two late, but please don't worry".
"Given the attention this case has attracted," Multiplex lawyer Roger Stewart glowered at the 40-odd journalists and spectators as proceedings got underway, "It's a shame we can't all sit in Wembley to hear it rather than being crammed in here."
On a small point of order, it could be suggested that this impossibility has more to do with Multiplex and its trial opponent Cleveland Bridge than with any of the media representatives watching trolley after trolley of evidence being wheeled into the court.
At least the cramped conditions meant it was possible to get a good view of Multiplex Aussie hard man Ashley Muldoon as he took the stand to give a storming performance as first witness. The scourge of Cleveland Bridge is only about 5ft 5in tall, and craning forward to see him in the box it struck me that it could be difficult to keep track of him in a venue the size of Wembley. Especially with all those construction materials still lying around.
From the bench, however, Justice Jackson had Muldoon firmly under his control: "Mr Muldoon, might I remind you, this is an important trial and your end must be recorded," said an exasperated judge after ten minutes of unintelligible muttering from Muldoon. "Can I make this point quite clearly, you must speak slowly and audibly for the synographer."
The ticking off was welcomed by all those - including me - struggling to decipher Muldoon's strange hybrid of Aussie slang and formal court speak. However, to the construction representatives present - including Muldoon, and CB managing director Brian Rogan, the judiciary's bumbling attempts to understand their daily lives must have seemed equally strange. "Mr Stagg makes his notes using one of those electronic pads," was one less-than enlightened comment from the Cleveland Bridge counsel, while Justice Jackson struggled to understand the finer points of construction: "The reference you've just given me is, ahem, a picture of wheels and cogs," he said helplessly, after one direction from the legal teams.
It seems, only two days in, the judge has had quite enough of technical terms. He politely declined an offer of further explanation of Cleveland Bridge's argument: "I think I might have enough pieces of paper already, thank you."