THERE was hardly a seat spare in court number three at the High Court yesterday. The interest in stopping HS2, the High Speed rail link from Euston to Birmingham, is huge. Around the dramatic corners of the Royal Courts of Justice, reporters squeezed out of the main courtroom climbed a tight stone spiral case to watch from the gallery above. Some could hardly see the main players as a judicial review into whether the government has acted correctly over the project, which would whack the public purse for £30 billion and lead to demolition and disruption throughout Camden, began.
At kick off, whose voice did we hear first? From the gallery above, it sounded familiar… And to her feet rose Nathalie Lieven QC, who those with long memories will recall was once a Labour councillor at Camden Town Hall. She has popped up in a series of cases since leaving those days behind her, including work representing London Underground at a public inquiry which eventually saw grand plans to revamp Camden Town tube station fall. This week, she is arguing the case for a group of councils who feel rolled by the HS2 juggernaut.