Trial will be one of most costly in Britain

The trial of the terror suspects charged with plotting to blow up transatlantic airliners will be one of the biggest and most costly to be staged in this country.

It could also be one of the first high-profile terror trials to be held at the purpose-built high-security court in Woolwich, south London.

Woolwich Crown Court is close to Belmarsh high security prison, where many of the suspects are being held. In recent months court staff have been busy preparing Woolwich so that it is ready to shoulder some of the heavy caseload of terror trials currently handled at the Old Bailey.

While the switch could help to improve security and cut costs, the case is still expected to be one of the most expensive for many years.

It follows a massive nationwide police operation involving a number of different forces as well close liaison with the security and intelligence services. The evidence gathered is now being carefully assessed and prepared for trial by senior lawyers at the Crown Prosecution Service, who have been working closely with the investigating police officers.

The defence teams will be looking to retain high-profile QCs who have strong reputations in defending in terror trials.

But the Crown's opening statements are unlikely to be heard before next year, when the trial date is expected to be set. Lessons will have been learnt from the experience of prosecuting other multi-defendant terror cases.

The Government, working with the judiciary, has introduced several reforms to the management and operation of high-cost cases, including terror trials.

Judges now have powers to keep barristers on a tighter reign and ensure the trial is run more efficiently so that costs do not overrun.

Until the start of the trial the media will be expected to show great restraint in reporting anything about the suspects or the alleged plot. Under the strict rules of the Contempt of Court Act, editors face fines and possible imprisonment if they print or broadcast anything that might seriously prejudice the trial.

And the Home Secretary, John Reid, and the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, have already issued a joint statement reminding the media to "exercise considerable restraint".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower