Impressive free public access to our Supreme Court

The main courtroom at the Supreme Court, from the perspective of the Presiding Judge.
This week I wanted to visit a court in London, to get a feel for the proceedings. I didn’t fancy the Old Bailey – its case list is a series of stabbings basically. Not nice. I was about to make the journey to the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand when I remembered the more recently opened Supreme Court.

The United Kingdom Supreme Court resides just opposite Parliament in an impressive building previously occupied by Middlesex County Council and the Middlesex Courts.

When I visited, there were only a few people milling around inside. The staff were very friendly and helpful. I was whisked through the security scanner and then the receptionist explained what I could do in the building. The public are able to wonder around the three court rooms (when there are no cases ongoing) and take photographs. Then there is an interesting exhibition area about the history of the building, the Supreme Court, the Magna Carta and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. That latter entity is the final court of judgment for a number of territories overseas.

I was able to relax in their impressive café which is in an airy atrium, created in the centre of the building.

The receptionist pointed out when the next case would be sitting and gave me a fact sheet on the case. Sadly, when I returned for the sitting time, it appears that their Lordships had decided that “enough was enough” for the day and decided to cancel the afternoon sitting. Still, my absorption of the factsheet has given me an interest in the case. I will follow it via the Supreme Court website, which has videos of all the proceedings and the ability to watch sittings live.

All in all, I was very impressed indeed by the access given to the public to our Supreme Court, including for school and college visits.

And yes, I know this sounds like a posting on “Trip Advisor” but I thought that most LDV readers are interested in the law and might have a few minutes to spare to view this important building if they ever visit Westminster.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in London and Op-eds.
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