The ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE, commonly called the LAW COURTS, is a
court building in
The courts within the building are open to the public, although there may be some restrictions depending upon the nature of the cases being heard. Those in court who do not have legal representation may receive some assistance within the building. There is a citizens' advice bureau based within the Main Hall which provides free, confidential and impartial advice by appointment to anyone who is a litigant in person in the courts. There is also a Personal Support Unit where litigants in person can receive emotional support and practical information about court proceedings.
The Central Criminal Court , widely known as the
* 1 History and architecture * 2 Extensions to the building * 3 See also * 4 Notes * 5 References * 6 Bibliography * 7 External links
HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE
The search for a design for the Law Courts was by way of a competition, a then-common approach to selecting a design and an architect. The competition ran from 1866–7 and the twelve architects competing for the contract each submitted designs for the site. The Great Hall in 1882
In 1868 it was finally decided that
George Edmund Street
There was a serious strike of masons at an early stage which
threatened to extend to the other trades and caused a temporary
stoppage of the works. In consequence, foreign workmen were brought in
– mostly Germans. This aroused bitter hostility on the part of the
men on strike, and the newcomers had to be housed and fed within the
building. However, these disputes were eventually settled and the
building took eight years to complete; it was officially opened by
Parliament paid £1,453,000 for the 6-acre (24,000 m2) site upon which 450 houses had to be demolished. The building was paid for by cash accumulated in court from the estates of the intestate to the sum of £700,000. Oak work and fittings in the court cost a further £70,000 and with decoration and furnishing the total cost for the building came to under £1 million.
The dimensions of the building (in round figures) are: 470 feet (140 m) from east to west; 460 feet (140 m) from north to south; 245 feet (75 m) from the Strand level to the tip of the fleche.
Entering through the main gates on the Strand, one passes under two
elaborately carved porches fitted with iron gates. The carving over
the outer porch consists of heads of the most eminent judges and
lawyers. Over the highest point of the upper arch is a figure of
Jesus; to the left and right at a lower level are figures of Solomon
Alfred the Great
On either side are gateways leading to different courts and to jury and witness rooms from which separate staircases are provided for them to reach their boxes in court. During the 1960s, jury rooms in the basement area were converted to courtrooms. At either end of the hall are handsome marble galleries from which the entire Main Hall can be viewed.
The walls and ceilings (of the older, original courts) are panelled
in oak which in many cases is elaborately carved. In Court 4, the Lord
Chief Justice 's court, there is an elaborately carved wooden royal
coat of arms , which had been salvaged from the fire that engulfed and
destroyed the original
Palace of Westminster
There are, in addition to the waiting rooms, several arbitration and consultation chambers together with robing rooms for members of the bar and solicitor advocates .
EXTENSIONS TO THE BUILDING
The main entrance
The first extension was the West Green building for which plans were drawn in 1910; the space was for extra divorce courts. They were the first to have modern air conditioning and tape recording in their original design.
The next new building was the Queen's Building, opened in 1968, providing a further 12 courts. This building also contains cells in the basement. It was intended that these courts could be used for criminal matters, however as the jury boxes can hold only 10 people they are not suitable for such a use and are now primarily used for family proceedings.
With an ever-increasing workload the 11-storey
Finally, it was necessary to build an additional 12 courts for the
Chancery Division named the
It should also be remembered that there are further courts at the Rolls Building , which come under the wing of the Law Courts and are within short walking distance.
Anyone is allowed to watch the trials which are taking place free of charge, apart from private family cases such as adoption proceedings.
* Courts of
England and Wales
* ^ A B "Royal Courts Of Justice – latest news, breaking stories
and comment". The Independent. Retrieved 2017-01-08.
* ^ A B Harper 1983 , p. 96.
* ^ \'Nosing around the Royal Courts of Justice\', Chambers Student
* ^ "
Royal Courts of Justice
* Harper, Roger H. (1983). Victorian Architectural Competitions: An Index to British and Irish Architectural Competitions in The Builder, 1843–1900. Mansell Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-7201-1685-6 .
* Brownlee, D. (1984). The Law Courts: The Architecture of George Edmund Street. MIT Press.