On Monday 3rd December 2012, members of LILA were treated to a guided tour of the Supreme Court building by one of its Justices, Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore. Lord Kerr, a friend of LILA, recently gave a speech at LILA’s relaunch event when he kindly extended the invitation to host a tour of the building.
The tour began with a quick talk in Lord Kerr's office where we discussed the workings of the Court and were given an insight into the daily life of a Supreme Court Justice. As it was a non sitting day we were able to visit all three courtrooms including the courtroom which houses the Privy Council.
What first strikes you about the rooms is that everyone sits at the same level, with no raised seating for the Justices. The Supreme Court is full of new and modern features like this, including the presence of cameras ready to record the action live and hi-tech screens and laptops in a move to have all paperwork reduced to a memory stick. Perhaps the most obvious example of this new modern approach is the absence of robes for the Justices and although advocates are permitted to robe if they want, they often don’t.
The building has kept quite a few of its original features from its days as Middlesex Guildhall including an impressive light well which spans the length of the building and ornate green tiled stairways. A new addition is the unusual (and somewhat psychedelic) carpet bearing the Supreme Court's motif which was designed by Sir Peter Blake, famous for designing the cover of The Beatles' 1967 album, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The court is busy, with many visitors coming through each day, so getting a tour from one of the Justices really was a treat. For those members unable to make it, guided tours of the building are offered and are well worth the trip.
For more details, please see the Supreme Court website: