Visiting a law court may not sound particularly attractive. But if I told you the Supreme Court is the highest appeal court in the UK deciding on points of law of great public importance which is totally open and FREE to visit, wouldn’t you want to glance inside?
I was lucky to tag along a tour group to explore the Courts in the evening. The tour is insightful, teaching you the history of the building, a crash course on the legal system in England and Wales, and the sort of cases that come before the 12 law lords sitting in the Supreme Court. The tours are extremely popular so booking in advance is highly recommended and costs just £10.
On the tour, you’ll explore three major courtrooms. Court One looks like this:
Court Two took a more “European” approach:
Court Three went back to the traditional look of a law court. Interesting fact: The Supreme Court in London is also the highest court of appeal for some countries once a part of the British Empire. Jamaica still takes it highest cases to this very courtroom.
Instagrammers and photographer rejoice: photography is permitted and in fact, encouraged which means you can take cool photos of the Supreme Courts staircase.
Towards the end of the tour, we were given a bit of a treat: a peak inside the justice’s library. Cool fact: only 20 people in the UK can use this library. The only people allowed to use it are the 12 justices and their assistants/clerks.
Inside there are neat little books like this extremely old casebook:
I got all nostalgic when I saw this little collection. I spent hours, days, weeks and months slaving over these very books when I was studying for my Master’s degree in law once upon a time. I even wrote a 12,000-word essay on it.
You don’t have to RSVP a place on a tour to take a peek inside the highest court in the land. Admission is entirely free and open to general visitors between 9am-4.30pm. You might even get to watch a few cases being debated if you’re lucky.
In the basement, there’s even a small exhibition to explore and a cafe to freshen up.
The Supreme Court is a transparent, modern and accessible institution on the world stage. It’s definitely worth popping in to have a look and deserves to be on your list of places to visit especially if you’re in the Westminster area.