On a rainy afternoon Outings Group members gathered for a visit of this important building near the houses of Parliament, completed in 1913 and very much reminiscent of the similar style (statuary, stained glass etc, light fittings) at Two Temple Place.
Inaugurated as recently as 2009 (initiated by Tony Blair – previously such decisions had been made by the Law Lords) the Supreme Court plays an important role in the development of UK law. The Court is the final court of appeal for all United Kingdom civil cases, and criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Court
– hears appeals on arguable points of law of general public importance
– concentrates on cases of the greatest public and constitutional importance
– maintains and develops the role of the highest court in the United Kingdom as a leader in the common law world.
Our guide, Rebecca, took us on an engaging tour of courts 1 (traditional), 2 (modern) and 3, besides the library, which is normally closed to the public. She covered the history of the building, the relationship of this court to others within the UK judicial system, and described the kinds of cases heard there. Seven or nine judges often preside, but the complexity of the recent Article 50 case involved 11! As they only offer tours on Fridays, when the court is closed, it would be worth returning at some point on another day to see the court in session.
Find out more about the Outings Group here