UK Supreme Court

UK Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, as well as being the final court of appeal, plays an important role in the development of United Kingdom law.

As an appeal court, The Supreme Court cannot consider a case unless a relevant order has been made in a lower court.

The Supreme Court:

  • is the final court of appeal for all United Kingdom civil cases, and criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • 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

Exhibition

On the lower ground floor of The Supreme Court, a permanent exhibition provides an insight into the work and history of the UK’s highest court, as well as the history of the building. Visitors can also experience the challenges of being a Justice of The Supreme Court at first hand.

The exhibition provides information about the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and how the two courts fit into the legal systems of the countries they serve.

The Middlesex Guildhall Art Collection

The collection commemorates a number of former Lord Lieutenants, judges and Magistrates, including the 1st Duke of Northumberland in portraits by both Gainsborough and Reynolds.

Newly-commissioned works of art

A wide ranging variety of new works of art have been commissioned to enhance the renovated building.

Stained glass

The building hosts a large amount of original stained glass, designed to commemorate the contribution of many notable public figures in the history of Middlesex.

Education

One of The Supreme Court's key aims is to educate and inspire people about the UK justice system and so we offer a range of activities and resources to give students an insight into the workings of the UK's highest court of appeal.

Visits for schools, colleges and universities

We provide structured visits for groups in full-time education at schools, colleges and universities from Monday to Thursday.

Visits are free of charge and consist of an interactive introductory talk given by one of our Information Officers, time in our educational exhibition area and the opportunity for students to observe some of an appeal hearing (depending on the court schedule and space in the public seating areas).

The Supreme Court is open to the public from 9.30am-4.30pm Monday to Friday and any member of the public can enter the building during these hours without booking in advance.

However, to ensure that students get the most out of their visit to the Court, we also provide structured visits for groups in full-time education at schools, colleges and universities from Monday to Thursday.

Visits are free of charge and consist of an interactive introductory talk given by one of our Information Officers, time in our educational exhibition area and the opportunity for students to observe some of an appeal hearing (depending on the court schedule and space in the public seating areas).

The introductory talk lasts approximately 45 minutes and covers the history, role and work of the Supreme Court. The talk can be tailored to fit specific curriculum areas/learning outcomes

Debate days

We offer extended learning sessions on an occasional basis, working with groups of up to 25 students from Years 10, 11, 12 or 13.

Students are given a tour of the Supreme Court and then split into opposing groups to prepare for a debate which is based on a case that has previously been considered by the Court.

Information from Venue: 

Did You Know?

  • From the time of Edward the Confessor (1042-1066), the whole of the Parliament Square, from Westminster Abbey to the spot where the Supreme Court stands today, was consecrated ground, offering the right of sanctuary. To this day, the road to the side of the court is called "Little Sanctuary".
  • To construct the Middlesex Guildhall in 1913, the builders had to remove the original foundations of the Sanctuary Tower: "a raft of rubble five feet thick and seventy two and a half feet square, built on oak piles driven into the primeval sand of Thorney Island".
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Bernard Tindal Bosanquet, High Sheriff of Middlesex in 1897 (whose coat-of-arms can be seen in the Library when it is open to the public) was the father of Bernard Bosanquet, who invented "the googly", and grandfather of Reginald Bosanquet (the newsreader).
  • The Middlesex Guildhall housed foreign military courts during the Second World War.
  • Ewen Montagu, Recorder (judge) at the Middlesex Guildhall during the 1960s, was one of the people behind the Second World War deception plan "Operation Mincemeat". By floating a dead body off the Spanish coast with misleading documents in an area known to have German spies, the Allies successfully made the enemy believe they planned to invade Greece and Sardinia, not Sicily.
  • Almost all the proceedings of The Supreme Court are filmed, and are sometimes broadcast on major TV and radio news networks. Proceedings are also streamed via our website: 20,000 view this stream each month.
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Venue Address: 
Parliament Square
London
SW1P 3BD
United Kingdom
Venue Contact Number: 
020 7960 1900

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