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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

The Supreme Court

London is just full of unknown gems to me. Everytime I wander around, even in the most well known of places I stumble across something new or that I've never noticed before. This time I was crossing over from Westminster Abbey to get on to Whitehall when I saw a sign which said 'Free admission'. My eyes are trained to focus on such signs. This was outside a building I had passed many times but didn't know what it was used for. It turned out to be the Supreme Court. This is the final court of appeal in the UK for all civil cases and criminal cases (except for Scotland). The court  also plays a role in the interpretation and development of the law. The Court used to be held in the House of Lords but in October 2009 a significant move was made to break from the tradition and to house the court elsewhere. It is now housed in what used to be the Middlesex Guildhall.

 This is the front of the building. The frieze above the door shows historical scenes including King John handing over the Magna Carta to the barons at Runnymede. Inside the building were 3 courtrooms which I was able to wander around, after going through the usual security searches at the door. There were very few people around and I was told photographs were allowed. The most impressive court was No1:

The wooden carvings were beautiful. I especially like the animals which were carved as hand rests on the benches and chairs.

There were examples of some of the cases discussed in the Supreme court(or House of Lords prior to the court moving to this building) which have set a precedent for similar cases such as that of Anthony aged 17, one of the tragic victims of the Hilsborough Football Stadium disaster, when many football fans were crushed during a match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. As a result of his injuries he was left in a vegetative state, unable to see, hear or feel anything. After 3 years in this condition, doctors decided that he would never improve or recover. The Lords were asked to make a decision on whether it was lawful for the hospital to discontinue the life-support treatment that was keeping Anthony alive. The House of Lords concluded that the hospital were not under a duty to carry on with indefinite medical care. Consequently it could discontinue care without fear of being sued in either a criminal or civil court. This decision has been followed in other cases where patients have been in a similar condition with no chance of recovery.  I would not like to have to make such far reaching decisions but I think it is essential in a civilised society that there is a body of men and women capable of doing so.

There are still a number of countries throughout the world that ask the advice of the Supreme court.


  1. What a wonderful reuse of a building. I haven't seen anything like the carved animal heads on chairs and benches. They are a little scary.

  2. Thanks for showing us around your Supreme Court... Love the carvings... Gorgeous!!

    Happy Sunday to you.

  3. I'm so pleased you stumbled upon this wonderful building .... The frieze across the top of the doorway is a history lesson in itself and I do love the stained glass panels atop those huge windows.

  4. Thanks so much for this, I will add it to my list for my next trip to London!!
    Thanks for your comments on mushy peas!! I usually buy the boxes with marrowfat peas, but was desperate as I couldn't find any in Las Vegas.

  5. Beautiful pics! London really has beautiful buildings.

  6. Great to be able to see the inside of this place.

  7. Beautiful building and carvnigs.. Yes lots of responsibility for those sitting on that bench but a needed function of society. We went to Old Bailey.. wasn't aware that there was a Supreme Court there. Did you have to go through screening and check your belongings etc. We did at Old Bailey.

  8. I'm adding this to my list of places to visit next time I find myself in London! Thanks for the introduction. The arm rests are just gorgeous.

  9. Very impressive! And how lucky for you to have walked by right when public admission was allowed! :o)


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