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Here are some pictures of Britain's brand new Supreme Court, which will start work on 5th October.

It will take over the judicial functions of the House of Lords, which are currently exercised by the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (Law Lords) - separating the judicial and legislative roles of the House of Lords for the first time in more than 600 years.


The court will be the supreme court (court of last resort, highest appellate court) in all matters under English law, Welsh law (to the extent that the National Assembly for Wales makes laws for Wales that differ from those in England) and Northern Irish law. It will not have authority over criminal cases in Scotland, where the High Court of Justiciary will remain the supreme criminal court. However, it will hear appeals from the civil Court of Session, just as the House of Lords does today. The Supreme Court will also determine devolution issues; that is, cases in which the legal powers of the three devolved governments – the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government – or laws made by the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament or National Assembly for Wales are questioned. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council currently has jurisdiction over these cases.

The emblem of the Supreme Court features the "national" plants of each of the United Kingdom's four major political divisions: the rose of the Kingdom of England, the thistle of the Kingdom of Scotland, the flax of the Province of Northern Ireland and the leek of the Principality of Wales.

These are within the Ω symbolising both Libra, for the scales of justice, and omega, for finality.

Up to nine justices sit at a curved desk facing six seats for advocates, separated by a giant emblem on the carpet featuring the four plants.

A smaller design based on the four plants make up the pattern of the carpet, designed by Sir Peter Blake, the artist best known for the cover of the Beatles album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

There also feature ornate carving of King Henry VIII, King Stephen and Queen Elizabeth I.

But the building has already been attacked for being similar to something you find in a republic.


THE WIDER VIEW: Inside the imposing interior of Britain's new £36m Supreme Court

By Mail On Sunday Reporter
02nd August 2009
Daily Mail



This is the imposing interior of Britain’s new Supreme Court which opens on October 5 – separating the judicial and legislative roles of the House of Lords for the first time in more than 600 years.

About £36million has been spent converting the Grade II* listed Middlesex Guildhall into three courtrooms where 12 justices, formerly Law Lords, will sit daily.

The limestone ‘art nouveau gothic’ building in Parliament Square, built in 1913, was originally the home of Middlesex County Council as well as being a court.

It was designed by Scottish architect James Gibson with ornate gargoyles, carved angels and friezes by sculptor Henry Fehr. Fehr also designed most of the original furniture, with Wylie and Lochhead of Glasgow.


Opulent justice: £36m was spent converting the the Grade II* listed art nouveau gothic building. Twelve justices will sit at the Supreme Court daily (click for larger picture)

The oak public benches to the left of the picture feature ornate carvings, including portraits of monarchs such as Henry VIII, Stephen and Elizabeth I, while delicately carved dragons lie on the top of the seats.

All the furniture carvings relate to Middlesex and the building’s location – although some of the links are obscure.


Middlesex Guildhall in north London, the location of Britain's new Supreme Court

While some Fehr furniture has been retained, much was removed in the refit to be replaced by modern desks and chairs, styled by London-based Japanese designer Tomoko Azumi and made from American walnut by South-West London carpentry firm Opus Magnum.

The original large light fittings and paintings, from the Middlesex Art Collection, have been restored as part of the refurbishment.

The courtrooms share the same basic design. Up to nine justices sit at a curved desk facing six seats for advocates, separated by an emblem on the carpet depicting the English rose, Welsh leek, Scottish thistle and Northern Irish flax.




Portraits of Henry VIII (top), Stephen and Elizabeth I are featured on the ornate carvings. Delicately carved dragons lie on top of the seats (bottom) while the carpet pattern is made up of emblems representing England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (centre)

The same emblem in miniature makes the pattern of the carpet, which was designed by Sir Peter Blake – the artist best known for the cover of the Beatles album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Significantly, justices and advocates sit at the same level – unlike all other courts. Behind the justices will sit judicial assistants and the Registrar.

The emblem of the Supreme Court, above, was designed by Yvonne Holton, herald painter at the Court of the Lord Lyon, Scotland’s official heraldry office, and combines the national emblems within the Ω symbolising both Libra, for the scales of justice, and omega, for finality.

READERS' COMMENTS

thank christ people are starting to recognise N.I is part of the UK.
- em, belfast
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Ornate carvings, portraits and limestone cannot disguise the fact that this is just another step towards the once GREAT Britain becoming a republic.
I despair I truly do.
- Joan, Southen, Essex
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A beautiful building and an excellent nod to the past as a basis in tradition and law. Much better than the monstrosity of the Scottish Parliament.
- Gary Conway, Fairfield, Connecticut
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Whilst expensive, it is far more worthy of a court than any modern building ever could be. As to the carpeting, it will enable everyone's word to be heard. The fact that it is a restoration should not be overlooked. Too much has been scrapped as being outmoded , whereas here, the original features have been given a new lease of life, no doubt for another hunderd years.
It will no doubt be featured in many court scene films in the future, too.
Heaven forbid, now, that the judges forsake wigs and robes. Justice at this level demands tradition and dignity.

Yes, I am old fashioned, and proud of it.
- Bwj, Uk
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The all seeing eye. How obvious. Throw and owl in there too.
- Linda, Toronto, Canada
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Is it just me or can i see the tables arranged in the shape of the 'All seeing eye'!

Im a designer and i notice these things.
- anna, notts
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I would normally excoriate such blatant US mimickery but the Law Lords have of late been infested with the same Labour Marxists who are destroying this country from every high office they can infiltrate. Perhaps out of the 12 justices, we will actually get a few judges with integrity and common sense.
- Jason, London

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Last edited by Blackleaf; Aug 2nd, 2009 at 12:26 PM..