Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Royal Courts of Justice (Law Courts) - London

Royal Courts Of Justice (also called The Law Courts) in London

This photo of the Royal Courts of Justice in London is part of one of the panoramic images found on the Tour of London. There are over 100 images taken from around London linked to an interactive map.

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The Royal Courts of Justice stand on the Strand, just to the east of Aldwych. The strand is horribly busy most of the time, and getting a clear shot of the front of the building involves waiting for traffic to be stopped by people crossing the road. And stop they do, for surely running someone over on the pedestrian crossing outside the Royal Courts of Justice would have to be problematic in the extreme.

The Royal Courts of Justice are more commonly known as the Law Courts, and handle civil trials in the country. There are some 88 court rooms contained within the huge Gothic building, all of which the public are allowed to enter as long as the courts are in open session and neither the judge is giving out sentence, nor witnesses being sworn in. A list stating the progress of each case is found in the central hall.

The Royal Courts of Justice also contain a small collection of legal attire, which the visitor may view, and a guided tour of the building runs twice a month. This is an excellent way to find out more about the building. For those interested there is also a Guide to the Royal Courts of Justice available.

The Royal Courts of Justice were designed by George Edmund Street and opened by Queen Victoria in 1882, it is the last major Gothic revival building to be erected in London, using of some 35 million bricks faced with Portland stone, containing 1,000 rooms and 3.5 miles of corridors. Previously to this the site contained 450 houses which were demolished to provide the land required.

When you enter the Law Courts from the Strand you will pass under two elaborately carved porches which are fitted with iron gates. The carvings on the outer porch show the heads of the most eminent lawyers of the time, with the Saviour represented at the highest point. Over the Judges (north) entrance are carvings of both cats and dogs, representative of the legal forces and litigants fighting it out in court (but in a genteel clashing of words, of course).

The whole area is, naturally, peppered with the most famous, and therefore often the most expensive, of solicitor firms in the UK. Near to the Royal Courts of Justice you will find the esteemed institutions of The Temple, and Lincolns Inn. The nearest tube stations are Waterloo, just across the Thames at Waterloo Station, and Charring Cross, at the Western end of the Strand.

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The full panoramic image of The Royla Courts of Justice can be found on the London tour by An enlargement of this photo can be found on Flickr.

For more articles on London see the London Index or select one of the labels at the bottom.

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