Address: Strand, London WC2A 2LL

Time: 9.00am to 4.30pm

Time Information:

Phone: 0207 947 6000

700m from City Thameslink

300m from Temple

Located in the Strand, the Royal Courts of Justice are England’s primary civil courts and contain the High Court and the Court of Appeal and are known as the ‘Law Courts’. The top criminal cases are heard at the Old Bailey. The building was opened in 1882 by Queen Victoria, having been designed in a Gothic style in 1868 by former lawyer George Edmund Street.

There was much competition for the contract and it was felt that Street should design the exterior and Charles Barry, who built the Houses of Parliament, the interior. It was finally decided that a sole architect would be preferable and it was awarded to Street. Edwin Field dealt with the legal side of the project and his statue is found in the building today.

Prominent areas are the Great Hall, the Costume Gallery, the Painted Room and the Bear Garden, the latter so called after Queen Victoria likened the active court proceedings to a bear pit.

The project cost around £2.5m with the interior lavishly decorated and furnished. It covers an enormous area and has over 1000 rooms and over 3 miles of corridors. There are 88 court rooms with free public access to all but the most sensitive cases eg child adoption. Visitors are able to view a list of the cases that day as well as the progress and sit at the back.

The High Court hears higher levels of civil disputes, whilst the Court of Appeal hears appeals from the High Court (Civil Division) and appeals from the Crown Court (Criminal Division).

Whilst smart dress isn’t obligatory for visitors, it’s advised and also available to visitors is an exhibition of legal attire. The Royal Courts also use the four main areas of the building mentioned above to host evening events to private and corporate clients.

Being in close proximity to other central London landmarks, it gives visitors the ideal opportunity to add a visit to their programme.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.