Royal Courts of Justice :: Visitors' Map of London :: A-Z Maps

Royal Courts of Justice

A colossal Victorian-Gothic building, bristling with towers, pinnacles and pointed arches constructed 1874-82 and is home of the High Court of Justice. Its main feature is a central hall of cathedral-like proportions where display cases hold Daily Cause Lists - details of cases, courts and judges; there is free access to public galleries. Prior to the 19th century, Courts of Justice sat in Westminster Hall having done so since the 12th century.

There are a number of interesting and historical ceremonies at the beginning of Michaelmas Term. (1) the Opening of the Law Courts which is preceded by a breakfast at the House of Lords and a special service at Westminster Abbey, both attended by Her Majesty's Judges and Queen's Council. (2) The newly elected Lord Mayor of London in a resplendent coach on the last leg of the Lord Mayors Show, arrives to be sworn in. (3) Quit Rents Ceremonies: probably London's oldest remaining custom is the payment of six horseshoes for a smithy plot in the parish of St Clement Danes recorded in a Pipe Roll of 1235 - horseshoes and nails are still paid ceremoniously by the City Solicitor to the Queen's Remembrance; at the same time, dating from the 16th century, a payment of two knives, one blunt and one sharp, having first been tested for sharpness, is paid for a piece of land 'The Moors' in Shropshire.

See Also: Old Bailey

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