News release

05/2016 - News release

Supreme Court prepares for Article 50 appeal

2 December 2016

Next week (5 to 8 December), the UK Supreme Court is due to hear one of the highest profile appeals since its establishment in October 2009. The Court has been taking a number of steps to prepare:

  • All eleven Justices will be hearing the appeal - a historic first. Some changes to the usual lay out will allow the Justices' bench, designed for the previous maximum of nine judges, to accommodate eleven. The Justices will rely heavily on digital versions of case papers, in order to save space in the courtroom.
  • Additional seating has been provided in the courtroom, though it is likely that the number of people wishing to observe proceedings first hand will exceed the space available. The two other courtrooms in the building have been set up as overflow spaces, showing proceedings on large screens via a live video feed. This will allow around 90 seats for the public, in addition to 25 in the courtroom.
  • The Supreme Court live streams all its hearings via its website, allowing anyone with internet access to watch proceedings. This service has been upgraded to help meet the expected demand, with the Court working alongside providers StreamAMG to increase the estimated capacity to up to 300,000 viewers watching at any one time. Video of proceedings will also be published the morning after each day's hearing to enable viewers to watch at their convenience at a later time.
  • Additionally, mainstream broadcasters are expected to carry the proceedings via their own free web-based streaming services, including BBC News' website and Channel 4 News' Facebook page.
  • More than 80 journalists from the UK and abroad are accredited to cover the event - the highest number since the Court heard Julian Assange's 2012 appeal against the validity of a European Arrest Warrant raised in Sweden. A media suite has been set up to accommodate the majority of journalists, with 25 pre-accredited media representatives seated in the courtroom.
  • Additional catering and cleaning staff have been hired to help meet the expected demand. (The Court's public café expects to serve around 600 cups of tea or coffee every day.)
  • The parties' written cases are being made available via the Supreme Court's website, and daily transcripts will also be published.
  • The Court, situated on Parliament Square in London, has seen an increase in visitor numbers since the Government announced its intention to appeal in this matter, with 15% more visitors this November than the same month last year.
  • Website visitors have also risen 70% in the last month against November 2015 (to around 120,000), driven in part by the Court's use of Twitter to link to updates on the case.
UKSC contacts:

Ben Wilson - Head of Communications
020 7960 1887

Cheryl Walmsley - Communications and Outreach Manager
020 7960 1886