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Access Statement

Access Statement

Introduction

The Supreme Court and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is located in Parliament Square Westminster, opposite the Houses of Parliament and next to Westminster Abbey. The Supreme Court is usually open to the public Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 16.30 except for bank holidays. During the legal terms the Court is normally in session Mondays 11.00am to 16.00 and Tuesday to Thursday 10.30am to 16.00.

The entrance to the building is flat with wide pavements. The door to the Supreme Court is automatic and security guards are on hand at the entrance should you require assistance. We look forward to you visiting the Supreme Court. If you have any queries or require any assistance please phone 0207 960 1500/1900 or email enquiries@supremecourt.uk

Pre-Arrival

  • The closest underground station to the Supreme Court and JCPC, with step free access, is Westminster. It is connected by three underground lines: District line (green), Circle line (yellow) and Jubilee line (silver).
  • Once off the tube, there is step-free access, as well as stairs, to various exits. To reduce road crossings, head for exit six at Westminster station - you will walk beneath the road through an underpass and up some steps to Whitehall. Once out of the underpass, turn left and walk towards the roundabout. You should be on Great George Street. Cross the road by the traffic lights. The Supreme Court is on your right-hand side behind the statue of Abraham Lincoln.
  • There are two mainline stations located close to the Supreme Court and JCPC: London Victoria (just over 1km) and London Charing Cross (just over 1km).
  • You can reach the Supreme Court and JCPC via a number of bus routes. Route 11, 24, 29, 88, 159 and others all go through Parliament Square.
  • The closest bus stop, right outside the court, labelled 'H', is served by the 148 and 211. Stop 'R' is situated at the end of Victoria Street by Westminster Abbey and is served by the 11, 148, 211 and 24.
  • For more information about the accessibility of London transport please visit Transport for Transport for London Accessibility.
  • Streets surrounding the court are flat and paved. There are busy roads to cross but there are a number of pedestrian crossings with blister pavements.
  • A number of London companies rent out wheelchairs should you require one, for example: London Wheelchair Rental.
  • Assistance dogs are welcome at the Supreme Court. We have the facilities to provide water for dogs on request, and we are in close proximity to St James' Park and The Green Park if rest breaks are required. Assistant dogs are permitted in the courtrooms when cases are being heard, as well as when on tours or visiting the building
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Car Parking and Arrival

  • We have no public parking spaces on site. Blue badge holders may search for nearby parking bays on Westminster City Council. There are 9 disabled parking bays within 500 metres of the Court.
  • Taxis or Ubers can drop you off on Little Sanctuary, just behind the Supreme Court building.
  • The Supreme Court is in the congestion zone, so please check before travelling to see if charges apply to your vehicle. Blue badge holders can register with Transport for London for exemption from the charge.

Main Entrance, Security and Reception

  • Security: Airport-style security is located at the entrance to the Supreme Court. Access into the building is via an automatic door and the entrance is level inside. Security guards will assist those who need to use the lift to access the security checkpoint. Otherwise there are 3 steps up to security.
  • Security will search you and your bags. Please do not bring any sharp objects (including nail scissors, penknives etc). These will be retained by security; however, you will be able to collect them at the end of your visit. The security staff are friendly and will assist you.
  • If the scanner detects an item, then a security guard will check you individually using a handheld scanner
  • Please note that any items which security deem as dangerous will be retained at security. However, you will be able to pick up any such items at the end of your visit, and security guards will assist you in this process.
  • Reception: Immediately after the security check you will be directed to enter the building through a glass door where reception is situated. There is a portable hearing loop at reception for hearing aid users. Please ensure your hearing aid is set to the 'T' function. This may be automatic if you use a digital hearing aid.
  • At reception you may collect a visitor guide, which is available in a number of languages. If you have any questions, there will be an Information Officer at the desk to help you. Large print or braille guides are available at reception.
  • Taking a tour: There are regular guided tours of the Supreme Court and tactile tours for blind and partially sighted visitors can be arranged through enquiries@supremecourt.uk. We also have a programme of BSL interpreted tours. Public guided tours cover the courtrooms and the library and there are opportunities in all the courtrooms to sit down. There is seating in the courtrooms and limited seating in the library.
  • During the tour, visitors will visit all floors which can be accessed either by lift or stairs
  • Aside from the visitor guide at reception, our Information Officers are on hand to explain more or help if necessary.
  • Hearing aid users can use a neck loop for guided tours. This can be arranged when originally booking or on arrival.
  • As public tours take place when the courts are not sitting, visitors are permitted to take photographs in the courtrooms.
Supreme Court Lifts
Lifts are available to all floors
UKSC - Stairs from the ground floor to the first floor
Stairs from the ground floor, to the first floor where you will find Courtroom 2 and to the second floor where you will find Courtroom 1
Supreme Court Lifts
Lift to Courtroom 3, the courtroom which is accessible via stairs or a lift at the entrance

Courtrooms

  • Courtroom 3 is situated to the right of reception and is the closest courtroom on arrival. There are three steps at the entrance of Courtroom 3, you can also access the courtroom using a designated lift with which security will assist you.
  • Courtroom 2 is situated on the first floor and Courtroom 1 on the second floor. Both courtrooms are accessible via stairs (26 from the ground floor to the first floor and 29 from the first floor to the second floor) or lift.
  • Watching a hearing: Please be aware that space in the public gallery is limited. This may mean you have to wait before gaining access to the courtroom, but, normally, you should be able to observe a case at some point during your visit.
  • Court hearings are live streamed. The recordings are on our websites with closed captions. Printed bench memos called press summaries are also available on our websites
  • The courtrooms have been designed for their purpose: discussing important points of law in an atmosphere of a learned seminar, rather than the adversarial environment of many other courts. As a visitor you can take a seat on the public benches behind the lawyers in any courtroom where a case is being heard. In Courtroom 2 you may also watch the case from behind the glass screen at the back of the courtroom.
  • The public gallery has spaces for wheelchairs and assistance dogs. Ask a member of security nearby for assistance.
  • Floor surfaces you will navigate whilst visiting the Supreme Court courtrooms include patterned carpet and stone at the entrance and reception
  • The security guards in each courtroom will direct you to a seat on the public benches.
  • Photography is not allowed in the courtrooms during a case. You may only take photographs in the public areas and courtrooms that are not in session or prepared for other hearings that day.
  • There is very rarely any background music or noise when the court is in session as the focus is on the parties involved and the Justices' questions. At the start of the case an usher will request 'all rise!, for the entrance of the Justices. Please remain seated if this is a difficulty.
  • There is a built-in hearing loop in all courtrooms so hearing aid users only need to ensure their hearing aid is set to the 'T' function or this will be automatic for those who have digital hearing aids.
  • All the courtrooms and corridors around the building are well lit.
public benches at the back of Cortroom 2
Public benches at the back of Courtroom 2 as an example of seats available in all courtrooms

Exhibition

Our exhibition centre is accessible via a lift or spiral stairs (with 23 steps) and is located on the lower ground floor.

  • As you enter the exhibition there is a leaflet stand for children. The 'Legal Eagle' trail is designed to guide children aged under 11 through the exhibition. If there is a shortage or leaflets or pencils, please visit the reception desk.
  • There is a permanent exhibition which includes the letters patent of a Justice, a robe worn by Justices and various information stations on the history of the Supreme Court.
  • There is an interactive display which allows users to 'Be a Justice' where you can read cases that were judged at the Supreme Court and decide how you would judge them.
  • At least two television screens in the exhibition are dedicated to streaming live cases. They are not subtitled in real time but videos of the cases can be found on Supreme Court after the case with closed captions. If the seating in the courtroom is full, you can watch the case in the exhibition. There are benches in the exhibition.
  • Ten 'Legal Landmark' films produced by Royal Holloway, University of London are on display in the exhibition. The videos are subtitled. You can access these videos at Supreme Court Legal Landmark films.
  • The television screens are on repeat so there may be a constant background noise in the exhibition.
  • In the exhibition you will also find a large screen display which shows the bench memos of all the cases being heard at the Court that day. You may collect an A4 copy of the bench memos from reception which will provide you with information on which justices are sitting and the point of law in question. These are currently available on the website for each hearing.
  • If you require any assistance or notice any issues with the televisions or the bench memo display screen, please visit reception.
  • supreme court exhibition
    The exhibition is carpeted, and there are seats available if required

Public Toilets

  • There are public toilets available in multiple areas around the Supreme Court. On entry, there is an accessible toilet to the right of the reception, next to Courtroom 3. In addition, there are two accessible toilets to the left of Courtroom 1 on the second floor.
  • On the lower ground floor, there are 3 public toilets and an accessible toilet near the café. This toilet also provides baby changing facilities
  • The lower ground accessible toilet near the café measures 241 x 155cm.
  • The ground floor accessible toilet near the reception and outside courtroom 3 measures 214cm x 200.5cm
  • The accessible toilet on the second floor near courtroom 1 measures 199 x 156cm.
Accessible toilets
Accessible toilets on the ground floor outside Courtroom 3
Accessible toilets at the Supreme Court
Accessible toilets on the lower ground floor near the café
Supreme Court Accessible toilet with baby changing facilities
Accessible toilet on the lower ground also has baby changing facilities.

Café

  • A cafeteria for visitors is available on the lower ground floor. The café can be reached by stairs or a lift. To access the café, walk through the exhibition centre. The exhibition and café floor are all level. Tables and chairs are well spaced apart and can be moved if necessary. The chairs are upright and do not have arm rests. The café is self-service however, if you need assistance, the staff will be happy to assist.
  • Shop: There is a small souvenir shop located in the café. If you have any queries or require assistance with souvenirs, the cafe staff are always on hand to assist you.
supreme court cafe
Café provides spaced seating and a counter to collect and/or order food

Additional information

  • The Supreme Court's Information Officers are provided with equality and diversity training.
  • All visitor service and security staff are provided with fire evacuation training and will assist visitors in the event of an evacuation.
  • We do not have a coatroom or storage area to hold any additional items.
  • We do not have an area to power mobility scooters or battery powered wheelchairs.

Future plans

  • The Supreme Court is embarking upon delivering a three-year Visitor Access Strategy which aims to improve the access to the Court to its visitors.
  • Your feedback is welcome at the Supreme Court and can be provided by completing a feedback form on your visit, downloading the QR code and completing the Survey Monkey or contacting enquiries via email.

Contact information

Address: The Supreme Court, Parliament Square, London SW1P 3BD

Telephone: 0207 960 1500/900

Email enquiries@supremecourt.uk

Website: Supreme Court and or Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

Hours of operation when the building is open: We are closed on weekends and bank holidays, opening hours are from 9.30am to 4.30pm. However please note that at the current time to reduce contact with others and to minimise the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus, we are restricting access to the building for external visitors..

Hearings are currently online and more information can be found on our website.

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