The Supreme Court is a recent phenomenon in the UK, having only been operating since 2009. Housed in the Middlesex Guildhall near the Houses of Parliament, the Court buildings house three courtrooms and an exhibition. Few people know that people can visit the Supreme Court for free, whenever the building is open.

The frieze outside the Supreme Court

This amazing deep relief frieze is part of a longer one which has imagery of King John at Runnymeade, sealing the Magna Carta which shows even he is not above the law. There are statues of women representing ideals such as truth, law, government and justice. It was created by Henry Fehr, a London architectural sculptor.

There have been legal buildings on this site in Parliament Square for nearly 1000 years.

Before that, it was the location for the Westminster Abbey’s Old Belfry and Sanctuary Tower, which was used by fugitives seeking refuge. A series of courthouses then stood on the site and in 1889 the first Guildhall was built. This housed Middlesex County Council and Quarter Sessions (local court sessions held four times a year) until the building became too small for use. A second, neo-Tudor Guildhall was built in 1893.

The building which stands there today, the third Guildhall, was built in 1906 and opened just before World War I in 1913. It was designed by architect James Gibson and built from Portland stone, with decorative features by Henry Fehr. It is often described as Art Nouveau Gothic.

These art nouveau features provide a decorative touch to what could be a rather modern and simplistic interior