Page last updated at 14:55 GMT, Thursday, 1 October 2009 15:55 UK

Five things about the Supreme Court

Supreme Court Image

By Dominic Casciani
BBC News

As the UK's most powerful court the new Supreme Court, which opened on Thursday, has been designed to reflect its constitutional significance, as the images above reveal.

The UK's Supreme Court replaces the Law Lords in Parliament as the most powerful court in the country. It is the last court of appeal in all matters other than criminal cases in Scotland.

The £59m court is situated opposite the Houses of Parliament at the renovated Middlesex Guildhall. It has three courtrooms which it's claimed have been "specially designed for their purpose: discussing important points of law in the atmosphere of a learned seminar, rather than the adversarial environment of many other courts".

Two of the courtrooms have retained the traditional original Victorian-Gothic fittings, while the third has been completely modernised, refitted and opened to light.

In all courtrooms, Justices sit at a crescent-shaped desk. Most cases will be heard by five Justices although nine will sit to rule on the most important cases. Opposite them will sit the legal teams - with six spaces for advocates.

The air of formality is lifted by the bright carpet, designed by Sir Peter Blake, a pop artist best known for his work on the cover of the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band album. The carpet, and the court's more formal-looking logo, depict the four emblems of the constituent parts of the UK - the Welsh leek, English rose, the Scottish thistle and the Northern Irish flax.



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