There is plenty I don't know about the Supreme Court, but let's run through a few basics:
Your Swiss Army knife and other sharps will be well looked after during your visit.
My neighbour who helped to rescue Apollo 13 goes there just for the café.
is no jury, no witness, no cross-examination. At hearings, the QCs and
barristers don't usually wear wigs or gowns, the justices never, so you
can amuse yourself by working out which suits are bespoke.
is not allowed during hearings. If a dishevelled woman with
leopard-print spectacle frames glares at you when you reach for your
camera, thank me afterwards - I've saved you from being pounced on by an
people experience panic (atavistically, the
terrifying presence of the great god Pan) when entering
a courtroom. This feeling is not confined to the barristers. There is
an inexorable coded system at work here with a faint folk memory of
But keep calm - we are not in America. People don't bang gavels or jump up crying: 'Objection, your honour!'
More key facts coming shortly. Meanwhile, my last visit to the court started badly when my canvas art bag was eaten by the door of a
Routemaster (real Routemasters don't have doors). The hearing was brief so here's just one
drawing - of George Spencer Watson's portrait in Court 1 of Sir Montagu Sharpe, who deserves more than 'Forgotten Man of Middlesex' as the subtitle of his biography.