Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Supreme Court: watching the Justices

Supreme doesn't mean secret. You can usually watch Supreme Court hearings from the public seats in the courtrooms. Although the Brexit Article 50 hearing is likely to be, er, busy.

On a normal day, if there are no places left it might be worth waiting, as some observers may just want to sample the atmosphere rather than stay for the full session.

All hearings are filmed. If a hearing is likely to be popular, the court might relay it on a screen in an overspill area with temporary seating.

All hearings are relayed live on two small screens outside the café on the lower ground floor in a space for standing, not sitting.

And you don't have to be in the building. You can watch live or catch up afterwards on https://www.supremecourt.uk

Judgment summaries are available on the Supreme Court's YouTube channel. The comments section has been switched off, presumably to avoid Twitteresque slanging matches and anonymous denunciations.

Here is Lord Mance reading the summary of the judgment in PJS v News Group Newspapers Ltd. On my mobile (but not my laptop), YouTube serves up subtitles by a mad poet. YouTube's voice-recognition software needs further development.

'Solicitors' can come out as 'sisters' or 'a-listers'.

The encounter involved the partner of AB, not of an insect. The double vision is an occasional feature.

You'll never get this one without help. 'Were lured to some descendants' is Software-ese for 'while Lord Toulson dissents'. I repeat, this imposition has everything to do with how YouTube reaches my BlackBerry via a distant planet, and nothing to do with the court. 

PS if you want to see a hearing, please check in advance that there will be one on that day. The court provides free written information for children and adults, some of it translated into other languages.


  1. Talking of Article 50, they have said that all 11 justices will sit. But I think (am not sure) that all the courtrooms are set up for a maximum of nine justices. Will there be folding tables at the ends of the row for the two most junior ones? Or would that obstruct the fire escape routes?

  2. Yep, nine is usually the max - just have to wait and see I guess.