When you feel the air-conditioning sweep across your neck in the library whilst you pour over cases such as Rogers v Whitaker (1992) 175 CLR 479 know that mid-semester break is only two weeks away. Whilst you're neck deep in case readings, I've found that it's so refreshing to go to some seriously iconic legal place where you can feel like a material girl. ✨
What can you expect once you walk into the High Court anyway? Aside from security gates that prevent you from taking in any dangerous objects, you can take in your unbridled enthusiasm for being in Court settings. I can't stress that I had no idea, but the High Court is a high traffic tourism spot in Canberra. So much, so- that they have a tour guide who will enhance your V.I.P experience of the High Court and spill some surprising secrets.
1. Courtroom I
I don't know why I always imagined that our High Court could feature on the front cover of a dark academia catalogue, but I have to say that the purple was a surprising touch. One of the first Easter eggs in the High Court is that the reason purple is used, is because it historically symbolises royalty. Aside from the trims, the Court on the Lower Ground (Court 1) is exclusively used for Constitutional matters. I found it surprising to learn that there are multiple courtrooms here and that they all have different purposes. Typically appeals and Constitutional matters are heard in this Courtroom. There's also an upper gallery since the public is encouraged to view hearings when Court is in session. To view the dates and times when the Judges are sitting, check out the schedule here.
2. Courtroom II
Courtroom II is considered the "Working Courtroom", as it is the venue for the majority of hearings. It is mostly used in cases where a full court of fewer than seven Justices is sitting. The Courtroom is also used for hearing applications for leave to appeal by video link. The Easter egg is that it's fitted with special equipment for the transmission and reception of pictures and sound between the Courtroom and other cities in Australia.
3. Courtroom 3
Courtroom III has been designed for cases which will be dealt with generally by a single Justice and is the smallest of the three courtrooms. It has a jury box so that a trial can be conducted on the rare occasions that such a case comes before the High Court. In Courtroom No. 1 are portraits of the first three Justices of the High Court. In Courtroom No. 2 the portraits of the second, third, fourth and fifth Chief Justices are displayed, and in Courtroom No. 3 are the portraits of the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth Chief Justices- tenth if we include you as the future Justice.
Fast forward to the future, I'd highly recommend visiting the High Court to not only get a free historical tour, but to better understand how our legal system operates and which matters are held in which respective courtrooms.