Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Only In England?

I had lunch in London today with someone for whom I care a good deal. After lunch we strolled somewhat aimlessly in the autumn sunshine until we found ourselves approaching Westminster Bridge, along the Embankment. Thus we came to Parliament Square. In our random way we crossed Whitehall, and we decided to have a look at the Supreme Court building, formerly the Middlesex Guildhall, in which incarnation I used to know it well.
It was about 3.45 pm, and as we approached the doors a polite uniformed man asked if we wished to enter. We did, and after a professional security check (in which my HMCS photo ID cut no ice whatsoever) we were told that Court 3 was sitting - so in we went. We were two of about eight members of the public in the court, and there, a few paces away, we saw the backs of various barristers (some bewigged, some not) and, facing us, Lord Phillips, the senior judge in this jurisdiction, flanked by four of his colleagues.
The court rose at 4 p.m., and I have no idea what the matter before their Lordships had been, other than the fact that it was a Privy Council matter, thus an appeal from a Commonwealth jurisdiction.
I am proud of the fact that my guest and I were able, with little fuss, to enter and watch the proceedings of our highest court. Next time you are in London, give it a try.

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