THE MIDDLE TEMPLAR PROFILES THE SUPREME COURT AND ITS BUILDING | RANKINGS IN INTERNATIONAL SURVEYS | OVERSEAS CONFERENCES, ATTACHMENTS AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS | VISITS BY DISTINGUISHED GUESTS
The Middle Templar profiles the Supreme Court and its Building
The Middle Templar, a publication of the Middle Temple, one of the four Inns of Court in the United Kingdom, published an article1 in its Winter 2010 issue. Written by Master Claudia Ackner, the article traced her visit to Singapore in 2010 where she met with Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong and other members of the legal community.
The article highlighted the architectural heritage of the old Supreme Court building and discussed the impressive architecture of the new building. “We Brits had built in classical, dignified style – dome, Corinthian columns, solid and stolid stone – the old Supreme Court. It was opened in August 1939, just in time for World War II… By 2000 the government decided that the building would be better put to use as an art gallery and so the new Supreme Court was built”, it noted.
Elaborating further, the article described the building’s unique cladding in glass and pink Italian marble “that permits light to enter during the day, and by night the building emits a warm glow”. There was also “a huge cathedral-like central nave” bisecting the building in addition to the spectacular views to be enjoyed from the “flying saucer” where the Chief Justice sat literally and figuratively. The article also drew attention to the building’s provision of electronic aids, which allowed lawyers the convenience of filing documents online and using touch screens to check in to court. During her visit, Master Ackner also had the opportunity to discourse on a wide range of topics with the Chief Justice.
Supreme Court building takes prime spot on cover of American publication
The National Center for State Courts in the United States gave the Supreme Court Building pride of place on the cover of its publication ‘Retrospective of Courthouse Design 2001 – 2010’, which also featured photographs of nine other court buildings.
The publication, into its third edition, is the only one of its kind dedicated to courthouse architecture and design. Each edition is essentially devoted to chronicling major courthouse design trends of the decade and illustrating the architectural innovations and solutions sought in addressing evolving judicial needs.
The entry on Singapore’s nine-storey Supreme Court Building, one of only six non-United States courthouses selected for the publication, noted that it had been designed to reflect the hierarchies in the judicial system and that while the civil and criminal courts are located on the lower floors, the Court of Appeal is symbolically raised above the other courtrooms.
It added that “the building’s architectural vocabulary and the design of its public spaces are intended to convey qualities representative of Singapore’s legal system as well as the image of dignity, history, judicial symbolism, transparency, accessibility, and the enforcement of justice”.
1 The article is summarised here with kind permission of the Masters of the Bench of The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.
2 The cover is reproduced here with kind permission of the National Center for State Courts.