Rent a Court

I visited the website of the new UK Supreme Court (UKSuC?) recently — it’s a good-looking site, better, in my estimation than the new US Supreme Court site and, alas, our own — but I have to confess I was shocked to see what amounts to a real estate ad front and nearly centre on the home page. Three images are featured in boxes leading to important content. The one on the right is an advert for the renting of the Supreme Court building as a venue for events:

click image to enlarge

The text at the other end of the link reads as follows:

Situated at the heart of historic Parliament Square, the home of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom offers a unique guest experience.

Opposite world famous landmarks such as Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the home of the Supreme Court in the recently restored Grade II* listed Middlesex Guildhall is available for a variety of events.

A Gothic style building built in 1913, it provides a highly prestigious setting for dinners and receptions which are sure to capture the imagination.

Eye-catching features include majestic ceilings, intricate carved beams, an abundance of exquisite stained glass and world famous artwork. New artwork was also incorporated throughout the building as part of the extensive renovation.

I knew Britain was hard up for money, but this seems to me to be just a little too much. Tacky. Or am I way too “old skool” on this?


  1. If it’s a new development, then I do think it’s a little odd. But consider Osgoode Hall. CONSTANT wedding photos in the gardens, and I’ve certainly seen the dining room used for events. It’s one thing to be holding a rave in the actual courtrooms, but if it’s a beautiful, historical space with other more appropriate areas, I think it’s a pretty common and not entirely horrible trend.

  2. Follow-up comment…there is no good acronym. “UKHL” was fine. Now our choices are “UKSC” or “UKSuC”, either of which will be pronounced “U-K-suck”, or “SCUK” (pronounced “skuck”) which is no better.

  3. Thanks, Sarah, for your comments. I don’t object so much—if at all—to people using courtrooms or court buildings for festive occasions: they’re citizens who have paid for the buildings after all.

    What bothered me was the use of the main page of the website for the top court in the land as a platform for rental of space. The juxtaposition of market and good old blind justice just doesn’t feel right to me.

  4. Gary P. Rodrigues

    Perhaps the Brits have got it right. It is just real estate after all. The idea of sanctifying the Supreme Court building as a “temple of justice” is an American idea that we could well do without.

  5. See my comment from Oct 09: will there be a market for sweatshirts (or other paraphernalia) with SCUK on them?

    I didn’t anticipate having ‘this space for rent’ on the back, though.

  6. I find it frustrating that the new UK Supreme Court came into being in 2009 yet our new 2010 McGill Guide doesn’t say how this court should be cited! What an oversight.

  7. Lyonette Louis-Jacques

    I thought “SCOTUK” as a take off on “SCOTUS”, but that “UKSC” seems to be the acronym the Court’s using?