Supreme Court to sit in Belfast next year

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Jul 31, 2017
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The court will leave its London headquarters to fight the perception that it is too London-focused

John Stillwell/PA

The Supreme Court is to sit in Belfast for the first time, its outgoing president has said.

In June the UK’s highest court sat in Scotland for the first time, hearing a week of appeals at Edinburgh. And last Friday, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury said: “I am particularly proud that the court would next be sitting in Belfast and Cardiff.” It is thought that the sitting in Belfast will take place next year. 

The moves to take the Supreme Court outside London are being made after Lord Neuberger expressed concern that the public might think that the court was too “England-orientated and London-focused”. That perception might be exacerbated by the court always sitting physically in London, he said. One way to change that would be for the court to sit in the devolved jurisdictions of the UK.

During the week in Scotland all the appeals heard by the justices were Scottish appeals, but in future the court would hear appeals from any part of the UK, even if sitting outside London, he said. Lord Neuberger added that the move to Edinburgh provided an opportunity for the public and lawyers to observe the workings of the court first hand.

A Supreme Court spokesman said: “The details of the sitting dates and the cases that will be heard are currently being confirmed and more details will be provided in due course.”

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