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date: 19 August 2019

Law courtlocked

  • Derek Linstrum

Extract

Building in which justice is dispensed and, since the late 18th century, a significant architectural focus of a city. Although Francis Bacon, Viscount Verulam, wrote ‘the place of justice is an hallowed place’, in the 16th century courts of law were not the monumental buildings they were to become later. In Roman times justice had been dispensed in basilicas: large meeting halls that served other commercial and public uses as well as incorporating in the tribune a dais on which the magistrate sat in court surrounded by his assessors. To emphasize his authority he sat beneath an effigy of the emperor, in whose name he was giving judgement. This linking of law courts with civic life and government continued in varying degrees in most European countries until the 19th century. Even the so-called Palazzi della Ragione, for example at Padua (1172–1219) and Vicenza (1441–94), and Palais de Justice, such as those at ...

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