Old Supreme Court Building, Hong Kong

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The Legislative Council Building viewed from across Chater Road.
Statue Square facade of the Legislative Council Building.

On the south side [of Statue Square] stands the New Law Courts. It was designed in England, and the only feature of note is the inartistic roof. Like all buildings erected by the Government, the edifice has been in course of construction nearly 15 years, and is still not completed. All the granite used in the construction of this massive block of buildings is the product of the Island and the mainland.

Picturesque Hong Kong: a handbook for travellers. Hong Kong: Tillotson & Sons. 1911. pp.67–68[1]
Classical architecture was used in the design of the Building.

The Old Supreme Court Building Chinese: 舊最高法院大樓, also called the Legislative Council Building (立法會大樓/立法局大樓), was the home of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong from 1985 to 2011, and before that it housed the former Supreme Court. It is located in Central Hong Kong, along the eastern side of Statue Square, directly west of Chater Garden.

The Exterior of the Old Supreme Court is one of the declared monuments of Hong Kong.

History[edit]

The building was designed by Sir Aston Webb and Ingress Bell, the British architect responsible for the eastern façade of Buckingham Palace and the Cromwell Road frontage of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

It was built on reclaimed land, and opened on 15 January 1912. The two-storey granite building is neo-classical in style supported by Ionic columns. It is surmounted by a blind-folded statue of Justice, represented by the Themis,[2] the Greek Goddess of Justice and Law. This statue is a replica of the one erected on the Old Bailey of London.

During the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong (December 1941 to August 1945), the building was used as the headquarters of the Kempeitai (Military Police).[3]

In 1978, this building was severely affected by the construction of MTR; therefore, it had to undergo some restoration afterwards.

For a time in the 1980s, the Supreme Court was moved to the Former French Mission Building, which was then used by the Victoria District Court.

The building became the Legislative Council Building in 1985, and the Supreme Court of Hong Kong was moved to the Supreme Court Building, Hong Kong and remained there until 1997. It is now renamed the High Court Building.

In 2011 the Legislative Council was moved to the Central Government Complex, Tamar, and the now vacant building will revert to a judicial function, housing the Court of Final Appeal from 2015 onwards.[4]

Previous homes of the Legislative Council[edit]

Before 1985, the Legislative Council met at other locations:

Prior to the handover in 1997, the Provisional Legislative Council was executing work to set up the post handover legislature. It met in Shenzhen from 1996 to 1997 at the Shenzhen Guesthouse Hotel.

Architectural features[edit]

The plan of the Building follows a rectangular pattern and is symmetrical. The Building occupies an area of around 2,660 square metres (28,600 sq ft) (about 70 by 38 metres (230 ft × 125 ft)) and is surrounded by columns. The height of the building, from street level to the highest point, which is in the form of a Tudor crown, is about 40 metres (130 ft).

A pediment surmounts the central section of the Building facing Statue Square. The pediment is topped by a Statue of Justice and under it is the inscription "Erected AD MDCCCCX" (Erected AD 1910).

The pediment incorporates a semi-circular window and the carving of the British Royal Coat of Arms is above it. The shield shows the various royal emblems of the various parts of the United Kingdom: the three lions of England in the first and fourth quarters, the lion of Scotland in the second and the harp of Ireland in the third. The shield is supported by the English lion and Scottish unicorn and is surmounted by the Royal crown. The motto of the Sovereign, Dieu et mon droit (God and my right), is displayed underneath it. The figures of Mercy and Truth are located on both sides of the British Royal Coat of Arms.

Inside the building[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°16′52″N 114°09′36″E / 22.280996°N 114.160116°E / 22.280996; 114.160116

Preceded by
Central Government Offices – Main Wing
Home of the
Legislative Council of Hong Kong

1985–1997
Succeeded by
None – see Provisional Legislative Council
Preceded by
Shenzhen Guesthouse Hotel
Home of the
Provisional Legislative Council of Hong Kong

1997–1998
Succeeded by
Legislative Council Building as home to Legislative Council of Hong Kong SAR
Preceded by
None – refer to Provisional Legislative Council
Home of the
legislative council of Hong Kong SAR

1998–2011
Succeeded by
Legislative Council Complex