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16 April 2018

Supreme Court hearings in Belfast - details of sitting and access

Please note the following information regarding the Supreme Court hearings in Belfast. This information is available from the Supreme Court UK webiste at:

30 April - 2 May 2018

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom will be sitting in the Inn of Court, which is in The Bar Library off the Great Hall of the Royal Courts of Justice, between Monday 30 April and Wednesday 2 May 2018.

The Supreme Court will hear the following cases:

Monday 30 April, 10:30 - 16:00

In the matter of an application by Siobhan Mclaughlin for Judicial Review (AP) (Northern Ireland)
On appeal from the Court of Appeal Civil Division (Northern Ireland)

Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 May, 10:30 - 16:00

Lee (Respondent) v Ashers Baking Company Ltd and others (Appellants) (Northern Ireland)
On appeal from the Court of Appeal Civil Division (Northern Ireland)

Access for members of the public

Members of the public wishing to attend the Court's hearing are advised that we are expecting a large number of visitors each day.

Arrangements have been made for an 'overflow' courtroom to be available, where a live video feed of the proceedings will be shown. Even with these arrangements in place, we do expect that demand for seats is likely to exceed the number of spaces we can safely make available to the public. For this reason, a queuing and ticketing system will be in place each day, with those arriving earliest being offered seats in the courtroom once public admission begins. When the courtroom is full, a further tranche of visitors will be allowed into the overflow room.

Due to the large number of parties and interveners in this case, and the legal representation associated with each of them, the courtroom will be very busy. Having restricted the number of lawyers seated in the courtroom and added as many extra seats as we safely can, we will be able to allocate approximately 60 seats for the public in the courtroom. The overflow courtroom will offer additional public access to the hearing.

Anyone who is unable to attend in person can watch the hearings live via the UK Supreme Court's web stream.

Ticket allocation

All those planning to attend should enter via the main entrance to the Royal Courts of Justice (Chichester Street, Belfast, BT1 3JF). The Royal Courts of Justice building opens at 08:30 each day.

All visitors will need to go through security checks when entering the building. These checks are similar to those at airports.

Once through security, attendees will be directed to the Supreme Court reception desk situated outside the entrance to The Bar Library.

A queuing system will be in operation and from 08:45 each day tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Entering the courtroom and overflow room

Seats in both the courtroom and overflow room will be unreserved.

Ticketholders with access needs will be given priority access to both the courtroom and overflow room, at 09:45 each day to minimise the length of time they must queue. Wheelchair spaces have been reserved and a hearing loop will be in operation.

Access for all other ticketholders will commence 15 minutes later, at 10:00 each day.

Ticketholders will be able to leave the courtroom and overflow room for short periods and return during the day, for example at lunchtime.

Please note that, in line with the Court's usual practice, items of clothing or other materials bearing messages that undermine the dignity of the court or which seek to interfere with the proper administration of justice will not be permitted into the building.

There are no cloakroom facilities available and those planning to attend are discouraged from bringing bulky items of luggage into the building.

The entire proceedings will be streamed live via the Supreme Court website in the usual way.

Judgments will not follow immediately after the hearing. We expect that decisions will follow later in 2018.


Media will be accommodated in the "Members Room" which is an area adjoining the courtroom itself. In this room, the hearing will be viewable live via a big screen and work stations will be setup on long tables, with power and WiFi available.

Please apply for accreditation by emailing Press Enquiries.

Finding Us

The Bar Library is located within the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast and can be reached easily by public or private transport. Google Maps reference.


The nearest available car parks are located at Victoria Square, Hilton Waterfront Hotel, Montgomery Street and Cromac Street. Please note charges will apply.


The Bar Library is fully accessible for wheelchair users. Please contact General Enquiries if there are any arrangements which may assist you further.



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