If you have yet to see the inside of Singapore's highest court, the Court of Appeal, you can get a chancethis month during one of the Supreme Court's commemorative tours.
In celebration of 10 years since the Supreme Court premises was officially opened by former president S R Nathan on Jan 7, 2006, 10 free guided tours will be held from next Tuesday (June 14) to June 24, where visitors will learn about the design, architecture and history of the iconic building at 1 Supreme Court Lane.
Prior to its move, the Supreme Court was housed in what is today the National Gallery Singapore. Construction of the new 77,609 sq m building began in 2002. The first case was heard there in June 2005.
Compared to the imposing Corinthian and Ionic columns that fronted the old Supreme Court building, the new premises took on a much more modern and sleek form - with the extensive use of glass, marble and hard steel to symbolise the firmness and impartiality of justice.
In between viewing the beautiful rosa aurora marble-clad facade and the large skylights that represent the transparency and openness of the law, visitors on the 11/2-hourtour will get an insight into the thoughtful design details that were incorporated by British architecture firm Foster & Partners, which is behind the design of the building. Besides touring the Heritage Gallery and Viewing Gallery, visitors will get a chance to visit the Court of Appeal, the highest appellate court, which is housed symbolically at the apex of the Supreme Court.
Here, recent prominent cases, such as Kho Jabing's appeal against his death sentence for murder and Yong Vui Kong's appeal against his caning sentence for drug trafficking, were heard.
Interesting design elements to look out for include the large skylight above the Court of Appeal - a modern interpretation of the dome located at the National Gallery.
Visitors may browse through the Learning Court - an interactive space that explains the different facets of the judiciary and judicial process - in their own time.
Besides the Supreme Court, visitors will also be taken on a tour of the National Gallery, which opened in November last year. There, they will visit areas of the former Supreme Court such as Courtroom 1, the Chief Justice's Office and Chamber, the stately Rotunda and the remaining preserved holding cells. Each tour is limited to 25 people on a first-come, first-served basis.
Information about the tours can be found on the Supreme Court website at www.supremecourt.gov.sg