On a cold and wet Monday morning, I set off to visit the Royal Courts of Justice for the very first time to file an urgent emergency application to prevent enforcement in the High Court of a possession order transferred from the County Court. Curious yet eager to know if it was anything like I had imagined during a lecture on the English legal system at university.
As I entered the court into the main hall, I glanced at the towering arched pillars, resembling that of a cathedral with beautifully stained windows. The walls were framed with pictures of Lord Chancellors and keepers of the Great Seal while the floor was covered in dazzling mosaic marble. There were passages and stairs in all directions, and I had to find my way to the Enforcement office.
Having gone through the security check as per the court’s regular protocol, I was handed a directions sheet which led to the Enforcement office. I knew that getting lost in a building so large in scale was inevitable. I, nevertheless, navigated my way through the corridors to get to the Enforcement office located in the Queen’s Bench Division.
Walking up the stairs, I could smell a woody scent. The dim lighting depicted a Victorian setting surrounded by sculptures of top judges wearing ancient robes.
A real pity that no photos were allowed.
I observed experienced counsel making their way to the courtrooms while administrators of the court were engrossed in their paperwork. I eventually reached the Enforcement office where I was served by an extremely helpful Enforcement officer.
I filed the application and asked for an urgent hearing as I had been instructed to do by the solicitor with conduct of the case. The Enforcement officer said that I had two options in relation to the hearing, the first option was that she could check to see if there were any slots available for the Masters listing and if there were, then I would have to go before the Master myself for only 10 minutes and request a stay of the enforcement of the possession order.
The second option was to wait for the Master to process the application within the next few days and if they decided to give us a hearing, it would be for a full hearing. I telephoned the solicitor with conduct of the case and asked her which option I should choose. She asked me to request option two. Therefore, I asked for that option. The Enforcement officer then directed me to the Court Fee Room to make the necessary payment for the application.
Once I filed the application, I left the court through a small exit and that was the end of my short visit.
Upon reflection, I enjoyed being able to explore and learn how the court operates. On my next visit, I would like to attend a court hearing to learn the court etiquette and observe counsel as they present their cases.