My husband and I are traveling to England from Sept 10 through 25. We will be spending 7 days in London. I am a retired attorney - I would love to learn about and see how the old bailey works. Any ideas of special tours on the subject? How do I get in to see a trial?
I don't know about a trial, but London Walks has a walking tour called "The Inns of Court - Legal and Illegal London" that takes you on a walk through the Inns Of Court and talks about the legal system. I'd recommend it. Their website is www.walks.com
I will try that tour. I just googled public access to criminal trials in London and got the "city of london" website which said that Central Criminal Court has public galleries that are open each day for viewing of trials in session.
As well as the Old Bailey, consider Southwark Crown Court, which is the next most important criminal court in London. For example, when a former government cabinet minister and his ex-wife were prosecuted recently on charges of conspiring to pervert the course of justice (he persuaded her to say she had been driving when he was caught on a speed camera, they later divorced, she went to the newspapers, it all got very ugly and both ended up in prison) - that was tried at Southwark. It's 3 minutes walk from London Bridge Station. You can see the daily case listings on the following website (just scroll down to Southwark, but the Central Criminal Court is on there as well): http://www.courtserve.net/courtlists/current/crown/indexv2crowndailies.htm I notice that Rebekah Brooks, the former newspaper editor charged in connection with the phone hacking scandal, is up for pre-trial review today at the Old Bailey.
Probably not as interesting as the Old Bailey, but you can also visit the (still quite new) Supreme Court - it has a small exhibition and a self-guided tour. You can also sit in on cases it you really wanted. Be aware that there are generally security checks for entry to court buildings, so you need to read carefully on the websites what is and isn't allowed to avoid getting turned away (eg no phones or cameras at the Old Bailey, I think - but you can take photos in the Supreme Court, provided its not sitting).
Don't forget the Royal Courts of Justice (the Law Courts) on the Strand. Beautiful Victorian building. http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/rcj-rolls-building/rcj/tours
Thank you so much for all of your great suggestions! I'm keeping them in my travel journal to take with me in September!
I am seconding the idea of a London Walk. I have never been on that particular one, but every tour I have taken with them has been excellent. I have also wandered into the Temple area, by Temple Church, and it's a quiet space where you can observe people going about their working days. I imagine the tour would bring you in there, but if for some reason it doesn't, give it a look. You can enter right across from the Royal Courts of Justice (and both are near the Twinings tea shop, which is a bonus). I love that part of London!
I am "third"ing the London Walks tour. If you're able to make it work with your schedule, try to get Shaughan as your guide for the "Legal London" walk; I think he leads the Monday tours. Went with him a couple of years ago, and he was fantastic. He's an actor, so he's got the good voice and makes the characters he talks about come to life. That being said, I've been on a few London Walks walks, and each guide has been wonderful.
A fourth vote here for London Walks! Go to their website that Laura gave you. You'll be amazed by the variety of walks they offer.
I'm fifth for London Walks. Took three of them on my last trip a couple weeks ago. Their guides are excellent. Inns of Court are beautiful. Have a grea visit.
You can go to the Royal Inns of Court on your own. No photos or cell phone use, but you can take them in with you. You can go into any courtroom and watch the proceedings. There are a couple of really nice pubs there too. The Bank of England Pub and Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (145 Fleet St) that goes back to the days of Dickens (go down the stairs to explore it).
A sixth for London Walks and its Inns of Court walk, which I have taken.