Behind the scenes at Derby's criminal justice system


On Saturday, May 18, 2024, the Derby Justice Centre will open its historic doors to the public, offering a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the criminal justice system.

This event will allow families to try on judges' gowns and learn firsthand how judges prepare for cases.

Highlights of the Open Day:

Historic Exploration: Visitors can explore the centuries-old court building, part of which dates back to the 17th century. The centrepiece is the original Shire Hall, completed in 1659, alongside two 19th-century courtrooms and a modern extension completed in 2003.

Behind-the-Scenes Access: Attendees can visit the cells, relive famous criminal trials, and tour a family courtroom. A unique medieval oubliette, or dungeon, beneath the building offers a glimpse into the past, where prisoners once awaited their sentences before being transferred to the former Derby Gaol via underground tunnels.

Interactive Experiences: Judges, magistrates, and court staff will be available to answer questions. Families can engage with representatives from HMP Foston Hall Prison, the Probation Service, and the Crown Prosecution Service to learn about their crucial roles in the justice system.

Statements from Officials:

Justice Minister Mike Freer:
"As well as a world-leading justice system, we have a truly historic courts estate, such as the unique court in Derby, telling centuries' worth of fascinating stories. We are investing millions of pounds every year to ensure our court buildings are fit for the future and reflect our high standards, while also preserving their unique and incredibly important history."

Nick Goodwin, CEO of HM Courts and Tribunals Service:
"We are delighted to be opening our doors to the public in Derby, sharing all the work we do here at HMCTS to ensure justice is delivered for victims. Our courts are working at full throttle to tackle the backlogs, and we are investing £220 million for essential modernisation and repair work of our court buildings."

This open day promises to be an enlightening experience, shedding light on the important work done by the Derby Justice Centre and its dedicated staff. Visitors will gain a deeper appreciation for the historical significance and ongoing efforts to maintain and modernize this vital institution. Photo by ChvhLR10, Wikimedia commons.

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