Visits to the courts
You can visit court buildings around the country when the courts are sitting. You are welcome to go into courtrooms and observe most cases. You cannot go into courtrooms where the case is being heard in camera - this means that it is being heard in private. Before you make a visit, look in the Legal Diary section of this website to find out what cases are listed for hearing.
Groups are welcome to visit the Criminal Courts of Justice on a pre-arranged guided basis. The space available in courtrooms for members of the public is limited and attending without without prior notice can be very unsatisfactory. Courtrooms are often crowded and it may be difficult to follow the proceedings without advance information.
Group visits include an opportunity to discuss the operation of the courts with a practising barrister. In addition, second level student groups can participate in a mock criminal trial playing parts of judge, barrister, solicitor, accused, witness and juror. They can also report on the case for a newspaper or for television or draw a sketch of what's going on in the courtroom. Reports and sketches can be entered for our competition.
Details of guided visits
Visits are conducted twice daily at 9.15 a.m. and 1.10 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at certain times during the year. They commence at the 'Schools Meeting Point' sign in the Great Hall in the Criminal Courts of Justice.
Groups should be accompanied by one teacher for every 12 students with not more than 24 students in any group.
Every effort will be made to enable groups attend at a court hearing. However, the nature of court proceedings is such that there may be days when there are no suitable cases at hearing at the time of the visit. In addition the cases may not be suitable - e.g. the evidence may be disturbing for younger students.
To book a visit:
Contact the Courts Service Information Office at firstname.lastname@example.org at least six months before you wish to visit.
The day of your visit:
- Assemble at the 'Schools Meeting Point' sign in the Great Hall in the Criminal Courts of Justice no later then 9.10 a.m. for the morning visit and 1.05 p.m. for the afternoon visit
- Members of the group should be in school uniform where appropriate
- Swith off all mobile phones
- Note that the taking of photographs inside the court building is prohibited
- We regret that we are unable to offer parking facilities, however street parking is available and the Phoenix Park is nearby.
Format of visit:
- A barrister will meet your group and introduce you to the building and work carried out there
- You will be brought to a courtroom for further discussion and to take part in a mock trial (the details of which will be provided to you in advance of your visit)
- Approximately 15 minutes before a court hearing commences you will be directed to the relevant courtroom to observe a court in session
- Given that court proceedings can be long and protracted, we recommend that you stay in the court until 1.00 p.m. (for morning visits) and 4.00 p.m. (for afternoon visits) to afford yourself an opportunity to follow what is happening.
In the court building
You should remain quiet while in the corridors and other parts of the court building and refrain from discussing anything you heard in the courtroom. Eating and drinking is not allowed except indesignated areas.
In the courtroom
The court deals with serious matters affecting people's lives. You should show respect by remaining quiet and not causing any disturbanceto the court or other people in the courtroom. Anyone interfering with the work of the court will be asked to leave.
Useful material to read in advance of your visit: