Today marks the formal opening of the UK Supreme Court with the swearing in of its 11 justices in a ceremony in London. The Supreme Court, housed at Middlesex Guildhall, replaces the Law Lords as the last court of appeal in all matters other than criminal cases in Scotland.
According to BBC news (“UK Supreme Court judges sworn in”), Lord Phillips, the first President of the Court, said: “This is the last step in the separation of powers in this country. We have come to it fairly gently and gradually, but we have come to the point where the judges are completely separated from the legislature and executive. … The change is one of transparency. It’s going to be very much easier for the public to come to our hearings. … I would hope that the court is still sitting in 100 years’ time and that when people look back at this step that they see it as a very significant step in the constitution of this country.”
The Supreme Court sits for the first time later on Thursday to deal with a relatively minor issue relating to legal costs. Its first major appeal hearing follows next week in a case concerning terrorist suspects whose assets have been frozen.