Unicorns and Urinals: The Troubling History of Contemporary Court Design

Linda Mulcahy (London)

Berliner Seminar Recht im Kontext
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Villa Jaffé
Wallotstraße 10, 14193 Berlin


Audioaufnahme der Veranstaltung

This lecture seeks to ignite debate about the relationship between due process, participatory democracy and architecture by exploring the extent to which the design of criminal courthouses facilitates participation in, and scrutiny of, the modern justice system. By reference to research on data drawn from government archives and Ministry of Justice records it will interrogate the success of government departments in imagining and commissioning courtrooms which reflect the frequently competing goals of security, accessibility, transparency, mystery, authority and legibility. It will examine the apparent paradox that as we have moved towards a mature democracy, the public and defendants have become increasingly restricted and spatially marginalised in modern courts.

Linda Mulcahy joined the LSE Law Department in 2010. Having gained degrees in law, legal theory and the history of art and a PhD in sociology, Linda’s work has a strong interdisciplinary flavour. Her research focuses on disputes and their resolution and she has studied the socio-legal dynamics of disputes in a number of contexts including the car distribution industry, NHS, divorce, public sector complaints systems and judicial review. Her work often has an empirical focus and she has received a number of grants from the ESRC, AHRC, Department of Health, Nuffield Foundation and Lotteries Fund in support of her work. Most recently she has written a book on the history of ways in which the design of law courts conditions the enjoyment of due process. She is currently in receipt of a Leverhulme grant (with Emma Rowden) to write a second book on the modern history of court design.