Articles Before the Law Courts; public precincts and places

Grimshaw’s Melbourne studio welcomed guests to its Breakfast Talk in August for a discussion that looked at legal precincts as urban forms that express the rule of law.

Guest speaker, Associate Professor Peter D. Rush, Melbourne Law School, explored the formation of legal precincts within a range of cultural contexts, and the place-making generated by them. In drawing on stories about the Melbourne CBD Legal Precinct, the home of common law (between the Cities of London and Westminster), Canberra’s national and state legal precincts, and Kasumigaseki in Tokyo, Peter considered the effect a law court design may have on individuals within the court system and how the collective experience of legal precincts may contribute to a society.

Prof. Rush’s considerations included attempts to make a place for Indigenous peoples with court buildings and precincts in Australia.

Fundamentally, each legal precinct and place presented by Prof. Rush demonstrated how architecture and spatial arrangements within the public and private realms of legal precincts expresses the rule of law and supports the pursuit of justice.

"In thinking about the place of law, there are things other than the courts that demand our attention. Precincts are one of the ways in which law remediates its relationship with the public."

Peter D Rush, Associate Professor, Melbourne Law School

"Peter’s insights into legal precincts as urban forms that express the rule of law made for an important reminder of the power of architecture and urban design."

Andrew Perez, Partner, Grimshaw