The Democratic Courthouse: A Modern History of Design, Due Process and Dignity examines the relationship between architectural design, due process and dignity within a democratic society. Drawing on a detailed analysis of public and private government archives, this monograph charts how civil servants, judges, lawyers, architects, engineers and security experts have talked about English and Welsh courthouses in the corridors of Whitehall over the last 50 years.
The book examines the apparent paradox—despite the democratic ideals promoted by the modern state, lay people have become increasingly spatially marginalised in courthouses over the past 50 years. This book argues that this trend is made possible by the noticeable absence of discussions around how spatial design impacts upon the rendering of justice. It reveals how particular ways of ordering space have materialised in the democratic age, and queries the extent to which pre-democratic practices have been challenged. Exploring the hitherto private discussions over how courts have been designed provides contemporary relevance to debates on the transformation of civic space, the rise of the risk society, and the way in which state institutions have been co-opted by elite groups in the post-democratic era.
This book reports upon the findings of a research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust (UK) (2015-2017). The research was also generously supported by UTS through a Distinguished Visiting Scholar Grant and its International Researcher Development Scheme.