Court of Final Appeal Building

The Court of Final Appeal Building, also known as the Old Supreme Court Building, is the home of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong. It housed the former Supreme Court from 1912 to 1983 and the Legislative Council from 1985 to 2011. It is located at 8 Jackson Road, in Central,[2] along the eastern side of Statue Square, directly west of Chater Garden. As the Old Supreme Court, its exterior is one of the declared monuments of Hong Kong.

Court of Final Appeal Building
Court of Final Appeal Building
Former namesSupreme Court Building
Legislative Council Building
General information
TypeCourt building
Architectural styleNeo-classical
LocationHong Kong
Address8 Jackson Road, Central
Coordinates22°16′52″N 114°09′36″E / 22.280996°N 114.160116°E / 22.280996; 114.160116
Completed15 January 1912; 112 years ago (1912-01-15)
Opened7 September 2015; 8 years ago (2015-09-07) (current use)
OwnerJudiciary of Hong Kong
Diameter70 m × 38 m (230 ft × 125 ft)
Design and construction
Architect(s)Sir Aston Webb
Ingress Bell
Court of Final Appeal Building
Traditional Chinese終審法院大樓
Simplified Chinese终审法院大楼
Old Supreme Court Building
Traditional Chinese舊最高法院大樓
Simplified Chinese旧最高法院大楼

On the south side [of Statue Square] stands the New Law Courts. It was designed in England, and the only feature of note is the inartistic roof. Like all buildings erected by the Government, the edifice has been in course of construction nearly 15 years, and is still not completed. All the granite used in the construction of this massive block of buildings is the product of the Island and the mainland.

Picturesque Hong Kong: a handbook for travellers. Hong Kong: Tillotson & Sons. 1911. pp.67–68[1]

Classical architecture was used in the design of the building.



The building was designed by Sir Aston Webb and Ingress Bell,[3] the British architects responsible for the eastern façade of Buckingham Palace[2] and the Cromwell Road frontage of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Construction of the building started in 1900 and it was opened on 15 January 1912 by the Governor Sir Frederick Lugard.[2] The two-storey granite building is neo-classical in style supported by Ionic columns. It is surmounted by a 2.7 m high blindfolded statue of Justice, represented by Themis, the Greek Goddess of Justice and Law.[3] This statue was inspired by the one erected at London's Old Bailey.

During the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong (December 1941 to August 1945), the building was used as the headquarters of the Kempeitai (Military Police).[2]

In 1978, this building was severely affected by the construction of MTR, requiring restoration work.[3] As a consequence, for part of the early 1980s, the Supreme Court was moved to the Former French Mission Building,[4] which was then used by the Victoria District Court.

In 1985, the building took up service as home to the Legislative Council, when it was known as 'the Legislative Council Building', while the Supreme Court moved to the Supreme Court Building in Admiralty - renamed the High Court Building in 1997.

In 2011, the Legislative Council moved into the new Legislative Council Complex within the Central Government Complex at Tamar site.

On 7 September 2015,[5] the building reverted to its former judicial function. It now houses the Court of Final Appeal. The opening ceremony was held on 25 September 2015 by the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal Geoffrey Ma Tao-li.[6]

Architectural features


The building was erected on reclaimed land. Its foundation was formed by driving hundreds of Chinese fir tree trunks into the mixture of reclamation materials and silt on the site. As a consequence, the Building is in effect "floating" on a timber raft. Such a foundation system requires the groundwater level to be maintant level, and a groundwater replenishment system is installed to replace groundwater as required.[2]

The plan of the building follows a rectangular pattern and is symmetrical. The building occupies an area of around 2,660 square metres (28,600 sq ft) (about 70 by 38 metres (230 ft × 125 ft)) and is surrounded by columns. Its height, fronze Tudor Crown, is about 40 metres (130 ft).[2]

Themis and the royal coat of arms

A pediment surmounts the central section of the building facing Statue Square. The pediment is topped by a Statue of Justice and under it is the inscription "Erected AD MDCCCCX" (Erected AD 1910). The pediment incorporates a semi-circular window and the carving of the British royal coat of arms is above it. The shield shows the various royal emblems of the various parts of the United Kingdom: the three lions of England in the first and fourth quarters, the lion of Scotland in the second and the harp of Ireland in the third. The shield is supported by the English lion and Scottish unicorn and is surmounted by the royal crown. The motto of the sovereign, Dieu et mon droit (God and my right), is displayed underneath it. The figures of Mercy and Truth are located on both sides of the British royal arms.[2]


Interior of the building as the Legislative Council Building (1985 to 2011)


See also



  1. ^ Picturesque Hong Kong: A Handbook for Travellers. Hong Kong: Printed by Tillotson & Sons. 1911.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Legislative Council Secretariat, Information Note IN26/02-03: The Legislative Council Building (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "The Legislative Council Building". Legislative Council. Archived from the original on 23 November 2011.
  4. ^ Roberts, Denys (2006). Another Disaster: Hong Kong Sketches. The Radcliffe Press. pp. 87–88. ISBN 9781845111120.
  5. ^ Cheung, Karen (7 September 2015). "Court of Final Appeal moves into former Legislative Council Building". Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal Building opens". GlobalPost. Xinhua News Agency. 25 September 2015. Archived from the original on 27 September 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.

22°16′52″N 114°09′36″E / 22.280996°N 114.160116°E / 22.280996; 114.160116

Preceded by
Exchange Building
Home of the
Supreme Court of Hong Kong

Succeeded by
Preceded by Home of the
Legislative Council of Hong Kong

Succeeded by
Preceded by Home of the
Provisional Legislative Council of Hong Kong

Succeeded by
Legislative Council Building as home to Legislative Council of Hong Kong SAR
Preceded by Home of the
Legislative Council of Hong Kong SAR

Succeeded by
Preceded by Home of the
Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong SAR

2015 – present
Succeeded by