This lecture traces the evolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth century British courtroom as it evolved from a plain open space into a complex theatre of justice. Along the way, it suggests that the changing architecture of the courtroom evidences the development of new relationships between defendants, judges, juries and witnesses.

By building 3D models, and testing how, for example, the placing of judges bench, jury box and defendant’s dock effected the soundscape of the court it argues that defendants were increasingly disadvantaged by a new kind of trial. Along the way, it explores how we can better understand courts such Shire Hall, and the experience of the defendants tried there for their liberty and their lives.

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