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Architectural precedent: the Manchester Assize Courts and monuments to law in the mid-Victorian era

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This article looks at a much-neglected topic in accounts of the modern legal system: the architecture of law courts. It is argued that a closer examination of radical changes to the ways in which the internal space of the courthouse and courtroom were organised in the mid-nineteenth century can tell us much about how lawyers came to dominate the trial. The essay focuses on the design and planning of the Manchester Assize Courts, a building which can accurately be described as one of the first, if not the first, modern courthouse. It considers how the courthouse came to symbolise new ideas about the civic sphere, the increased reliance on the segregation of participants in the trial, and the role of law in Victorian society. Particular attention is placed on the link between new social and cultural movements and the architect, Alfred Waterhouse.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/26591/

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