Behind the scenes of the Criminal Justice System in Derby

Families will get to try on judges gowns and hear how judges prepare for cases at Derby Justice Centre

The building, part of which dates back to the 17th Century, is opening its doors on Saturday 18 May 2024 to show how the court and its staff serve the community and deliver justice.  

Residents will be invited into the historic court building to explore cells, relive criminal trials, visit a family courtroom and take a behind-the-scenes look at how justice is done with the hard-working staff on the ground.  

A medieval oubliette – or dungeon – still lies beneath the complex. Prisoners would be kept here before walking through underground tunnels to the former Derby Gaol, in Friargate, to serve their sentence. In the evenings, the space held public events such as plays, concerts and balls.

Justice Minister Mike Freer, said: 

"As well as a world-leading justice system, we have a truly historic courts estate, such as the unique court in Derby, telling centuries worth of fascinating stories.

"We are investing millions of pounds every year to ensure our court buildings are fit for the future and reflect our high standards, while also preserving their unique and incredibly important history."

Nick Goodwin, CEO of HM Courts and Tribunals Service, said:  

"We are delighted to be opening our doors to the public in Derby, sharing all the work we do here at HMCTS to make sure justice is delivered for victims. 

"Our courts are working at full throttle to tackle the backlogs and we are investing £220million for essential modernisation and repair work of our court buildings."

Derby Justice Centre is made up of the original Shire Hall, completed in 1659, and two courtrooms dating from the 1800s, all surrounded by a modern extension of courtrooms and offices, which were finished in 2003 and unveiled by the then Prince of Wales.

Judges, magistrates’ and court staff will be on hand to answer questions, and families can speak to The Governor of HMP Foston Hall Prison, the Probation Service and Crown Prosecution Service teams about how they each play a vital role right across the modern-day justice system.

From: HM Courts & Tribunals Service and Mike Freer MP