Home  |   Main entrance of Brisbane Commonwealth Courts building still closed

Main entrance of Brisbane Commonwealth Courts building still closed

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The Harry Gibbs Commonwealth Law Courts Building, named after a former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, is situated at 119 North Quay in Brisbane. It is the Brisbane building for the Federal Court of Australia, the Family Court of Australia, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and also the High Court when it visits to hear special leave applications.

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Years ago, around 2010 or 2011 and prior to that, the main entrance of the building was on North Quay (pictured above). However, for more than give years that entrance has been closed and lawyers, litigants and members of the public have had to enter through a side entrance on Turbot Street. That entrance has become the official entrance.

A few years ago, registry staff were asked why the main entrance had been closed. The response was that due to a funding dispute between the Federal Court and the Federal Circuit Court the decision had been made to block the main entrance. A number of years later, it appears that this impasse has still not been resolved.

Another possible explanation is that the Turbot Street entrance is now the preferred entrance because it provides easy wheelchair access. It could be that special arrangements had to be made for those unable to walk, and the Court administrators figured it would be cheaper and simpler to have one wheelchair friendly access for all.

Anyone who compares the pictures of the main entrance above with the Turbot Street entrance below will see that the Turbot Street entrance is clearly less desirable for those able to walk up stairs. The wide stairs on North Quay are designed to allow many to approach the entrance and queue if necessary to enter the court building.

Turbot St

The question is when (and if) will the main entrance be opened again?

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