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Supreme Court opens proceedings in Edinburgh in first session outside London

Several appeals to be heard over four days in Scottish capital, with several justices travelling north for the sessions.

A “historic” moment in the UK’s judicial system has been marked as the highest court in the land launched proceedings in Scotland – the first time ever outside of London.

The Supreme Court is hearing several appeals in Edinburgh over four days with several justices travelling north for the sessions.

Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Clarke and Lord Reed took their seat in the City Chambers on Monday.

President of the Supreme Court Lord Neuberger said: “Before we begin, it is right to record that this is a historic occasion: it is the first time that the Supreme Court, or our predecessor the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords, has sat outside London.

“We are delighted to be here, as it enables us to underline the role of the court in serving the people and communities of every part of the United Kingdom.”

As well as providing a change of scenery for the highest tier of the UK judiciary, the event gave a new experience for the walls of the council chamber.

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Left to right, Lord Clarke, Lord Kerr, Lady Hale, Lord Provost Frank Ross, Lord Neuberger, Lord Carloway and Lord Reed at the City Chambers in Edinburgh, where the Supreme Court is holding a public hearing, the first time that the UK's highest court has sat outside London (Jane Barlow/PA)

The room is more used to holding banquets, lectures and dinner dances, but an appeal centred around the burden of proof in cases of alleged sham marriage marked a new chapter in its history.

Around 50 people attended the case, including law students taking a rare chance to view Supreme Court proceedings closer to home.

Lord Neuberger added: “We are very pleased to see those of you who have taken the time to come and watch us in this courtroom today, which reflects much of the point of our taking this initiative. Thank you for participating in this historic occasion.”

He added his thanks to Police Scotland, the local authority and Lord President of the Court of Session Lord Carloway.

Lord Carloway, the most senior judge in Scotland, is due to sit alongside the justices later this week.

It is planned that the historic hearings will be documented using picture-sharing app Instagram, showing how the court prepares for the hearings from the newly-created @uksupremecourt account.

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The Supreme Court holds a public hearing in the City Chambers, Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Supreme Court also plans to use its new social media presence to publish pictures of its work outside the courtroom, such as educational visits, exhibitions and special events.

Proceedings are to be filmed and relayed live online in the usual way.

Court staff will also offer public talks about its work when the justices are not sitting.

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