Going through security at a court or tribunal building

You must go through security to enter a court or tribunal building. There are rules on what items you can take in.

Items you’re not allowed to take in

You cannot take guns, firearms, knives or other weapons into the building.

You’ll be reported to the police if you try to take a weapon into a court or tribunal building.

You also cannot take in items that security staff think could be used as a weapon, even if you think they’re harmless.

These include things like:

  • blades, such as scissors, penknives and razors
  • other sharp items, such as knitting needles and darts
  • glass, for example bottles
  • metal cutlery
  • syringes (unless you have a prescription)
  • toy guns and other things that look like guns
  • tools, for example screwdrivers, hammers and nails
  • ropes and chains
  • alcohol
  • liquids that are not drinks or prescription medicine, such as oils, perfumes lighter refills and cleaning products

Medicines and drinks you can take in

You can take in:

  • unopened drinks in cartons and cans
  • drinks in a plastic bottle or a disposable cup with a lid
  • medicines you have a prescription for

If your drink is opened or in a plastic bottle, you’ll be asked to drink some to prove it is not harmful.

Going through security

Your bags and pockets will be checked like they would be at an airport. This may include:

  • emptying your pockets into a tray
  • taking off your shoes, coat, belt, gloves or hat
  • walking through a archway detector or being checked with a handheld scanner

If you’re wearing a head covering for religious or cultural reasons, you can ask for it to be checked with a handheld scanner so you do not have to take it off.

If you cannot take your items in with you

Security staff will keep any items you cannot take into the building and give you a receipt. You can usually use this to collect your items when you leave.

Knives

If you have a knife, you will not be able to collect this when you leave. You’ll need to write to the court within 28 days instead. The letter must include:

  • your first and last name
  • your address
  • the date and time the knife was taken by security
  • a description of the knife
  • your receipt number

You’ll usually get your items back within a month after the court receives your letter.

Someone acting on your behalf can write the letter for you, such as your solicitor or guardian. They should include their name and address when they send it.