News story

Security in our court and tribunal buildings

Customer advice on what items can’t be taken into a court or tribunal.

Security area at a public entrance to a court

We want HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to be a safe and secure environment for all our users. To avoid delays, speed up entry, and to ensure people’s safety, the following articles should not be brought into HMCTS premises.

  • ANY type of knife or bladed article – for example pen knives, key-ring knives, belt knives, craft knives, butter knives or other cutlery.
  • ‘Sharps’ – for example, scissors, syringes (unless these are for medical purposes), craft needles.
  • Replica guns – for example lighters or jewellery that looks like a gun or toy gun.
  • Work tools – for example hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, nails.
  • Alcohol.

Please also note that photography on court premises and recording by members of the public is not allowed.

By law, our security officers can search and remove the above items and any items that could be used as a weapon or may otherwise interfere with the maintenance of order or safety of persons in our buildings before you enter the building. If the security team have concerns about an item, they may refer this to a judge.

All bags are visually searched and you will be asked to go through a security arch or be scanned with a hand held detector before entering the building. You may also be asked to remove your coat, jacket, headgear, belt, gloves or footwear– this is similar to what happens when you check-in at an airport.

Any visitor who is in possession of any of the articles listed above will not be allowed in the court building.

In some circumstances, the security team will let you leave these articles in storage at your own risk. You will be given a receipt so that you can get your property back when leaving the building. Any knives or bladed articles taken, providing they are not an offensive weapon, will only be returned to you if you write to us within 28 days of attendance. Please ask for further information on how to make this request as certain information will need to be provided when making this request.

Offensive weapons found by our search procedures are confiscated and the holder reported to the police.

If a visitor refuses to be searched, they may be removed from, or not let in the building.

Please follow this advice when you come to a court or tribunal. Safety is important.

Published 7 February 2017