Picture of boy being examining by doctor at a tuberculosis sanatorium

Understanding our future through Open Access research about our past...

Strathprints makes available scholarly Open Access content by researchers in the Centre for the Social History of Health & Healthcare (CSHHH), based within the School of Humanities, and considered Scotland's leading centre for the history of health and medicine.

Research at CSHHH explores the modern world since 1800 in locations as diverse as the UK, Asia, Africa, North America, and Europe. Areas of specialism include contraception and sexuality; family health and medical services; occupational health and medicine; disability; the history of psychiatry; conflict and warfare; and, drugs, pharmaceuticals and intoxicants.

Explore the Open Access research of the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare. Or explore all of Strathclyde's Open Access research...

Image: Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. Wellcome Collection - CC-BY.

The architecture of courts in Portugal and Scotland

Robson, Peter and Branco, Patricia and Rodger, Johnny (2019) The architecture of courts in Portugal and Scotland. In: Research Handbook on Law and Courts. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, Cheltenham.

[img] Text (Robson-etal-2019-The-architecture-of-courts-in-Portugal-and-Scotland)
Accepted Author Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 1 July 2019.

Download (1MB) | Request a copy from the Strathclyde author


The past century has seen a significant expansion of dedicated courtroom buildings in two separate but comparable countries, Portugal and Scotland. The architecture of both countries embodies different national and civic values. In the case of Portugal, two particular types of building are encountered with design driven by the varying demands of central Government. The first of those types comprises structures erected during the period of the dictatorship from 1926 to 1974 with a stress on the nobility of justice through monumental buildings with accompanying decoration and symbols of justice. The more recent period has seen a less homogeneous approach with both purpose-built and adapted buildings often providing spaces of mediocre quality, limited decoration and justice-related symbols. In Scotland the earlier 19th century buildings followed the design preferences of local professionals and what was produced were, for the most part, either classical Greek temples of justice or neo-Baronial strong houses of the law. In both cases the buildings were typically unadorned by symbols of justice. Recent centralization has altered that flexibility. In the 21st century in both Portugal and Scotland the expressed need to reduce expenditure on such public services, through the device of court reform, is in danger of altering the role of the courts as expressions of national or civic spirit. Here governments are seeking to economize in a way which contrasts with more expansive and design-centred approaches taken in such countries as France and the United States.