Queen Elizabeth at the opening of the High Court of Australia

Visiting the High Court

The High Court building is one of Canberra's major tourist attractions and is situated in the Parliamentary Zone in Parkes Place Parkes, on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin between the National Science and Technology Centre (Questacon) and the National Gallery of Australia. The High Court-National Gallery precinct was added to the National Heritage List in November 2007.  The building is accessible by ACTION buses (routes 2 or 3 weekdays and 934 or 935 on weekends) and is also close to the lakeside cycle path.

The building is a unique structure. Forty metres tall and constructed mainly of concrete and glass, it has four main elements: a large public hall, three courtrooms, an administrative wing, and Justices' chambers. Public visitors may view:

  • the Great Hall, which includes an educational display and video area, and often features exhibitions or performances by cultural organisations; and
  • the three courtrooms, which are the focus of the building's activities.

20110323-national-schools-constitutional-dinnerCourt Guides are on hand to introduce you to history, role and operation of the High Court and its building.

Please check the Court calendar before planning your visit. If the Court is sitting, you are welcome to watch proceedings. We request your cooperation in respecting Court etiquette when watching proceedings.

The building is surrounded by parkland which provides an ideal venue for lunch on fine days. Many school groups bring their lunch and enjoy it on the shores of the lake.


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Court Sittings and Building Opening Hours

The calendar of Court sittings is determined by the Court and is usually published in the September prior to the start of each year. See the Court Calendar.

Normally, the Court sits in Canberra for two weeks of every month, except for January and July when it is in recess. High Court sittings are open to the public. Normal Court sitting hours are from 10.15 am to 12.45 pm and 2.15 pm to 4.15 pm.

The building is open to the public from 9.45 am to 4.30 pm Monday through Friday, except public holidays, and Sundays from midday to 4.00 pm. Admission to the High Court building is free of charge. The Chambers Cafe at the High Court is open Monday to Friday from 9.45 am to 3.00 pm.

When you visit the High Court we request your cooperation in respecting Court etiquette.

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Booked tours

Bookings are essential for groups of visiting school students or other organised tours. Please visit our tour bookings page to access the online booking system, risk assessment and insurance certificate.

Independent visitors do not need to make a booking.

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Talks by Court Guides

Visitors are welcome to visit the building at any time during ordinary opening hours. Visitors not in organised tours are encouraged to visit the Court building in Canberra on non-sitting days in time for an information session delivered by a Court Guide. On sitting days, visitors are welcome to view the sitting Court.

Please consult the Court calendar for the sitting schedule.
Each talk on non-sitting days will include information about the history, role and  function of the High Court and its architecture. Court Guides will talk for approximately 20 minutes, with 5 to 10 minutes available for questions and answers.