There is an English court where gavels are actually used

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By Alex Aldridge on

Small wooden hammer is not restricted to the US, it emerges


The campaign against the use of the American gavel in images relating to the English legal system has been dealt a blow after it emerged that there is an English court where gavels are actually used.

In a departure from protocol, clerks at Inner London Crown Court use a gavel to signal the arrival of the judge into the courtroom. At other courts, judges usually bang on the door to announce their entry.

The shock revelation came about following some sharp-eyed reportage from legal tweeter Will Da Force.

Will Da Force’s work was then followed up by Inappropriate Gavels, a Tumblr that documents images of incorrect gavel use. It sent this email to the Ministry of Justice:

A spokesperson for the MoJ issued this response:

“In Inner London Crown Court the gavel is used to alert parties in court to the entrance of the judge into the courtroom.”

According to Inappropriate Gavels, judges at Inner London “for some reason, don’t bang on the door before coming in as they do everywhere else.” But, the blog notes crucially, “they still don’t use the gavel on the bench”.

Despite the Inner London revelation, Legal Cheek continues to wholeheartedly support Inappropriate Gavels‘ campaign, with two recent gavel images highlighted by the blog — from Middle Temple and the Barristers Benevolent Association — illustrating just how deeply the myth of gavel use has penetrated the English legal profession.

Middle Temple gavel


Barristers Benevolent Association gavel