Legal Cheek

Court cuisine latest: The Old Bailey breakfast looks really underwhelming

Food for thought

London’s Central Criminal Court

A photograph sent to Legal Cheek by one hungry Old Bailey attendee has revealed what lawyers and other court users are offered in the way of sustenance at the iconic London court.

The pic was taken inside the canteen of the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, a building which has made appearances in the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Law & Order: UK and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. The photograph isn’t quite celebrity standard though, showing what appears to be a bleak breakfast offering of four sausages and three cheesy pastries.

A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation, the local authority responsible for the court, told Legal Cheek:

Catering at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) is currently delivered by an external provider. Customer feedback about the standard of catering is usually very positive.

That said, a number of lawyers we spoke to didn’t seem too pleased with their court grub. Anonymous legal blogger the Secret Barrister told Legal Cheek that “court catering facilities vary, but as a whole have declined significantly over the last few years.” He continued:

It’s abominable considering that no one in a court centre is there by choice. We drag people into unheated, leaking wrecks of buildings and force them to sit around all day without anywhere to get food or water, and then wonder why repeat defendants resent the court system.

Another lawyer, not wishing to be named, told us she’s “lucky to get a cup of coffee at court nowadays, nevermind food!”

The Old Bailey’s breakfast snap isn’t the first time court catering has been called into question.

Several years ago, Legal Cheek published a comprehensive round-up of the more bizarre culinary offerings in courts across England and Wales. First up, there was this mushy peas masterpiece spotted at Woolwich Crown Court:

Followed by this tantalising teacake and butter combo courtesy of Luton Crown Court:

And who could forget Kingston Crown Court’s incredibly complicated scampi and yoghurt “lunch meal deal”.

Until August 2014, HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) enjoyed a national catering contract with food services giant Eurest. Now, over three years on, Legal Cheek understands that many court canteens have been either replaced with vending machines or have closed altogether.