Symbol of Justice

The Old Court the present Parliament building, was the house of John Argyle Maxwell. It was bought by the government and court proceedings were held on the first floor. In 1839 an annex was built and the Court moved there. Because of the noise from Hallipike's Boatyard the Court moved to Central Building at Empress Place. In 1875 the Court returned to the old Maxwell House and occupied the new wing.

Central Building became the venue for the Straits Settlements Legislative Council established in 1867 when the Straits Settlements were transferred from the India Office to the Colonial Office.

In 1939 the Court moved to the present Supreme Court Building which was the site of a house built by Colement in 1823. This house was converted into the London Hotel in 1845 which later became Hotel de L'Esperance and then Hotel de L'Europe. A syndicate bought this hotel and rebuilt it into the Grand de L'Europe. This was demolished and the Supreme Court constructed between 1937 and 1939. The architect was F. Dorrington Ward.

On 3 August 1939 Sir Shenton Thomas, Governor of the Straits Settlements, officially declared the Supreme Court Building open.

The Cotinthian and Ionic columns and the sculpture are the work of the Italian Cavaliere Rudolf Nolli. The architecture of the Supreme Court Building was intended to harmonise with that of City Hall next door.

It was the last example to British Imperial architecture in Singapore. It has been commented that building and the dome are too high for the width of the building. City Hall and the Supreme Court are the most imposing buildings facing the sea.