Chapter 3: General Design Guidelines
Spaces Common To All Courts
The U.S. Court of Appeals (USCA), U.S. District Court (USDC) including
magistrate judges, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court (USBC) contain several common
elements. Such elements include entryways, secure parking, service areas, heavy
traffic areas, Clerks' Offices, judges' chambers, and court libraries. See Chapter 1 for
a description of court functions.
Entryways. The USMS security screening point, which includes walk-through metal
detectors, must be located at the main entrance to the courthouse. The public must
enter the court building lobby through a single security screening point, controlled by
court security officers. Staff entry, including parking areas, will normally be through
the same screening point. If this is not possible, a separate entrance with electronic
access controls and surveillance must be provided. Judges and others requiring
additional security must not intersect public circulation, and must enter through a
restricted lobby from secure parking.
Secure Parking. Parking for judges and the USMS must be secure and located within
the court building.
Service Areas. A building service area requires loading docks with direct restricted
entry. The area requires access via freight elevator to all building offices.
Heavy Traffic Areas. All areas generating heavy traffic, such as the Clerk's Office,
cafeteria, and building services, must be located on or adjacent to the main public
Clerk's Offices. Clerk's Offices of the three courts must have convenient access to
public circulation, courtrooms, and judges' chambers.
Judge's Chambers. Judge's chambers may be located close to a courtroom or
clustered in a separate area. Chambers are accessed from restricted circulation with
convenient access to the courtroom(s).
Central Court Libraries. The location of central court libraries must provide access
for judges, law clerks, and other court staff by means of a restricted staff corridor.
Public access may also be required as determined by the court.
Major Spaces in Each of the Three Courts
The following is a discussion of the major spaces, groupings, and circulation in each
of the three courts.
U.S. Court of Appeals. Since the USCA does not conduct criminal jury trials as does
the USDC, it requires only two circulation systems: public and restricted. For an
overview of the USCA's circulation and adjacency patterns, see Figure 3.1 at the
beginning of the chapter.
The major functional spaces in the USCA are the courtroom, judges' conference and