U.S. Courts Design Guide
darkening the room must also be provided. For security reasons, windows must not
permit visual surveillance from exterior locations. If windows are designed into
courtrooms located on the ground floor, ballistic-resistant materials are required
(UL Standard 752, Level VIII). Windows located in courtrooms above the ground
floor also require ballistic-resistant materials (UL Standard 752, Level III). To
prevent distraction and increase security, higher window sills or clerestory windows
or skylights are more desirable.
Efficient circulation on courtroom floors,
especially the separation of public and
restricted circulation, is more readily
achieved by locating courtrooms in the
interior of the building.
The design of courtrooms with windows
requires a careful consideration of the
benefits, potential problems, and costs.
Circulation. Design must minimize distance of movement and conflicting
circulation patterns of trial participants.
Storage. Storage must be provided for audio-visual equipment, including mobile
video monitors and cameras, slide and film projectors, and audio recording/
playback equipment. Audio-visual equipment should be built into walls or
Barrier-Free Accessibility. Courtroom areas used by the public must be handicap
accessible. Court participants with disabilities should use the same approach and
participate from the same position as all participants when using the following:
public seating, litigants' tables, jury box, witness box, and lectern. Private work
areas, including the judge's bench and clerk, law clerk, bailiff, and court reporter
stations, must be adaptable for accessibility. While all judge's benches and court
personnel stations need not be immediately accessible, disabled judges and court
personnel must be accommodated.
Accessibility within the courtroom should be achieved with minimum use of well
space. Movable lifts and ramps are preferred over fixed facilities in the courtroom.