The building is a large grey stone edifice in the Victorian Gothic style and was designed by George Edmund Street, a solicitor turned architect, and built in the 1870s. The Royal Courts of Justice was opened by Queen Victoria in December 1882. It is on The Strand, in the City of Westminster, near the border with the City of London (Temple Bar) and the London Borough of Camden. It is surrounded by the four Inns of Court and LSE. The nearest tube stations are Chancery Lane and Temple.
Those who do not have legal representation may receive some assistance within the court building. The Citizens Advice Bureau has a small office in the main entrance hall where lawyers provide free advice. There is usually a queue for this service. There is also a Personal Support Unit where litigants in person can get emotional support and practical information about what happens in court. The main criminal court (Crown Court), housed separately, is the Central Criminal Court, popularly known as the Old Bailey.