Le Palais de la Cour Criminelle
Le Palais de la Cour Criminelle is the chief court building of the Criminal Court in Pantocratoria, based in the Old Quarter of New Rome. Originally built in the pantobyzantine style in the 16th Century, the building took on its present external appearance in the 18th Century after a new facade was constructed in a baroque style and two large wings were added to either side of the original building. It has five main court rooms, one in the original part of the building, and two in each wing. Each court room has a domed ceiling, and thus the otherwise flat roof of the building is broken up by five concrete domes which protrude into the sky. Light enters each of the main court rooms via a ring of small windows which encircle the base of each dome, making the dome appear to be suspended by sunlight from within the court.
Inside, the building has been renovated extensively with the times, although always with a sensitivity to the pantobyzantine/baroque synthesis style of the building as a whole. Two hundred and twenty employees work in the Palace of the Criminal Court full-time, but at any given time there are thousands of people in the building, with judges, lawyers, members of the press, witnesses, defendants, police and members of the public moving through. In addition to proceedings in the five main court rooms, there are six "half-court" chambers, in which most administrative matters surrounding cases to be heard by the Court are heard, although cases are sometimes held in half-court chambers when no main chamber is available for a prolonged period of time.
There is formal garden immediately behind the original building and between the two wings dominated by a large bronze statue of the Emperor Manuel V Comnenus dressed as a Greek god holding scales of justice in his hand. The Emperor's eyes are not covered by a blindfold, in imitation of Lady Justice's usual pose, but rather the Emperor is averting his eyes from the scales and holding his free hand (clutching an olive wreath) in front of his face so as to block his line of sight. The gardens are the traditional meeting place of several prominent law societies. The University of Christ Pantocrator's Faculty of Law holds a traditional breakfast in the gardens on graduation days, at which the soon-to-become graduates are celebrated by the academics before the actual ceremony. The Criminal Court, dominated by University of Christ Pantocrator alumni, has steadfastly refused to allow any other university access to the gardens for similar events.