There’s a surprising Buckingham Palace connection here. The grand colonial building was designed by the same two Englishmen, Sir Aston Webb and Ingress Bell, who also designed the eastern façade of Buckingham Palace.
Built in 1900, it has had a few reincarnations. Since 2015 it has been the Court of Final Appeal. Prior to that it housed the Legislative Council for a few years but for most of its life, it was the Supreme Court (1912–1985). It had a short, dark phase during WWII, when the Japanese invaded and occupied Hong Kong (1941-45) and converted the building into the Kempeitai military police headquarters.
Today it sits in a prime position in Central against a backdrop of skyscrapers and modern development. Most tourists will pass it at some stage in their travels around Hong Kong. The three storey granite facade with ionic columns gives it a classical and imposing but harsh look. The main features are the colonnaded front, a dome topped with a bronze Tudor crown and a pediment that covers the central section of the building. The columns and dome can be easily seen from whichever angle you pass by but you’ll need to go to Statue Square to see the pediment, covering the central section of the building. Here, you will also see the 2.7m tall statue of Themis, the blindfolded Greek goddess who represents impartial justice. Beneath Themis is a carving of the British Royal Coat of Arms, featuring lions, a unicorn and harp.
It is one of the buildings you will see if you follow the Central Heritage Walking Trail.