The neo-classicist Courthouse, designed by Professor C.F. Hansen, is a masterpiece of Danish architecture.
In 1795, the former Town hall, situated between “Gammeltorv” and “Nytorv”, was destroyed in a fire which destroyed large parts of the city. The location of the former construction is marked in the pavement at “Nytorv”. The present Courthouse was erected in 1805-15, the work being delayed due to the bombardment of Copenhagen by the English in 1807, during the Napoleonic wars. Until 1905 the building served both as courthouse and town hall. The building is now protected and the front has been restored.
The Courthouse Annexe in “Slutterigade” (“prison street”) was built in 1805-1816 as a prison. It is attached to the main building by two large arches. It was rebuilt in 1904 and again in 1942-44, when it was converted in order to house courtrooms and chambers.
The architect, Professor C.F. Hansen, also designed the Cathedral of Copenhagen (Church of Our Lady) as well as a number of country houses in Schleswig-Holstein.
The inscription on the front facing Nytorv “Med Lov skal man Land Bygge” (“With law the country shall be build”) is a quotation from the preamble to The Jutlandic Law, given by King Valdemar Sejr (1170-1241) in 1241.
Visitors enter the hall facing Nytorv between the impressive Ionic columns. In this hall, the 200 man of the Citizens´ Guard were mustered. The room at the rear end of the Entrance Hall served as a conference room for the City Council. To the right of the Entrance Hall the mail staircase is situated behind four Tuscan pillars. Near the staircase, there is a room which was formerly the antechamber of the first Criminal Courtroom.
This courtroom is almost 200 m2 and is still the largest courtroom. The room on the first floor with tree large windows facing Nytorv earlier served as courtroom for the “Landsover- samt Hof- og Stadsretten” (Appeal Court and Court for Copenhagen prior to 1919). The room now serves as a conference room for the members of the court and for ceremonial purposes.
This main building has 17 courtrooms with chambers, and also houses the City Court’s administration.
The inscription above the former prison translates as “For General Security”. The annexe houses 9 courtrooms with chambers. One of the arches connecting the annexe and the main building is called “Bridge of Sighs” because prisoners were and still are conducted via bridge in order to attend their trial.
The City Court nowadays also uses nearby buildings situated as Nos. 4 and 6 “Hestemøllestræde” and No. 1 “Lavendelstræde”. In these buildings are the Probate Court, The Land Registration Office, and the enforcement Division located.
The building No. 1 “Lavendelsstræde” was thoroughly renovated in 1996. In this house, Constanze, the widow of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, lived from 1813 to 1819 with her second husband, Danish diplomat Nicolaus Nissen.
The City Court of Copenhagen is the largest of Denmark’s 24 city courts. It has jurisdiction over a large part of the Municipality of Copenhagen, and all of Dragør, and Tårnby Municipalities (approximately 400.000 inhabitants).
The President of the Court is responsible for the management of the Court.
There are 42 judges, 15 assistant judges and app. 150 clerks, guards, and other staff members.
The City Court is competent in civil and criminal cases. Like other city courts, it comprises a Probate Division, an Enforcement Division, and a Registration and Notarial Acts Division.