The Supreme Court is preparing for a deluge of visitors when it sits in Belfast for the first time later this month to hear two high-profile cases - by restricting the number of lawyers who can sit in the courtroom.
Lady Hale, president of the Supreme Court, will be joined by Lord Mance, deputy president, Lord Kerr, former lord chief justice of Northern Ireland, Lord Hodge and Lady Black on the bench in the Inns of Court Library at Belfast's Royal Courts of Justice for three days starting on 30 April.
The justices will first hear In the matter of an application by Siobhan Mclaughlin for judicial review (AP), concerning a widow's battle for cohabiting couples in relation to bereavement payments. This will be followed by Lee (respondent) v Ashers Baking Company Ltd and others (appellants), in which the court will consider if the appellants directly discriminated against a customer by refusing to make a cake decorated with the words 'Support Gay Marriage'.
The court says that 'due to the large number of parties and interveners in this case, and the legal representation associated with each of them', the number of lawyers seated in the courtroom has been restricted. Proceedings will be broadcast via a live video-feed in an 'overflow' courtroom. A queuing and ticketing system will operate for members of the public every day.
The court says: 'Please note that, in line with the court's usual practice, items of clothing or other materials bearing messages that undermine the dignity of the court or which seek to interfere with the proper administration of justice will not be permitted into the building.'