The lord chancellor was spotted making a quiet visit to a London magistrates’ court this morning.

Michael Gove visited Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court for a couple of hours as part of his role as justice secretary, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice confirmed.

The spokesperson said it was a ‘private visit’, which meant no media were in attendance. However, details of the visit have emerged on Twitter.

Greg Foxsmith, a criminal defence advocate and president of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association, was in court this morning and said Gove observed proceedings in court three, which was dealing with not-guilty pleas and case management.

In a letter of welcome, Foxsmith wrote to Gove saying: ‘Usually we find that when MPs visit a court, they meet every branch of the profession other than the defence practitioners, but if you would be interested to meet a representative of the defence community, I would be delighted to greet you in person as I happen to be at Highbury today.’

The letter continues: ‘I have the privilege to be the new president of the LCCSA. I understand that you had commenced constructive dialogue with my predecessor, and I hope we can continue that, as we all strive to secure a gold-standard justice system.’