FIVE days a week is no longer enough for the High Court. Chief Justice Robert French has announced that the Court's Canberra building will now open on weekends.
From 4 October this year, the country's highest court will open to be public on Sunday afternoons in a bid to enable more people to visit the Court.
Chief Justice French announced today the new hours will give the public the opportunity to better understand the Court's role as the third branch of government under the Constitution.
The Court would prefer to be in a position to be able to open both days, he said, and it is seeking funding to enable that.
He said other institutions in the Parliamentary Triangle are funded to open on weekends. "The potential demand is likely to increase as other nearby institutions are having considerable sums spent on them to increase visitor amenity and accessibility, including on weekends."
The High Court would not release the cost of the additional opening hours to The New Lawyer.
The Court will review its decision to open on Sunday afternoon in mid-2010 in the light of attendances and the availability of funding.
Institutions in the Parliamentary Triangle, including the Court, are attracting increasing numbers of visitors to the precinct.
The Chief Justice pointed out that during 2008-09, visitor numbers to the High Court totalled 130,037, an increase of more than 30 per cent over the previous year.
The High Court sits on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra. The building itself is on the national heritage list and has received a number of architectural awards.