The Supreme Court: A Guide for Bears
The UK Supreme Court welcomes visitors from all over the world, but has ignored one important audience - bears.
So as bears ourselves we've produced a special guide just for you. Now with this book in your paws, you can enjoy a good look round the historic building which we're proud to call our habitat - the highest court in the land.
From the Foreword by Lord Neuberger,
President of the Supreme Court
Since the Court opened in 2009, around 2000 of the bear family have left the Court for loving homes around the UK and beyond.
Isobel Williams's drawings capture the essence of these inquisitive and endearing characters - and her words help bring to life some of the things they get up to when the Justices and staff aren't looking...
Review by By Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers and Phillip Taylor MBE, Head of Chambers and Reviews Editor, “The Barrister”
If you’ll bear with us, we shall tell you about the new guide to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
It’s called simply The Supreme Court: A Guide for Bears. But don’t let that worry you. You don’t have to be a bear to read it. We can almost guarantee that adults, kids, even lawyers and judges will be beguiled by its charming and informative message and its quirky yet serious approach.
Even Lord Neuberger loves it. We can prove that he does because, as current President of the UK Supreme Court, he has written the foreword.
…You are about to see them (the bears) explain a bit about what our Court does (and doesn’t do).’ he says. Isobel Williams’s drawings capture the essence of these inquisitive and endearing characters – and her words help bring to life some of the things they get up to when the Justices and staff aren’t looking.
Yes, the book is presented in a glossy children’s book format with two teddy bears on the cover waving their paws in greeting to welcome you into the august precincts of the Supreme Court. But then again, the book is as much for adults as for children. The intention of Isobel Williams as author, illustrator and publisher, is to engage everyone in this quite serious subject, which her book does -- and in great style too.
Apparently, these unusually sophisticated and articulate teddy bears live in the Supreme Court gift area where, with presumably one swift swipe of a contactless credit card, you can ‘adopt’ one. You are reassured that none of the bears will object to being wrenched like this from their spiritual home. They have a mission to explain.
It’s good to know that the bears are travelling around the world,says Lord Neuberger, spreading the word about the UK’s top appeal court as they go.
Thus, the bears take you on a whimsical journey through the highest court in the land as an excellent public legal education initiative. You laugh out loud and you learn a lot -- about British justice, about the court itself -- and about its history and purpose and the historic building it occupies. Clearly, Ms. Williams has been relentless in her search for bear references and imagery to add resonance to this narrative. She has found a wooden bear in Court 1… a stone bear in Court 3… and two polar bears under glass, a gift from Canada’s Chief Justice.
Pointing out that there are supreme courts in many other countries, especially the USA, she has diligently dug up an obscure quote from a 12-volume work on the history of said US Supreme Court. The Constitution would not have been noticeably affected, growled the author of these tomes, if Sherman Minton’s chair had been occupied by a stuffed teddy bear from 1949 to 1953!
Poor Sherman Minton. What a way to be remembered.
Oh – and we are reminded too, that teddy bears were named for President (1901-1909) Theodore Roosevelt, one of the first and fiercest advocates for the conservation of wildlife and of America’s wilderness areas.