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1. a court of justice or any place where justice is administered
2. (in Britain) a special court, convened by the government to inquire into a specific matter
3. a raised platform containing the seat of a judge or magistrate, originally that in a Roman basilica
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


In an ancient Roman basilica, a raised platform for the chair of the magistrates; a place of honor.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a legal term designating a locus of judicial authority; a special court.

(1) In ancient Rome, the raised platform on which important officials, such as consuls and praetors, sat when performing their official duties.

(2) In France, the revolutionary emergency court established during the French Revolution and called the Revolutionary Tribunal.

(3) In the USSR, courts established by the Council of People’s Commissars’ Decree on the Court No. 1, issued on Nov. 22 (Dec. 5), 1917, to combat counterrevolution and the most serious crimes (seeREVOLUTIONARY TRIBUNALS). Military tribunals are courts that try cases involving military and other crimes referred to their jurisdiction by law (seeMILITARY TRIBUNALS).

(4) An international judicial body for the prosecution and sentencing of major war criminals of World War II (seeINTERNATIONAL WAR TRIBUNAL) .

(5) In the judicial systems of certain bourgeois countries, such as France and Italy, a court of first instance or appellate court for cases tried by justices of the peace.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


In an ancient Roman basilica, a raised platform for the curule chairs of the magistrates.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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