Project Profile

ACT Law Courts

Location: Canberra, ACT || Client: Laing O’Rourke || Project value: $150 Million
Date: 2015 – 2018

Key team members

Matthew Stead, Vahid Alamshah and Tom Evans

Project Description

The ACT Law Courts Project involves the creation of a new four-storey Supreme Court building as well as refurbishment of existing Court buildings. The project is creating a combined Law Courts facility for the Territory which will maximise operational efficiencies, whilst still respecting the jurisdictional separation between the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court. The new Supreme Court will involve eight courtrooms, five of which will be jury courtrooms, with future space for an additional two courtrooms. The project will also deliver a new and expanded custodial facility, vulnerable witness suite, mediation suite, parole board hearing room, a new public entrance and registry area. The existing Magistrates Court spaces are also being upgraded to provide modern audio-visual and remote witness capabilities and improved acoustic performance.

Client Needs

As part of the project, which is the Territory’s first Public-Private Partnership, the design and construction of the new spaces needs to achieve strict acoustic criteria for internal sound levels, acoustic separation between spaces and reverberation time.

Resonate's involvement

Resonate were initially engaged during the Tender phase to ensure that the tender design incorporated appropriate acoustic design elements to achieve the Territory-specified criteria. Following the award of the project to the Juris Partnership, Resonate worked with Laing O’Rourke, Lyons Architects and the rest of the project team to refine the design and provide an outcome consistent with Territory acoustic requirements. As the project was also occurring adjacent to a live court environment, Resonate were also involved in establishing suitable controls for construction works such that disruption to operating court areas was minimised as much as was practicable. This included the specification of temporary building upgrades and on-site noise and vibration monitoring.


The ACT Law Courts project is currently under construction and will be completed in 2018.


Due to the strict acoustic design requirements for the courtrooms, detailed three-dimensional acoustic modelling of each space was undertaken in specialist acoustic software. This enabled the placement of absorptive materials in each space to be optimised. The same process was also applied to the upgrade of existing Magistrate Court spaces, greatly improving the acoustic performance and allowing for full value to be obtained from the upgrade of audio-visual systems that was also occurring.