The Central Criminal Court in England, commonly known as the Old Bailey from the street in which it stands, is a court building in central London, one of a number of buildings housing the Crown Court. The Crown Court sitting at the Central Criminal Court deals with major criminal cases from Greater London and, in exceptional cases, from other parts of England and Wales. Part of the present building stands on the site of the medieval Newgate Gaol, on Old Bailey, a road which follows the line of the City of London's fortified wall (or bailey). It lies between Holborn Circus and St Paul's Cathedral.
As there is a requirement for justice to be seen to be done, trials at the Old Bailey, as at other courts, are open to the public, subject to stringent security procedures.
The court originated as the sessions house of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of the City of London and of Middlesex. The original medieval court was first mentioned in 1585; it was next to the older Newgate prison, and seems to have grown out of the endowment to improve Newgate prison and rooms for the Sheriffs, made possible by a gift from Sir Richard Whittington. It was destroyed in the 1666 Fire of London and rebuilt in 1674, with the court open to the weather to prevent the spread of disease. In 1734 it was refronted, enclosing the court and reducing the influence of spectators: this led to outbreaks of typhus, notably in 1750 when sixty people died, including the Lord Mayor and two judges. It was rebuilt again in 1774 and a second courtroom was added in 1824. Over 100,000 criminal trials were carried out in the Old Bailey from 1674 to 1834, including all death penalty cases. In 1834 it was renamed as the Central Criminal Court and its jurisdiction extended beyond that of London and Middlesex to the whole of the English jurisdiction for trial of major cases. Her Majesty's Courts Service manages the courts and administers the trials but the building is owned and run by the City of London Corporation, who finance the building, the running of it, the staff and the maintenance out of their own resources.