Joseph Poelaert, the architect was appointed by the then minister of justice Tesch to design the building in 1861. "The first stone was laid on October 31, 1866, and the building was inaugurated on October 15, 1883, after Poelaert's death. For the building of the Palace of Justice, a section of the Marollen neighbourhood was demolished, while most of the park belonging to the House of Mérode was also expropriated. Poelaert himself lived in the Marollen neighbourhood in a house only a few hundred metres from the building, a house adjoining his vast offices and workshops. It is thus unlikely he saw himself as ruining the neighbourhood. As a result of the forced relocation of so many people, the word architect became one of the most serious insults in Brussels. The Palace's location is on the Galgenberg hill, where in the Middle Ages convicted criminals were hanged.
At the end of the Second World War, on the eve of the liberation of Brussels, the retreating Germans started a fire in the Palace of Justice in order to destroy it: the cupola collapsed and part of the building was heavily damaged.
By 1947 most of the building was repaired and the cupola was rebuilt two and a half meters higher than the original.
Starting in 2003, renovations have begun on the building. These renovations pertain to the repair and strengthening of the roof structure and the walls as well as putting a new layer on the gilded cupola".
As, you can see, scaffolding is still in place today.