The first hotel in this vicinity was called the Rainbow and was immediately east of this building. It was licensed in 1853 and was for many years associated with publican William Sowter.
The hotel changed its name in 1875 to the Supreme Court Hotel. By this time, the South Australian Company owned the site, which Sowter leased. In the late 1870s, Sowter also leased the property to the west (the site of the present building), and in December 1880 agreed to spend £2000 during the following 10 years erecting “good and substantial buildings of brick or stone” approved by the South Australian Company.
Although his lease was only for 10 years, Sowter soon carried out his. Architects English and Soward designed the new Supreme Court Hotel in July 1880 and by 1881 the present building had been built.
The hotel traded until 1970 when the building required considerable upgrading. It became an office of the Courts Department until a fire destroyed much of its interior.
Despite the Adelaide City Council considering a proposal to demolish this building in 1977, it was renovated by a company of barristers (Rumpole Pty Ltd). They renamed it Jeffcott Chambers in memory of South Australia’s first chief justice, who led an eccentric and notorious life until he drowned in 1837 at the Murray Mouth.