Academy of Law

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Academy of Law
Publication information
Publisher Rebellion Developments
First appearance 2000 AD prog 27
Created by John Wagner and Ian Gibson
In story information
Type Military academy

The Academy of Law is a fictional place of learning appearing in the Judge Dredd series that appears in the British comic 2000 AD.

Fictional history[edit]

Depicted many times since the early days of the Judge Dredd series, the Academy of Law is where the Judges of Mega-City One are trained. Training a Street Judge takes fifteen long, hard years[1] (although exceptional cadets may graduate earlier through a fast-track programme, usually in thirteen years[2]). Many of the entrants to the Academy of Law never make it to the streets of Mega-City One as a full Judge. The Academy is sometimes referred to as "The toughest school on earth". Cadets are either cloned from proven genetic stock, or are recruited into the Academy, typically at the age of five. They are then expected to learn the basics of law enforcement very quickly, and any failing during their rigorous training is likely to lead to expulsion. Only two in seven cadets graduate.[3] On graduating cadets attain Rookie Judge status and are awarded their half eagle badge and white helmet.[4]

Rookie Judge Kraken, art by Will Simpson.

Cadet judges attend regular classes on all aspects of policing and controlling a 22nd Century Megalopolis. Both practical and mental skills are vital to their progress at the Academy, so they are subjected to continual assessment by their judge-tutors. One of the standard texts at the academy is The Comportment of a Judge - a fictional reference guide for street judges written by Judge Dredd, and often known as "Dredd's Comportment."[5]

The Academy of Law is shown as being a self-contained environment for prospective judges - affording them somewhere to live, train both physically and mentally, and to be tested. However cadets do have to go outside in groups for their "Hotdog Run," a combat mission into the Cursed Earth radiation desert. This is usually a cadet's first real test of their training in actual combat conditions.[6]

Rookie judges must also pass a "final street test" before they can graduate. Only when they have satisfied a serving judge that they can handle themselves on the streets of Mega-City One can a rookie leave the Academy with his or her black helmet and full eagle badge.[7]

Graduated Judge Rico, art by Carlos Ezquerra.

The Academy has come under attack from hostile forces three times:

  • The Soviets assaulted it in the Apocalypse War story, set in 2104, with many cadets dying in a last stand. After the war it then served as a temporary headquarters for the Justice Department after the Grand Hall of Justice had been destroyed in the conflict. A new Grand Hall was completed in the story ''The Prankster'', set in 2105.
  • Unspecified damage was inflicted during the Necropolis story, which caused a judge to remark "what Academy?" when discussing the flow of students from it.
  • Most recently was a joint assault by terrorists during the story Day of Chaos, set in 2134, which depicted most of the cadets being slaughtered and the building being burnt to the ground.[8] Only six hundred cadets survived the 2134 attack.[9]

Notable characters[edit]

Notable characters in the Judge Dredd strip who originated in the Academy are tutors Judge Griffin and Judge Silver, who both became chief judges, Judge Pepper who became Griffin's deputy chief judge, and Judge Odell, who appeared in the buildup to the Necropolis story as Judge Kraken's tutor and mentor. Both of the Judge Giants first appearances are in stories in which they are cadets in the Academy: the younger one graduated to judge several years after he first appeared in the strip, and features in many stories as Dredd's sidekick. Judge Beeny has featured at many points in her life including from before her birth, her induction to the Academy and many appearances as a cadet in most of her stories. Former cadet Dolman is notable not for anything he has done yet, but for the potential development of his character in the strip's future, as he is cloned from Dredd's DNA and effectively a member of his family.


  1. ^ 2000 AD #27
  2. ^ 2000 AD #35; Judge Dredd Megazine vol. 2 no. 50
  3. ^ 2000 AD #522
  4. ^ 2000 AD #27 and 522
  5. ^ 2000 AD #373
  6. ^ 2000 AD #233-235
  7. ^ 2000 AD #27 and 373
  8. ^ 2000 AD #1787
  9. ^ 2000 AD #1789