Grand Hall of Justice

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Grand Hall of Justice
File:Grand Hall of Justice of Mega-City One.jpg
The definitive version of the current Grand Hall, designed and painted by Carlos Ezquerra.

The Grand Hall of Justice of Mega-City One is a fictional building in the Judge Dredd comic strip in 2000 AD. It actually refers to three different buildings which existed at different times. The Grand Hall has been an important setting in several Judge Dredd stories, and one story, The Prankster,[1] was written specifically about it.

The location was originally called "Justice HQ" but the term "Hall of Justice" was first used in prog 11; "Justice Central" would be used as the term a few times after prog 86.


The Grand Hall is the headquarters building of the Justice Department of Mega-City One. It is located over the site of Midtown Manhattan, less than a kilometer from Grand Central Terminal.[2] Since Justice Department is responsible not only for law enforcement but for most arms of government, the Grand Hall is essentially the central government building of the whole city-state of around 400 million people. As well as containing government offices it also contains the living quarters of several senior judges (including Dredd since 2124[3]), a well-stocked armoury, and two public museums. The Hall of Heroes commemorates the most distinguished heroes and judges of the city, and contains the sarcophagus of the first chief judge, Chief Judge Fargo.[4] The Black Museum contains exhibits relating to the city's most notorious criminals. Judge Death was held prisoner there as an exhibit, his spirit form trapped in Judge Anderson's body, between his first capture and his first escape (2102–2103).[5]

The Grand Hall is located in Sector 1,[6] and has been rebuilt twice.[7]


The official appearance of the third Grand Hall of Justice was designed by artist Carlos Ezquerra in 1983 (top right), and was first shown in prog 308 of 2000 AD. This version has been shown in the comic many times, both in stories by Ezquerra and in those by other artists. However alternative designs have occasionally been used in the comic. In the 1995 Judge Dredd film the building was depicted as an eagle with outstretched wings, and this design was copied in the 2003 computer game.


First Grand Hall[edit]

The original Grand Hall was built in the mid twenty-first century. It had a secret tunnel to the outside, which could be used to escape in time of crisis, or to infiltrate the building if it fell into enemy hands. The interior access to the tunnel was concealed under Fargo's sarcophagus.[8]

When the building was occupied by Soviet forces during the Apocalypse War of 2104, Judge Dredd used the tunnel to enter and exit the building on a covert mission. During his escape he was detected by the enemy and was forced to use incendiary bullets to cover his retreat. The fire took hold and spread, consuming the whole building.[9]

After the War ended, the Academy of Law was used as a temporary headquarters building until a new Grand Hall could be built.[10]

Second Grand Hall[edit]

The new Grand Hall of Justice was completed in early 2105. It was a marked improvement on the old one: it was designed to withstand a direct hit from a nuclear warhead.[11] It was opened by Chief Judge McGruder at a well-attended ceremony, but as soon as she cut the ribbon and pronounced the building open, the whole structure was completely destroyed by carefully placed bombs concealed inside.[12]

Nobody was hurt in the explosion, which was quickly identified as the work of an infamous criminal known as "The Prankster." The Prankster was an eccentric millionaire who enjoyed playing practical jokes on people, and had always avoided capture. Realising that the only way to catch him was to entice him with a bait he could not refuse, Dredd announced that the third Grand Hall would be opened in time for April Fool's Day. True to form, the Prankster attempted to destroy the new building, but this time he was arrested, and the third Grand Hall survives to this day.[13]

Third Grand Hall[edit]

The third Grand Hall followed the same design as the second one, and is theoretically nuclear bomb-proof. In 2108 it survived a 9/11-style attack by a hijacked spaceship completely unscathed.[14] However a similar attack in 2115 disabled the building's security and left it vulnerable to invasion,[15] and in 2125 conventional explosives were used to breach the foundations and gain access from the Undercity.[16] Therefore, its design is not always 100 percent successful.

Since 2113 the Grand Hall has been haunted by the ghost of the late Judge Silver. Actual sightings have not occurred; rather it takes a more subtle form such as locked doors inexplicably being found unlocked and things of that nature. Psi Division reported a barely detectable presence of an unidentified entity seeking an acceptance it could never find.[17]

Attacks on the Grand Hall[edit]

The Grand Hall (in all of its incarnations) has come under attack numerous times, and on more than one occasion has actually been occupied by an enemy. Although supposedly impregnable, the following list suggests that security still leaves room for improvement!

  • 2099: At the climax of the First Robot War an army of renegade demolition robots broke through the outer wall and entered the building. Their leader, Call-Me-Kenneth, took Chief Judge Goodman captive and almost killed him before they were defeated.[18]
  • 2101: When the insane Judge Cal assassinated Goodman and became chief judge, brainwashing most of the judges into unquestioning obedience, Judge Dredd led an army of citizens and loyal judges against him. After two days' fighting they surrounded the Grand Hall and demanded Cal's surrender. The original Grand Hall building could not have kept them out if they had stormed it. However they were routed by Cal's reinforcements in the form of Klegg mercenaries.[19] Dredd later infiltrated the Hall by stealth and sabotaged Cal's brainwashing machines.[20]
  • 2103: When the Council of Five held a meeting on a terrace at the Grand Hall, two reality game show contestants flew by in a helicopter and attempted to shoot them all. Dredd shot them down, but not before they had killed Deputy Chief Judge Pepper.[21]
  • 2103: A citizen rescued Judge Death from the Black Museum. He killed a judge with a laser when he was discovered in the act.[22]
  • 2104: The first Grand Hall was destroyed in the Apocalypse War (see above).[23]
  • 2105: The second Grand Hall was destroyed by the criminal known as the Prankster (see above). The Prankster also infiltrated the third Grand Hall, intending to destroy it, and almost succeeded.[24]
  • 2107: During Judge Death's third attack on the city, the Dark Judges used teleporters to enter the Grand Hall and kill several judges. Three Dark Judges escaped, but Judge Anderson was able to arrest Judge Fear by shooting his teleporter.[25]
  • 2108: Shojun the Warlord, a criminal with immense psychic powers, teleported into the Grand Hall in order to warn the chief judge not to interfere with his plans. While not an attack per se, he maimed a judge who tried to arrest him.[26]
  • 2108: A hijacked spaceship, the Flying Dutchman, was flown into the Grand Hall in a suicide attack. However no damage was caused. (The ship was destroyed on impact.)[27]
  • 2110: Rogue judge Morton Judd sent his army of dedicated "Judda" warriors into the Grand Hall using teleporters. Their objective was to conquer the city and install Judd as chief judge. However the Grand Hall was forewarned of the attack by Dredd, and so was prepared. Defeated, the invaders retreated to their hideout in Ayers Rock, and were destroyed when Dredd teleported a nuclear bomb after them using their own technology.[28]
  • 2112: When former Judda Judge Kraken rescued the Dark Judges from captivity, they seized control of the city (see Necropolis). They teleported into the Grand Hall, killed Chief Judge Silver and took psychic control over the minds of the judges. They held the building (and indeed the whole city) for months before they were finally stopped, by which time they had slaughtered 60 million people.[29]
  • 2113: Chief Judge Silver infiltrated the building and accessed the chief judge's quarters while Chief Judge McGruder was sleeping there. He was executed by Judge Dredd for gross dereliction of duty, and has since haunted the building.
  • 2114: A mutant from the Cursed Earth infiltrated the Grand Hall on a mission to assassinate a judge who he blamed for the death of his tribe. He was apprehended by Dredd and Chief Judge McGruder, but while resisting arrest he almost killed the chief judge. He then escaped to the roof where he was killed by Dredd.[30]
  • 2115: Renegade ex-judge Grice and hundreds of dangerous escaped prisoners stole a fleet of spaceships and crashed one into the Grand Hall. The electromagnetic pulse disabled the doors and security systems and enabled the attackers to seize the Grand Hall. Chief Judge McGruder ordered the building to be evacuated, and Dredd flooded the cells in the basement to prevent the prisoners from escaping. Grice and his men held the building for several days until Dredd led a counter-attack. In his last moments Grice destroyed much of the interior with a flamethrower before he was killed.[31]
  • 2115: A mutant marine creature somehow entered the flooded basement of the Grand Hall before repairs could be completed after the previous attack, and had to be killed.[32]
  • 2118: Thieves somehow managed to steal an exhibit from the Black Museum: a zombie judge. Although this was not strictly an attack as no-one was hurt in the course of the theft, this security breach later led to tremendous loss of life when the zombie went on a murderous rampage.[33]
  • 2120: In a parallel universe the entire city was taken over by a creature with enormous psychic power, called The Mutant. He took over the Grand Hall for his own after killing many judges, including the Chief Judge, Judge Dredd and Judge Anderson. The rest of the judges he turned into vampires who feasted on the blood of the citizens. This was prevented from ever happening when in 2107 Dredd and Anderson used a time machine to alter the course of history.[34]
  • 2120: The Dark Judges sent Judge Mortis to assassinate Deputy Chief Judge Herriman. Mortis left his body in gas form and entered a small flying device, which he flew undetected through an open window in Herriman's office. Once there he took possession of Herriman's body, killing him in the process.[35]
  • 2121: The Grand Hall was overrun at the start of the Second Robot War. Cyborg mobster Nero Narcos had secretly been intercepting consignments of new Lawgiver firearms and sabotaging their self-destruct mechanisms (designed to kill or maim unauthorised users whose palm prints are not recognised by the grip sensors) so that they exploded when fired by their legitimate users, the judges. When his attack began, Narcos broadcast the destruct code so that the judges would be defenceless against his army of robots. With many judges killed or crippled by their own weapons, and the remainder realising they were mostly unarmed, the robots easily took control of the entire city, including the Grand Hall. The city was in enemy hands for a few days until Dredd was able to subvert the robots.[36]
  • 2123: The Grand Hall was taken over by judges from a parallel universe in which Judge Cal was still chief judge. They simply appeared inside the building as if by teleportation and killed everyone they found, although their task was made easier when Cal demonstrated that his brainwashing technique still worked on those judges who had been brainwashed by his deceased other self in 2101. The brainwashed judges and Chief Judge Hershey were all crucified outside the Grand Hall; only Hershey survived. Dredd retook the building almost single-handed.[37]
  • 2125: Terrorists in the Undercity blasted a hole through the wall in the Grand Hall's foundations and released a swarm of vicious aliens with acid for blood into the building. Only by activating some decommissioned robot judges to fight the aliens was the incursion quelled.[38]
  • 2128: Time traveller HG Sewells was a serving prisoner in 2128. When he was eventually released he returned to 2128 to rescue his past self from custody, materialising at a parole hearing in the Grand Hall and killing some judges. But he failed to complete the rescue and was arrested himself. Moments later another incarnation of himself from the even more distant future arrived to rescue both of them, this time appearing outside the building and blasting a hole through the wall with advanced future weaponry. Dredd arrested him too.[39]
  • 2130: A suicide bomber was dropped onto the Hall from a flying vehicle, but caused no damage.[citation needed]
  • 2134: A terrorist missile attack caused minor damage.[40]
  • 2134: A renegade faction in Justice Department attempted a coup d'etat by assaulting the Grand Hall from within, killing many judges.[41]
  • 2137: An ex-judge assassinated Judge McTighe in the Grand Hall.[42]
  • 2138: Texas City attempts to take over Mega-City One in a coup, but Texan Chief Judge Oswin and her fellow Judges are killed in a brief battle within the Grand Hall, sporadic fighting with Texan judges continues in the surrounding sectors for a few weeks.[43]

The Black Museum[edit]

The Black Museum is the setting for Tales from the Black Museum, a series of short stories in the Judge Dredd Megazine. The stories are written in the style of Tharg's Future Shocks and have twist endings, each based around the background to an exhibit in the collection. The Black Museum is inspired by a real Black Museum, a display of criminal memorabilia in Scotland Yard.[44]


  1. In 2000 AD prog 308, written by John Wagner, art by Carlos Ezquerra.
  2. "Judge Dredd vs. Aliens" episode 15, 2000 AD prog 1334
  3. 2000 AD prog 1280
  4. 2000 AD prog 107
  5. 2000 AD progs 151 and 224
  6. 2000 AD prog 1504
  7. 2000 AD prog 308
  8. 2000 AD prog 107
  9. 2000 AD prog 262
  10. 2000 AD prog 271
  11. 2000 AD prog 308
  12. 2000 AD prog 308
  13. 2000 AD prog 308
  14. 2000 AD prog 459
  15. 2000 AD prog 844
  16. 2000 AD progs 1322–1335
  17. 2000 AD prog 735
  18. 2000 AD progs 15–16
  19. 2000 AD prog 94
  20. 2000 AD prog 107
  21. 2000 AD prog 201
  22. 2000 AD prog 224
  23. 2000 AD prog 308
  24. 2000 AD prog 308
  25. 2000 AD progs 472–474
  26. 2000 AD prog 451
  27. 2000 AD prog 459
  28. 2000 AD progs 562–563
  29. 2000 AD progs 684–699, 734
  30. 2000 AD progs 800–803
  31. 2000 AD progs 842–853
  32. 2000 AD progs 886–887
  33. 2000 AD progs 1017–1028
  34. 2000 AD progs 393–406
  35. Batman / Judge Dredd: Die Laughing graphic novel (1998)
  36. 2000 AD progs 1141–1164 and Judge Dredd Megazine vol. 3 #52–59
  37. 2000 AD progs 1250–1261
  38. "Judge Dredd vs. Aliens" (progs 2003, 1322–1335)
  39. 2000 AD prog 1475
  40. 2000 AD prog 1776
  41. 2000 AD progs 1811–1812
  42. 2000 AD prog 1940
  43. 2000 AD progs 1973–1990
  44. Black Museum website Archived 2006-07-11 at the UK Government Web Archive (external link)

External links[edit]

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