600px-Council of Five

2101 Council: Quimby, McGruder, Griffin, Pepper, Ecks.

The Council of Five is the main governing body of Mega-City One. The Council has the job of assisting the Chief Judge in running the Justice Department. Another duty is to vote on the guilt and sentence of a suspected corrupt Judge.

Members of the Council are appointed or dismissed by the Chief Judge.[1] Chief Judge Logan felt that the city at large didn't really care who made up the Council - ironically just before making a controversial appointment people did care about.[2]

Development in the stripEdit

It first appeared in 2000 AD prog 86 (1978), when it was said to simply be a court for senior judges: "a council of five". While Chief Judge Clarence Goodman and Deputy Chief Judge Cal were serving on it, they were the only two mentioned as having administrative power.

When it appeared again in prog 182 (1980), it was then said to be the governing body of Mega-City One. Origins would state in 2006 that there had been a Council of Five since the early days of Justice Department.


The Council was created by Goodman when he became Chief Judge in 2057, initially as a guiding committee.[3]

During his reign, Judge Cal had no council at all but the body was revived by Chief Judge Griffin. Other than the assassination of Deputy-Chief Judge Pepper, this group remained static until the early moments of the Apocalypse War when the bulk of the body were killed, Griffin injured, and McGruder left missing; Dredd had to assume command in the early days until a wounded McGruder got back in contact.

Council of Five 2108

Incoming members Gimlet, Silver, Brufen, and Hershey.

A major shakeup occured in 2108 when McGruder stepped down - and fired the three councillors who advised her to stay, saying this showed their judgement was faulty. Four new faces led some citizens to think it was a bright new dawn with winds of change. It wasn't, as the new Council appointed hardliner Judge Silver as Chief. [1]

In 2112, most of the Council had been killed during Necropolis. The returning Chief Judge McGruder decided to rule alone and take the advice of a body of senior Judges, if and when required.[4] This meant that there was no body that could challenge or remove her when her dementia grew out of control; when a conspiracy of senior Judges tried to pressure her to appoint a new body, she saw it (correctly) as an attempt to depose her. The Council was reinstated in 2116 by her successor, Judge Volt[5], after an interim council of Hershey, Niles, and Shenker.

Chaos reigned in 2131-2, when Judge Francisco was voted as a new Chief Judge and brought in his own Council of Five. Soon after, Judge Sinfield used illegal methods to become acting-Chief Judge and two of Francisco's Council quit in disgust. When Francisco gained power again, yet another Council of Five was formed.

Chaos Day saw a councillor resign and another killed, and Chief Judge Hershey form a new interim council around the remainders (forcing Dredd to stay on). She attempted a divisional merger which would have put the bulk of Justice Department in four larger Divisions - the new Undercover Operations, Street, Tek, Academy - each overseen by a Council member. Despite talk of this, it does not seem to have gone through - or if it has, Judge Buell remained in the Council despite Hershey openly talking about replacing him.

Council of Five 2137

Beeny joins the Council. Left to right: Farrow, unknown Judge-Tutor, Waldron, possibly Hernandez.

The members of the Council have gone mostly unsaid in post-Trifecta strips. McTighe was revealed to be a member again in Enceladus and was brutally murdered in the same story; Maitland was part of crucial decision making in the same story but not stated to be a Councillor. Shortly after, "prominent member" Judge Lance Wriggly was introduced and killed in the same Megazine issue. Two issues in, an entirely new Council was depicted as already existing.

In 2138, the Council - particularly Judge Farrow, who openly dissented with Hershey - were defeatist about Mega-City One's chances as a going concern. The Council thus approved of Hershey approaching Texas City for aid. In the end, the body was taken de facto hostage by Texas's Chief Judge Pamelina Oswin (bar Beeny, who'd been absent) and SJS Judge Waldron was hospitalised before Oswin was deposed; only one of the council, the elderly Judge among them, tried to resist. Beeny was part of the group that liberated the city.

When Hershey stood down in 2141, she recommended her chosen successor, Judge Logan, sweep out and replace the Council. He duly did this and shocked the city by appointing a Mechanismo unit, sparking unrest. On the eve of a march against 'machine law', Farrow and the other former Council members moved to 'convince' him to step down or be arrested, but were defeated. The Mechanismo faked his death 'preventing a suicide bombing' to protect the Chief Judge, allowing him to put Beeny back on the Council and have a Mechanismo merely as an advisor without losing face. [6]

Function and powersEdit

Originally and into the 2080s, the Chief Judge was a seperate body but by 2099 he was now part of it, chairing meetings and having the right of veto. If the offices of Chief and Deputy Chief were both vacant, the Council chose the new Chief Judge from among their number.[1] The Council could, at least in theory, force the Chief Judge to step down.

In 2117 the constitution was changed, so that the chief judge is no longer a member of the Council but is now separate (and no longer appears to have veto powers). The chief judge will usually still attend meetings.[7] The Deputy Chief Judge (if one has been appointed) now chairs meetings, unless the chief judge is present.[8] The appointment of a Deputy Chief must have the consent of the Council.[9]

Dredd and the Council of FiveEdit

Judge Dredd himself always declined a seat on the Council for most of his career, although he sat temporarily in a vacant seat for the trial of Judge Edgar in 2122 to make up a quorum.[10] However in 2132 Dredd finally consented to a permanent appointment, only because Chief Judge Francisco insisted.[11] He didn't enjoy meetings and his fellow councillors believed they got more done without him around anyway,

When Francisco resigned two years later, Dredd announced that he was leaving the Council in order to give incoming Chief Judge Hershey a fresh start.[12] He was still retained for Hershey's early interim Council. Near the end of the year, Hershey berated him for not wanting the responsibilities of Council membership and instead prefering to walk into her office at random times to pressure her into doing what he wanted. [13]

Foreign equivalentsEdit

  • Hondo has a five-member Council, of which members are called Councillors.
  • The Sov-Block cities are run by Diktatorats - sometimes rebranded as Direktorats. During the Apocalypse War they were three-man bodies.
  • Brit-Cit was governed by a five-member Star Chamber until its assassination. The Privy Chamber filled the vaccuum.

Known membersEdit




  • Chief Judge Goodman
  • Deputy Chief Judge Fodder
  • Unknown
  • Unknown
  • Unknown


  • Chief Judge Goodman
  • Deputy Chief Judge Cal
  • Unknown
  • Unknown
  • Unknown




  • Chief Judge McGruder
  • Judge Creed
  • Judge Herpert
  • Psi-Judge Omar
  • Tek-Judge Renbow

2108 (for one day only)Edit





  • Deputy Chief Judge Herriman
  • Psi-Judge Shenker
  • Judge Hershey
  • Judge Niles
  • Judge Ramos


  • Deputy Chief Judge Hershey
  • Psi-Judge Shenker
  • Judge Niles
  • Judge Ramos
  • Tek-Judge McTighe

2122 (for one day only)Edit

  • Chief Judge Hershey
  • Judge Niles
  • Judge Ramos
  • Tek-Judge McTighe
  • Judge Dredd


  • Judge Niles
  • Judge Ramos
  • Tek-Judge McTighe
  • Unknown/Vacant






  • Judge Buell
  • Judge Dredd
  • Judge Niles
  • Judge Stalker
  • Judge Vass

2134 (interim)Edit


  • Judge Buell
  • Unidentified man
  • Tek-Judge McTighe
  • Judge Wriggly (unseen until 2137 but implicitly present)
  • Unknown


  • Judge Buell
  • Judge Wriggly
  • Unknown
  • Unknown
  • Unknown


  • Judge Beeny
  • Judge Farrow (black male Judge with cyborg eye)
  • Black male Judge-Tutor (Villa or Hernandez)
  • Judge Waldron (white female SJS Judge)
  • White male Judge with moustache (Villa or Hernandez)



  • Deputy Chief Judge Ada Porter
  • Tek-Judge T.J. Han
  • Judge Hector Robles
  • Judge Harvey


  • Deputy Chief Judge Ada Porter
  • Tek-Judge T.J. Han
  • Judge Hector Robles
  • Judge America Beeny
  • Judge Gerrard Fulsome

1995 FilmEdit


The following relates only to post-2101 Judges:

  • Violent deaths: Of the 33 ex-councillors on the above lists, 17 were removed from the Council by violent death (roughly 50%). Three of those were killed by the Dark Judges (Grimlet, Herriman and Silver). Four were killed during the Apocalypse War. Their average term of office was just under 3½ years, compared with over six years among ex-councillors overall.
  • Corruption and incompetence: Of the councillors listed, three were corrupt – Sinfield, Ramos, and Bachmann – of which the first two were sent to the penal colony on Titan. Three of the councillors in 2108 were dismissed for suspect judgement by McGruder; two, Shenker and Buell, were demoted on separate occasions by Hershey for severe failures in their departments; and Vass resigned in disgrace after one of his proposals leaked out and caused widespread violence. Sinfield and Bachmann attempted coups; add in pre-2101, and Judd and Cal join them while Badger went rogue.
  • Terms of office: The longest continuous term served on the Council since 2101 was 15 years, by Judge Niles (who later served a second term of two years). The shortest term was one day, an ad hoc temporary appointment served by Dredd to fill the seat left vacant when Shenker stepped down. If that is not counted, then the next shortest terms are those of Benedetto, Rolf and Sherman, who only served for a few weeks each.
  • Chief judges: Four councillors became Chief Judge (McGruder, Silver, Hershey and Sinfield). Two others joined the Council ex officio because they had become chief judge (Griffin and Volt).
  • Backgrounds: Eleven councillors were street judges at the time of their elevation to the Council (including Volt and Herriman). The Academy of Law provided four (Griffin, Silver and Pepper were tutors before they became chief and deputy chief judges). The SJS and Tek Division provide four each, Psi Division three Wally Squad providing two (counting the acting-head), and Accounts, Admin and Black Ops one each. (The backgrounds of nine members are not known.) Thirteen were heads of their divisions when promoted.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 2000 AD #457
  2. Prog 2118
  3. 2000 AD #1515
  4. 2000 AD #706
  5. 2000 AD #916 and 957
  6. "Judge Dredd: Machine Law"
  7. 2000 AD #957 and 1545
  8. 2000 AD #1545 and Judge Dredd Megazine vol. 3 #53
  9. 2000 AD prog 1649
  10. 2000 AD #1179
  11. 2000 AD #1693
  12. 2000 AD #1789
  13. 2000 AD #1803
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