Four Legs Good was a contemporary revival of the medieval animal trials which took place in Britain and throughout Europe, where animals who had been accused of committing crimes were brought to court, provided defence counsel and prosecuted in full hearings before a judge.
For Compass 2018, artist Jack Tan reimagined Leeds Town Hall as the site of a fictional Department of Animal Justice and stage a series of live ‘moot’ animal trials where practising barristers/advocates argued claims brought by or against their animal clients, before a judge and jury at the old Victorian courtroom in Leeds Town Hall.
Exploring the legal framework which surrounds humans, animals and our shared environment, the work invites us to reconsider our understanding of the position of humans in relation to animals and the environment. Leeds Town Hall users encountered what appeared to be a working Animal Court evidenced by signage, court leaflets, legal heritage displays and a court website. This culminated in a day of live hearings of animals belonging to and nominated by local animal charities and organisations, where the animals also brought claims of their own against humans.
Leeds Town Hall
Corridor installation 17 – 24 November 2018
Day of live hearings 24 November 2018
1pm – R -v- Snoopy. Snoopy the Jack Russell charged with two counts: sheep worrying and aggravated sheep worrying contrary to the Protection Of Livestock (Worrying) Act 2013, which led to the actual bodily harm of Ms Apple Meadowfoot the sheep and her miscarriage.
3pm – Crayfish murder appeal. A challenge to R v Dudley and Stephens (1884) 14 QBD 273, the appellant ‘invasive’ American Signal Crayfish is appealing against its prior mass murder conviction of the native White Claw Crayfish in the Liverpool-Leeds Canal.
5pm – R -v- Marla and Polly Turnbull. Marla the Staffie charged with 1 count of ‘being a dangerous dog’ under the Crimes By Animals Act 1928, while her owner Ms Polly Turnbull is charged with owning a dog dangerously out of control.
R v Snoopy
- Application to introduce Snoopy’s previous Bad Character and previous convictions into the current court proceedings.
- Snoopy’s response to the Bad Character application.
- Indictment of Snoopy the Jack Russell for Sheep worrying.
- The Sheep Worrying legislation on which the Indictment is based.
- Snoopy‘s Proof of Evidence.
- Meadow Applefoot the Sheep‘s Proof of Evidence.
- Jules Fisher‘s proof of evidence (human passer-by).
- Indictment of Marla and Polly Turnbull.
- Marla The Staffie‘s ‘Proof of Evidence’ (i.e. a witness statement).
- Polly Turnbull‘s Proof of Evidence (Polly is Marla’s owner).
- Ryan Lee‘s Proof of Evidence (Ryan is a prosecution witness and the alleged victim of Marla’s attack).
- Tina Theodoru‘s Proof of Evidence (Tina is a prosecution witness and a neighbour).
AJC Education Department’s resource materials
The Research Unit of the AJC Education Dept is undertaking 3 major research projects to explore the impacts of scientific and political developments in animal and non-human knowledge.
Celebrating 100 Years of the Animal Justice Court
During the centenary celebrations of the Animal Justice Court in Leeds, the AJC commissioned a special commemorative Annual Report and posters highlighting the Court’s long history.
Tri-sector Public Information Leaflets
Together with the law firm, Two Paw LLP, and the independent Court charity, the Multi-Species Witness Support Service (MWSS), the AJC Education Department regularly publishes leaflets that provide information to the public on Court services and help that they can get. Our new tri-fold leaflets include:
- Animals with a Learning Disability in Court;
- Attending Court as an animal Witness;
- Being an Animal Friend;
- Self-represented Litigants;
- the Animal Youth Court; and
- our FAQs.
Our Animal Inclusive Court at Leeds Town Hall