The squirrel does some cute acrobatics, then shimmies into its drey on the ledge outside my bathroom window. A pest, but the closest thing I have to a pet.

I head for L. Batley Pet Products Ltd v North Lanarkshire Council, which could have been avoided by simple communication between the parties – by carrier pigeon, say – and is disappointingly about dilapidations, not pets.

Did the company (the landlord) have to give written notice to the council (the tenant) to trigger the obligation to reinstate the property to its original condition?

‘The power of irritancy’ gets a considerable airing in court today and I think of the power of pets to irritate: the breakages, the nocturnal marauding, the emotional blackmail real or imagined, the journeys not made, the havoc they wreak when they die, the sheer expense.

With a blurred sense of anthropomorphism, our ancestors were goaded into litigation: trials of animals (domestic and pests, defended and undefended) were recorded from the middle ages until the Enlightenment and beyond. The tale about the monkey recovered from a French shipwreck, tried and hanged in Lord Mandelson’s former constituency of Hartlepool during the Napoleonic wars may not be based on fact.

We now draw a line between animals and humans as defendants. But how stable is the line between humans and other humans? I will be an ‘appropriate adult’ in a court soon. On behalf of another adult. Which implies a degree of inappropriateness somewhere in the process. I’m not permitted to write about that. Understandable, but frustrating.

After the hearing I wander down to the basement to seek out the Supreme Court’s companion animals. A bronze horse is poised on a swallow in flight, a gift from the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China.

I hope the souvenir bears don’t know that a woman in Wyoming was arrested this month for aggravated assault and battery after stabbing a five-foot teddy bear during an attack on her ex-boyfriend.

PS: the Grey Squirrels (Prohibition of Importation and Keeping) Order 1937 has just been scrapped. Failing to alert the authorities to the presence of a grey squirrel on your land is no longer an offence.