Monday, January 19, 2009

Australian Legal History

Another legal historical website I somehow missed is that of the Francis Forbes Society for Australian Legal History. It looks quite lively and includes, among other things, a link to a pdf of Ian Barker QC's paper, Sorely Tried: Democracy and Trial by Jury in New South Wales. A preface to the paper helps non-Aussies with the society's namesake, the first chief justice of New South Wales, who served between 13 October 1823 and 1 July 1837.
New South Wales was fortunate in the selection of Francis Forbes as its first Chief Justice. Not only was he a sound lawyer and a good judge, but he was also a man of strong and upright character, tempered by a conciliatory manner. Without such qualities no one could long have presided over the administration of justice in the difficult formative years through which the Colony was then passing.