law&history vol. 3

Volume 3 of the Society’s journal, law&history, will soon be available. Look for it in the next couple of weeks online and hardcopies will be posted to subscribers in early December. A reminder that it is available via Heinonline and Informit, and that you can email for hardcopy subscription. As a taster, here is the table of contents and editors comments from Diane Kirkby. In addition to the articles below, there are also book reviews on a range of topics.

Table of Contents

1. Shaunnagh Dorsett: Metropolitan Theorising: Legal Frameworks, Protectorates
and Models for Māori Govenance 1837–1838

2. Renae Barker: ‘Under Most Peculiar Circumstances’: The Church Acts in the
Australian Colonies as a Study of Plural Establishment

3. Janine Pizzetti: Judging Protection: ‘The Unintentional Errors of an Unlearned Magistracy’, British Guiana and Port Phillip, 1830s–40s

4. Eugene Schofield-Georgsson: ‘Mad’ Edwin Withers and the Struggle for Fair Trial Rights in Colonial New South Wales

5. Bevan Martin: The Vice Admiralty Court of New Zealand: Imperial Neglect
and Colonial Pragmatism, 1841–1868

6. Kathy Bowery: Speaking of Us, About Us and For Us: Telling Stories About
Aboriginal Peoples From the Archive


Editor’s Comments

This is our third issue of law&history. The articles published here are a representation of  papers presented at the ANZLHS Law and History conference and other forums over the past couple of years. They demonstrate the importance of scholarship being done in this region of the world and the emergence of new scholars with an interest in the field. The concentration is on the colonial period of Australian and New Zealand history and its legacy into the late twentieth century.  They reflect a diversity of interests and approaches within the field and the continuing value of comparing colonial experience.

We are delighted for this issue to be publishing the inaugural Francis Forbes Society for Legal History Prize for the best paper presented by a postgraduate student or early-career researcher at the ANZLHS conference. Janine Rizzetti won this prize for her paper presented at the 2014 conference organised by the University of New England and held at Coffs Harbour. We are grateful to the Francis Forbes Society for supporting our new and emerging researchers in this valuable way.

True to our historical orientation, the articles are organised roughly chronologically, starting with the 1830s. In Shaunnagh Dorsett’s analysis of theories for the governance of New Zealand that offered the prospect of Māori involvement we see how historical research can illuminate moments of possibility for paths not taken. The next article moves us to the Australian colonies where Renae Barker shows how a moment of plural establishment of religion can reveal subsequent histories. Staying with the same time period Janine Rizzetti brings in a comparative perspective between colonies of the British Empire, that of Port Phillip and British Guiana, in her view through the lens of a single judge moving between colonies.

The decade of the 1840s was a critical one for the colony of New South Wales and the evolution of fair trial rights as Eugene Schofield-Georgeson demonstrates through the story of ‘Mad’ Edwin Withers. In his focus on New Zealand’s experience of the admiralty jurisdiction Bevan Martin takes us into a new area of colonial legal history and reminds us that identifying the absences of imperial power (the ‘neglect’ of colonial problems) is another window on to the colonial past (the pragmatism of experience). In the last article Kathy Bowery brings us forward in time to the late twentieth century with a reflection on the ethics of legal archives and their powerful impact on the lives of Aboriginal people in Australia today. These articles expand our understanding of law’s history and the importance of knowledge about the colonial past.

We dedicate it to our La Trobe colleague Patrick Wolfe (1949-2016) whose untimely death removed a warm and wonderful colleague and a truly gifted scholar of settler colonialism from our midst. A review of his final book is also published here.



About anzlhswebsite

The Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society was formed in 1993. It is an interdisciplinary group of scholars who share an interest in the connections between law and history. The society grew out of the annual Law in History Conferences, which have been running since 1982. Members of the society include historians, lawyers, academics and others interested in the area. Most of the members live in Australia or New Zealand, but their areas of interest are not confined to the law in those places. The society is an incorporated association in New South Wales. Inc no. 1600224
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1 Response to law&history vol. 3

  1. Pingback: This Week in Port Phillip 1841: 1-7 December 1841 | The Resident Judge of Port Phillip

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