New Book on Australian legal scholars

Hart Publishing are offering a discount to members on this new work by Susan Bartie, details below. 

Free Hands and Minds

Pioneering Australian Legal Scholars

Susan Bartie


Peter Brett (1918–1975), Alice Erh-Soon Tay (1934–2004) and Geoffrey Sawer (1910–1996) are key, yet largely overlooked, members of Australia’s first community of legal scholars. This book is a critical study of how their ideas and endeavours contributed to Australia’s discipline of law and the first Australian legal theories. It examines how three marginal figures – a Jewish man (Brett), a Chinese woman (Tay), and a war orphan (Sawer) – rose to prominence during a transformative period for Australian legal education and scholarship.

Drawing on in-depth interviews with former colleagues and students, extensive archival research, and an appraisal of their contributions to scholarship and teaching, this book explores the three professors’ international networks and broader social and historical milieux. Their pivotal leadership roles in law departments at the University of Melbourne, University of Sydney, and the Australian National University are also critically assessed.


Ranging from local experiences and the concerns of a nascent Australian legal academy to the complex transnational phenomena of legal scholarship and theory, Free Hands and Minds makes a compelling case for contextualising law and legal culture within society. At a time of renewed crisis in legal education and research in the common law world, it also offers a vivid, nuanced and critical account of the enduring liberal foundations of Australia’s discipline of law.


Susan Bartie is Lecturer in Law at the University of Tasmania, Australia.


September 2019   |   9781509922611   |   344pp   |   Hardback   |    RSP: £70  

Discount Price: £56

Order online at – use the code CV7 at the checkout to get 20% off your order!


W.Wesley Pue (1954-2019)

All round the world people are today mourning the loss of Wes Pue, who has just died in
Vancouver after a long illness. Educated partly in the UK, where he gained undergraduate qualifications in geography and law at Oxford University, Wes made his academic career in Canada, moving in a westward trajectory from Osgoode Hall, Toronto, to Carleton University, Ottowa, to the University of Manitoba, to the Law School at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where he held the Nemetz Chair in Legal History, before serving as Associate Dean, Vice-Provost of the Vancouver campus, and Provost of UBC’s Okanagan campus. But while conscious of and conscientious about the need for academics to accept administrative responsibilities in the face of overweening managerialism, Wes was above all a researcher, scholar, teacher, and writer. His lively interests in history, law, politics, and social theory were
informed by a comparative perspective embracing England (London and the shires), Canada (coast to coast), France, Nigeria and the USA, together with an enviable command of the relevant literatures and primary sources, and a critical, questioning, at times radically subversive outlook. All these qualities are on display in his last book of essays, Lawyers’ Empire: Legal Professions and Cultural Authority, 1780-1950 (2016). Wes became increasingly concerned with civil rights and rule of law issues even before 9/11 and the ‘war on terror’; his edited volume Pepper in Our Eyes: the Apec Affair (2000) gathered contributors to discuss the constitutional status of the police in Canada’s democratic society and the impact of globalization on human rights.

Having first attended a Law and History conference at La Trobe University in the mid1980s, Wes made several return visits to Australia. His paper outlining the approach of Canadian courts and legislatures to First Nations’ land rights came as a major revelation in that pre-Mabo
era. In the 1990s, together with colleagues at Canada’s University of Victoria and the ANU, he developed a pioneering online intercontinental course in comparative Australian and Canadian legal history. At the end of that decade Wes and his family spent a semester at the University of Adelaide, dividing his cheerful and enlivening presence between the History Department and the Law School, where he is still fondly remembered as ‘a great encourager’. It is very hard to accept that he is no longer with us, but at least his work as a legal historian lives on. I am sure that members of ANZLHS, where Wes had many friends, will wish to extend their heartfelt sympathy to Joanne, Heather and Colleen.

Wilf Prest

Political Interference in Australian Humanities Research

Conversation item on Simon Birmingham’s intervention by Jon Piccini & Dirk Moses 

Media release from the Australian Academy of the Humanities

Media release from the Council of Australian Law Deans

Statement from the Australian Historical Association

The Australian Historical Association expresses in the strongest terms its staunch opposition to political interference in the peer review process of awarding Australian Research Council grants. The news that former Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, intervened to obstruct the funding of 11 research grants that had been approved through the rigorous peer review process undermines the independence of high quality Australian research and the integrity of the peer review process. It represents an unacceptable act of arbitrary interference on political grounds, one that has damaged Australia’s international research reputation.

The AHA recognises and expresses outrage at the disruption to the careers and lives for those scholars, including historians and especially early career researchers, whose projects and careers have been severely impacted upon by this alarming and direct political attack on humanities projects.

In order for confidence to be restored to the research sector the AHA demands that the previously rejected grants be fully funded. The AHA calls on the Morrison government to demonstrate its belief in the value of Humanities and HASS research by confirming a commitment to independent and transparent funding processes.

Bethany, on behalf of the AHA Executive Committee

Bethany Phillips-Peddlesden

Executive Officer

The Australian Historical Association

PO Box 1202 Carlton VIC 3053

Call for applications: Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History

The American Society for Legal History and the Institute for Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin Law School are pleased to invite applications for the tenth biennial Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History, to be held 9-22 June 2019 at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The purpose of the Hurst Institute is to advance the approach to legal scholarship fostered by J. Willard Hurst in his teaching, mentoring, and scholarship. The Hurst Institute assists scholars from law, history, and other disciplines in pursuing research on the legal history of any part of the world.

The 2019 Hurst Institute will be led by Mitra Sharafi, Professor of Law and Legal Studies (with History affiliation) at University of Wisconsin–Madison. The two‑week program features presentations by guest scholars, discussions of core readings in legal history, and analysis of the work of the participants in the Institute. The ASLH Hurst Selection Committee will select twelve Fellows to participate in this event.

Applicant Qualifications

Scholars in law, history and other disciplines pursuing research on legal history of any part of the world are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to applications from scholars at an early stage of their career (beginning faculty members, doctoral students who have completed or almost completed their dissertations, and J.D. graduates with appropriate backgrounds).

Further information and application details are available at:

Hurst Summer Institute applications

Deen De Bortoli award in applied history

A paper published in the society’s journal law&history, has just been awarded the Deen de Bortoli prize by the History Council of NSW.  The prize is for a history article that contributes to current policy.  The article is by ANZLHS member Peter Prince and was published in volume 5 in 2018.  Congratulations to Peter and to our journal editor and referees!

The Statement from the Heart: An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Australia

This open letter is an initiative of the Australian Historical Association, a professional organisation that ANZLHS is affiliated with.  It has been supported by individual members of your executive and is posted here for the information of all members.

5 January 2018

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP

Prime Minister

Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister,

As professional historians working in Australia, we urge your government to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the recommendations of the Referendum Council for an Indigenous voice to the Australian Parliament.

The signatories below include Indigenous and non-Indigenous historians who teach and write about the histories of many nations and peoples; we are keenly conscious of the rare opportunity that this long consultation process offers to the Australian people. The recommendations arising from that exciting and important consultation should be respected and acted upon.

There has been a long history of Indigenous advocacy and forbearance in this country – more than two hundred years of patient petitioning to colonial, state and federal politicians and their institutions by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Tragically, those statements and processes of consultation have too often been betrayed or undermined by government, as if our politicians are uncomfortable with Indigenous strength and success. Historical research in recent decades has revealed the depth and pain of this lamentable failure. The Uluru Statement, which is the result of a decade of consultation initiated by the federal government, presents you with a vital opportunity to take a significant constitutional step forward.

We agree with our academic colleagues in law and politics that the Uluru Statement is a modest reform that respects the sovereignty of the Australian Parliament. It is not in any sense a ‘third chamber’. The proposal is far from radical, and Indigenous leaders have calmly reiterated that it is a voice, not a veto; it is a voice to parliament not a voice in parliament. We strongly support the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.

We also note that the Uluru Statement calls for ‘truth-telling about our history’ as part of the coming together after a struggle that is represented by Makarrata. We welcome this challenging, necessary and positive process. We hereby offer the strong support and commitment for the crucial role of history in our national life that is envisaged in the Uluru Statement.

Yours sincerely,

Prof Lynette Russell, Monash University

CFP Sexualities, Medicine and the Law Conference

This CFP invites scholars, community and industry members, postgraduates and undergraduates, to participate in a funded project hosted by the Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle.
‘Surveilling Bodies and Minds: Sexualities, Medicine and the Law in Australasian Contexts’ is a 2-day conference on 12-13 September 2018.
‘Surveilling Bodies and Minds: Sexualities, Medicine and the Law in Australasian Contexts’ endeavours to provide a historical context (1950-present) for the current Australasian events surrounding, and responding to, the surveillance of sexualities, particularly gay and lesbian sexualities.
Professor Joanna Bourke (Birkbeck, University of London) is confirmed as one of the keynote speakers.
The recent shifts in power dynamics pertaining to sexualities, the body, medicalisation, and the law – represented most profoundly by the marriage equality debate – demonstrate the need for a series of historical enquiries into these key social issues.
This call for papers invites proposals of 300 words by 1 May, on the following topics:
· The Marriage Equality Debate in Australia (vote, results, bill)
· Legal issues and sexual surveillance
· Medicalisation and sexual surveillance
· Sexualities in Australasia 1950-present
· Sexualities and activism
· Communities and groups – initiatives, support, activism
This is an interdisciplinary conference, and we welcome proposals from all academic disciplines.
This is also a community-based conference, as we welcome proposals from groups and organisations.
Registration fees (include morning and afternoon, and lunch):
2-day registration: $150 waged; $80 unwaged & postgrads / undergrads
1-day registration: $100 waged; $50 unwaged & postgrads / undergrads
Presenters will not pay a registration fee.
The conference is on at New Space, The University of Newcastle’s landmark education precinct in the heart of Newcastle’s CBD.
For further details, please contact: 
Marguerite Johnson: 
James Bennett: 
Kcasey McLoughlin:

Visiting Fellows HGRC: Applications close 31 March 2018

The Harry Gentle Resource Centre (HGRC) at Griffith University is dedicated to the study of the peoples and lands of Australia, with an initial focus on the area that became Queensland in 1859.

It offers a portal of interactive resources, research publications, commentaries and research aids. The centre is now seeking applications for Visiting Fellowships to commence in 2018

 Visiting Fellows are provided with shared office space, staff access to Griffith University resources and an honorarium of $5,000. A relocation airfare may also be included. The duration of the Fellowship is flexible up to a period of one year.

Applications close 31 March 2018. For further information contact the Director of the Harry Gentle Resource Centre, Professor Regina Ganter, on 3735 7238 or via email at