The Society aims to bring together scholars, lawyers and the general public interested in Legal History. It sponsors lectures, competitions, research projects and a variety of seminars and discussion groups.
The Society is pleased to announce the results of the 2015 Essay Competition in the following link. Congratulations to all winners and entrants for the very high standard of entries.
Mark Tedeschi QC, Senior Crown Prosecutor, has built on his previous success with the book Eugenia and continued writing about some significant trials in Australian Legal History with the publication of Kidnapped, the story of the Graeme Thorne kidnapping and death in July 1960. It’s a fascinating story and a landmark case. Further details are available at: ‘Kidnapped’ by Mark Tedeschi QC
The newsletter of the Francis Forbes Society
The Forbes Flyer is designed to be an informative reference source for members of the Forbes Society. It contains information about events of historical significance, articles about legal research and details of future lectures and other activities the Forbes Society.
The latest edition, No.31 (Winter 2015), is available here . No 31 (Winter 2015)
- The 10th anniversary of the Civil Procedure Act in NSW
- A coming address on Lord Eldon – to be given in Brisbane
- The 2015 Forbes Lecture – to be delivered in Sydney
- A conference on constitutional patriotism – to be held in Adelaide
- The rule of law in Fiji
- JM Bennett on Sir Charles Lilley
- Keith Mason’s second miscellany
- Peter Heerey’s reminiscences
- The Holt Prize
Society member, Michael Pelly, has released a book on the life of former Chief Justice of the High Court, Murray Gleeson. The book was launched in Sydney on 27 May 2014 and is available through Federation press. Further details on the book can be obtained by accessing the relevant section on the Federation Press Website. Go to
David Ash has written a Review of the book. Please click on the link to read what David has written: Murray Gleeson – The Smiler
From time to time the Society convenes for its members and friends a “Legal History Discussion Group” meeting in the premises of the NSW Bar Association. These meetings (held in the evening, commencing at 5.30pm and concluding no later than 7.00pm) provide a forum in which people interested in legal history can learn of recent developments, present papers and exchange ideas.
This database contains information on all 3,171 capital convictions handed down in New South Wales from 1788-1954. Nearly one third of those convictions resulted in executions.
The database contains searchable particulars on prisoner, victim, conviction, and execution. These categories can be used in tandem, allowing the researcher to narrow down specific criminal cases, or track patterns over time. A general search function finds hits in the entire database.
We hope that it will herald future projects in law, history, criminology, socio-legal studies, and genealogy.
The Capital Convictions database was funded by the Francis Forbes Society for Australian Legal History. The database brings together a wealth of material collected through many years of historical research. The database is the compilation of the research of Dr Ken Macnab (University of Sydney), Sydney solicitor and barrister Tim Castle, and Dr Amanda Kaladelfos (Arts NSW Archival Research Fellow and Research Fellow at ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security, Griffith University). This project greatly benefited from the research assistance of students and graduates of the University of Newcastle and University of Sydney: Justin Gill, Bianca D’Angelo, Emma Warren, Sarah Dunstan, Courtney O’Regan, and Joe Campbell.
Clink on the link: http://research.forbessociety.org.au/ to access to the database
Entrants in the 2015 Australian Legal History Essay Competition are invited to address any question of their own choice on “Australian legal history” or to address one of four questions proposed by the Society.
Essays submitted by email should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org Essays submitted by post should be addressed to:
The Secretary, The Francis Society for Australian Legal History, C/- NSW Bar Association, Lower Ground Floor, Selborne Chambers, 174 Phillip Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000. Essays submitted by hand should be delivered to that address.
The Select Cases 1828-1863 Project, undertaken by the Forbes Society in conjunction with Macquarie University, through ongoing work of Brent Salter and Emeritus Professor Bruce Kercher in consultation with Dr Lisa Ford, has advanced to a stage where, subject to funding, the Society can proceed to publication. The Society hopes to be able to move, in 2013, towards publication of two volumes following upon Kercher and Salter (eds), The Kercher Reports: Decisions of the New South Wales Superior Courts, 1788 to 1827 (Forbes Society, 2009/2010).