- The Forbes Society Website is in the process of reconstruction. Please direct any comments or requests to upload material to Tony Cunneen at: email@example.com
Most recent additions to the website have been:
- The program of topics for the 2013 Legal History Seminars sponsored by the Society avalailable at http://www.forbessociety.org.au/?page_id=706
- A link to the New South Wales Capital Punishment Database – please scroll down this page for the details and link.
In 2014 the Society proposes to conduct a number of major public lectures including the 12th annual Forbes Lecture and the third annual JH Plunkett Lecture. The Society invites all members and friends to bring to attention potential lecturers and lecture topics which will be advertised in the future.
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 2013 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.
The set questions respectively address: (1) the reception of English law in Australia by reference to Cable v Sinclair  NSWKR 7, Dugan v Mirror Newspapers Limited (1978) 142 CLR 583 and Cooper v Stuart (1889) 4 App Cas 286 at 291; (2) the question whether, from the respective perspectives of a free woman married to a capital felon in colonial Australia and an indigenous Australian, it is correct to say that Australian law has never countenanced slavery; (3) the question whether modern Australia’s aversion to capital punishment has any connection with the convict origins of Australian society, in which capital punishment was a known quantity; and (4) the historical significance of the High Court of Australia in the Australian legal system by reference to one or more of its seminal judgments.
Read the Conditions of Entry and Guidelines.
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.
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).