Past Legal History Seminars





During 2013 the society began sponsoring Legal History Seminars held in the Supreme Court Precinct of Sydney. Many topics have been covered including the History of Trespass; a History of Property Law; Forms of action at Common Law; a History of the Criminal Law; the Historical Development of Insolvency Laws; Historical Development of Corporation Law and Historical Engagement with Roman Law.

Presenters have included Chief Justice Tom Bathurst and other Supreme Court Judges, Acting Judges as well as a variety of keen students of legal history. It is hoped that the course will encourage others to institute such programs of study.

Click on  History Program for a complete list of topics and presenters.

Please contact the Forbes Society via the Webmaster Tony Cunneen on  if you would like to discuss such a program.



Details of 2017 Seminars included:

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 the Hon John Bryson QC presented on The History of Property Law. Click on the following for a copy of the notes accompanying the seminar: Notes

Property Law

Other Seminars included:

William Blackstone
Sir William Blackstone

  Tuesday 11 April was an engaging and fascinating talk on the importance of legal history and the work of the English Academic/ Lawyer from the 18th Century,  William Blackstone,  by his biographer Emeritus Professor Wilf Prest (University of Adelaide). Blackstone’s Commentaries are a landmark in the history of the law. Professor Prest brought the man and his influence alive for the audience. Click on the following link for the handout: Prof Prest Handout Forbes Tutorial 11 April 17 . Note: Oxford University Press is offering Forbes members a discount on the Oxford Edition of Blackstone: Commentaries on the Laws of England: Books I, II, III, and IV edited by Wilfrid Prest  – see the attached flyer.   blackstone_oxfordeditionofblackstone

Following this were:

The History of Corporation Law by Justice Ashley Black: Tuesday, 2 May 2017
The History of Equity by the Hon Peter Young QC: Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Other significant events for 2017 included:

  • Forbes Lecture for 2017 – delivered by Justice Margaret Beazley AO, President of the Court of Appeal.  It is titled, “An insight into appellate justice in New South Wales”.  The lecture was held at 5.15pm on 28 September 2017 in Banco Court.
  • Lecture by The Hon Keith Mason AC QC: in which he  discussed his latest project on Sir Frederick Jordan.  The lecture was titled ‘Sir Frederick Jordan’s brushes with ‘degenerate art’ and was a fascinating exploration of history and art.
  • Tutorial by Chief Justice Bathurst:  on 18 October 2017 in Banco Court,  discussing the history of criminal law.

Launch of ‘A History of Australian Legal Education’ by Professor David Barker AM on 4 October 2017 at 5.30pm at Greenway Chambers (Level 10, 99 Elizabeth Street, Sydney).  Professor Barker’s book was launched by The Hon Kevin Lindgren AM QC.

The Attorney General  chaired the Plunkett Lecture, presented by Mark Tedeschi QC on 9 November 2017.