About us

The Francis Forbes Society for Australian Legal History (ACN099 158 620) is a registered public company, limited by guarantee.

The aims of the society, as expressed in its Constitution are to:

  • encourage the study and advance the knowledge of the history of Australian law
  • publish and promote, for the benefit of the public, books, journals, periodicals and other literary publications
  • arrange and promote, for the benefit of the public, continuing education
  • promote the compilation of authentic records relating to Australian and Indigenous law.   

Australia Day Honours

The Society congratulates all people who received Australia Day Honours, particularly those who have had careers in the Law. Of particular note is the Award to long term, distinguished legal Historian, Dr John Bennett (AO). His citation reads:

OFFICER (AO) IN THE GENERAL DIVISION OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA   Dr John Michael BENNETT AM, NSW For distinguished service to the law through prolific authorship of biographies of eminent members of the legal profession. Publications

  • Author or Editor of over 30 publications based on rigorous research locally and overseas concerning Australia’s legal history.
  • A current series of 17 biographies (2000-2019) uniquely examines the lives of Australia’s 19th Century Chief Justices and their influence on the law, courts and their institutions.

  Professional Affiliations

  • Fellow, Australian Academy of Law, current.
  • Churchill Fellowship, 2000.

Honorary Life Member, New South Wales Bar Association, since 2006.   Awards and recognition includes:

  • Doctor of Laws, 1990 and Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of Sydney.
  • Doctor of Letters, Australian National University, 2007.
  • New South Wales History Fellowship, State Library of New South Wales, 2006.
  • Appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, 2005.