2008 essays

The Forbes Society has decided to award three prizes to essayists who submitted entries in the 2008 Australian Legal History Essay Competition: two to Tertiary Students, and one to a Junior High School Student.

The winners in the University or Tertiary Student Categories are Adam Arnold of the University of New South Wales and Sarah Dorn of the University of Melbourne. Each student received a personal prize of $500 and a $1,000  Abbey’s Book Voucher. Each student’s university has also received a prize of $500. Adam’s essay has been published in the Australian Bar Review and on the website of The Australian newspaper

The winner in the Junior High School Category is Ben Nam of Year 8 at St Pius X College at Chatswood in NSW. Ben received a personal prize of $250 and a $250 Abbey�s Book Voucher. His school received a prize of $500 together with a $500 Abbey�s Book Voucher.

Prizes were awarded at a ceremony in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, on 25 February 2009. Sir Gerard Brennan AC KBE was at the ceremony to congratulate the winners.

The Society acknowledges the support given to the Competition by The New South Wales Bar Association, The Division of Law at Macquarie University, The Law Society of New South Wales, Abbey�s Bookshop, The Federation Press, State Records NSW, The State Library of NSW and The Legal Affairs Section of The Australian newspaper. Particular thanks are due to Abbey�s and The Australian.

The Society commends all students who entered the Competition and thanks them, and their respective universities and schools, for their participation. The Society is encouraged by the standard of entries, and the fact that entries were received from essayists across Australia.

The question for the 2008 Competition was:

“How can a lawyer defend somebody he or she “knows” is “guilty”?… What is it to “know” that somebody is “guilty”?… Okay, to be more precise: What are, or should be, the ethical obligations of a lawyer acting for a client who, after being charged with a crime, makes a confidential confession of guilt?”

Discuss this question from the perspective of a member of the community (who is not a lawyer) using examples drawn from the Dean Controversy (1895-1896) and/or Tuckiar’s Case (1932-1934).

The competition was open to all students enrolled, at any time during 2008, in an Australian secondary school, any undergraduate degree course at an Australian university, and any tertiary course leading to admission as an Australian legal practitioner. It was not confined to students enrolled in formal courses of study in history or law.

Read the Description, Conditions of Entry & Guidelines

Background Information Paper
introductions to the Dean Controversy and Tuckiar v The King and
law reports for In Re Meagher (1896) 17 NSWLR (law) 157 and Tuckiar v The King (1934) 52 CLR 335