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Unreported Judicial Decisions of the Privy Council, on Appeal from the Australian Colonies before 1850

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The aim of this website is to reproduce the surviving records held in London of all the unreported appeals from the Australian colonies to the appeals committees or the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council before 1850. This site is designed to work in partnership with similar sites for the colonial decisions of New South Wales and Tasmania. Behind all three sites is a concern that we know so little about the judge made law of Australia before 1900. That is especially so for the period before 1850.

Only six Privy Council appeals from Australia reached the law reports before 1850.[1]  This site has some additional material on those six cases, but there is no attempt here to include all the archival material on those reported cases. This site's main concentration is on 17 other cases which were sent to London on appeal before 1850, but which did not reach the law reports. In those cases, this site aims to reproduce all of the surviving archival material.

The oldest Australian case for which records survive is the unreported decision of Lord v Palmer, 1809. This site provides no material after 1850.

The site includes a Case index as well as a Subject Index. Details of the site and the cases are provided in the Introduction. Most of the litigants were well known to the early colonies; see Characters.

Appeals from Australian colonial courts to the Privy Council which did reach the law reports and were republished in the English Reports.


[1]  There were only four reported decisions in this period, and two appeals by colonial judges against amoval (dismissal) from office:

Bank of Australasia v Breillat (1847) 6 Moo PC 152; 13 ER 642

Bute (Marchioness of) v Mason (1849) 7 Moo PC 1; 13 ER 779

Flint v Walker (1845, 1847) 5 Moo PC 179, 13 ER 459

In re Sherwin (1844) 4 Moo PC 311; 13 ER 323

Montagu v Van Diemen's Land (Lt Gov) (1849) 6 Moo PC 489; 13 ER 773 (appeal against amoval from colonial judicial office)

Willis v Gipps (1846) 5 Moo PC 379; 13 ER 379 (appeal against amoval from colonial judicial office)

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University